Willow was made in 2019 as my senior thesis film in the animation program at UMBC. The story of Willow was created as a way to visually and spiritually address my grief after I returned home to find a beloved tree from my childhood had been cut down. The film is rooted in my belief that the imagination is a vessel that allows us to travel to very real places where we are never apart from those we love, and it explores the ways our relationships with land and features of nature are as integral to us as our human connections. The setting I created for Willow is inspired by the landscapes of rural Maryland at night.
The imagery of Willow was created by compositing hand-drawn pastel textures onto digital illustrations. A mix of Photoshop animation, After Effects puppeting, and live action footage recorded in Western Maryland and Canaan Valley, WV was collaged to form each scene. Preproduction and gathering landscape footage took about five months, and the process of constructing the character rigs and animating the final scenes took another five months.
Turn around and expression sheets
Early concept art
Rig building in Duik Bassel
Animations on the Big Screen at Artscape 2019 - Baltimore
Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival 2019 - Baltimore