A timely and award-winning animated take on nationalism from filmmaker Natasha Price

A cautionary tale of nationalism, the animated short The Ship from filmmaker Natasha Price took home two awards at last year’s Plymouth Film Festival, Best Animated Film and the Random Acts Audience Choice award.

The lighthearted animation takes the form of a characterful sea shanty, as Cornwall breaks away from the UK and sails into the distance, initially celebrating it’s new found freedom. In just three short minutes, the audience is treated to a hearty and tongue-in-cheek tale with just a touch of political undertow.

Brought up on a healthy diet of Hitchcock classics, Natasha was destined to become a filmmaker, and upon graduating from her Digital Film Production degree she set her sights on producing her first film. Now working at the Cornwall based VFX studio Engine House, we caught up with Natasha to find out a little more about her award-winning film…

Where did the idea come from for The Ship? Do you have quite strong feelings about the Devon/Cornwall divide?
I moved to Cornwall when I was 12 and have always been fascinated by the culture and spirit of the Cornish. In spring of 2016 there were some pretty divisive issues happening on a more national scale, and I thought the on-going conversation around Devon and Cornwall was the perfect device to tell this story on the miniature!

How long did it take to complete the project?
Production took about six months from concept to complete. A month or so was spent on script development and composing the song, and the rest was animation, music and sound production and editing it all together.

Behind the scenes of production on The Ship.

It was completed in-house at the animation studio I work for, so the clever animation part was taken care of by the wizards here. We did use some software for capturing photos and using them to create a 3D scene which was amazing, and meant that most of the sets in the film are real life places in Cornwall!

What was the biggest challenge that you faced during this time?
It was a challenge to find a performer for the song, we really wanted a huge shanty group to sing it, but just in terms of logistics it was pretty tricky to organise. Eventually, we cast the singer online and myself and some friends filled in the backing vocals.

You’ve shown at a few festivals now, how has the film been received?
Generally, really well. There is a definite difference between how it plays in Cornwall compared to how it’s viewed in Devon though! I’m so proud of it, and I love being at screenings and hearing people react and laugh.

So how did it feel to win Best Animated Film and the Audience Choice awards at Plymouth Film Festival last year?
Amazing! I can’t believe I won two awards. I’m glad the Devon pasties joke wasn’t held against me!

What’s next for you?
The studio I work for (www.engine-house.co.uk) is actually in the process  of getting funding for a feature film. You can read all about it here.

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Author Katherine Peberdy

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