Hello! I'm Astrid and I'm an animator and model maker from Folkestone in England. I'm looking to finish a stop motion short film called Squirrel Island.
I’ve worked on some really fun projects over the last 12 years, like making vibrating alien slugs for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a pink cyclops elephant for Ford Fiesta. But all I really wanted to do was make a sci-fi action film about squirrels, so I quit my job in London and found a garage in Folkestone to make a stop motion film.
Squirrel Island is a 15 minute sci-fi action thriller about squirrel apartheid, following a lone renegade grey squirrel called Dot, who is trapped on a hostile and mysterious red squirrel island. Thrown together with an extremely reluctant acorn partner, Dot and her new friend uncover a horrifying secret red squirrel plot. Can Dot and Mr Acorn survive Squirrel Island?
I'm shooting Squirrel Island on a 1969 Bolex film camera which used to belong to legendary wildlife cinematographer Martin Dohrn. I feel very proud to be continuing the tradition of wildlife cinematography with this camera! Ahem.
I've been working on a shoestring budget, so I have created the puppets, props and sets from all sorts of things, including old kitchen cupboards, furnishing foam and ice cube trays. Everything you see on screen is made from scratch, as I love the accidental magic that happens when you're working with materials that have a mind of their own.
It’s been six years since I sat down and sketched out the entire story of Squirrel Island, but now I’m only six months off finishing. I just need to raise funds for post production: editing, colour grading, foley and sound mixing. All funds raised beyond my target will go directly into post production and go toward festival submission costs. I hope you find something in the rewards that you can NOT ONLY treasure forever BUT ALSO gives you the warm huggy feeling of helping a unique film get made.
Risks and challenges
Stop motion animation is one long challenge! I do all of the special effects in-camera, and because of this dedication/deathwish I've set fire to my sets with smoke bombs and sparklers, and had a 50-litre tank of gelatine leak all over my studio floor. Shooting 'blind' on film without video assist, you're never sure if you've captured a scene successfully until you get it back from the lab, so there's always a tense few days wait whilst it's developed. Thankfully, most of the hard work is behind me, and I only have to shoot the last scenes now.
My goal is to finish the project in time to submit it to the Annecy Animation Festival, the deadline for which is in February. I need to get the foley track recorded, then have the film edited, colour corrected and sound mixed. It's a huge amount of work, but there's nothing like a looming deadline to make an animator pull all-nighters!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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