My project is a short film about a young girl who is growing up in a home where domestic violence is occurring and how she processes and develops coping habits to help her through the toxic behaviors she has to live with. She finds happiness and security in caring and nursing injured animals she finds around her yard at home.
My reason for wanting to make this film comes from a hybrid of Animated Documentary and storytelling. I myself am a sucker for emotional touching films and the idea that stuck with me from my animated documentary class was using animation as a buffer from reality when telling stories of trauma and doing it with care and respect. Which eventually led me to my line of inquiry and research for this film.
“Why is animation so effective in telling stories of trauma? How far is too far? Where are the boundaries that are still appropriate for most audiences?”
What’s the benefit of using animation in telling stories of trauma? The answers to these began to unfold as I took the Animated Documentary class and expanded on later in the book The Animation Studies Reader on animation and traumatic memory. In the chapter that discusses trauma and memory it states, “while photographic-based live-action images might struggle to engage with trauma through traditional narratives, animation can offer an aesthetic response.” Animation can often break down barriers and bridge understanding of emotional and traumatic events. It helps to give a neutral meeting ground and is easier digested by an audience and can gain more ground in telling stories of abuse and trauma.
As an artist my goal is to explore ways of visualizing and expressing real life situations and events through the lens of animation. Whether it be animated documentary, or a narrative influenced by real people and events, animation allows us to explore memories and emotions attached to lived experiences. It can give a visual representation of those memories using metaphors and symbolism and allow people a visual representation of trauma in a different perspective than just a real-life reenactment.
With my film “Home” my goal was to inspire hope and produce a film that talked about selfhealing and healthy coping habits, above the trauma that was taking place behind closed doors. Teaching that trauma can coexist with strength and love that even if you don’t receive it, you can create it. I didn’t want my character to be the victim, I wanted her to be the quiet yet mentally strong hero that I felt was lacking in other films I have seen regarding similar narratives. You don’t have to be loud, confrontational or outspoken to make a point, and it's ok to feel the emotions that come with living through a traumatic event.
I think as a society we are taught through media to hide these emotions, but I wanted to celebrate the countless individuals who respond to their trauma with compassion and a more open and caring heart than they received during those times. Quiet can be an appropriate response and stronger and louder than meeting it with the same energy. My film is meant to be appropriate for young adults and up, so that a younger audience dealing with trauma in their home could have access and a connection to the film. Many films dealing with themes of trauma and abuse generally are for adults and is extremely intense so I wanted to represent and include a younger audience so that maybe healing and healthy coping outlets could be potentially discovered sooner.