Izabela Plucinska is a producer, director and animator living in Germany. She creates award winning short films working with a clay-motion technique. She runs a production company and an animation studio in Berlin called ClayTraces. We caught up with her to find out how she uses clay to explore human relationships and to find out more about her latest short film ‘Evening’ that will screen as part of the Bristol Festival of Puppetry Film Programme this September.
This year’s Bristol Festival of Puppetry features a short film showcase ‘Women in Puppetry & Puppet Animation’ which is dedicated to all the brilliant women who are working in these industries. We are excited to have your short film ‘Evening’ as part of this screening. Could you tell us more about your film?
‘Evening’ is the third part of a series of short movies, all using the same technique, but different colour theme. The first part was called ‘Breakfast’ and it won a price in Hiroshima in 2006. The second film is called ‘Afternoon’ and it was finished in 2012.
These short films portrait a couple, lonely in their relationship, seeking a connection with each other. The way you use symbolism to tell the stories and the expressiveness of the line made with modeling clay paints a subtle and beautiful view on the underlying human need to be loved.
Modeling clay gives a very tactile, warm and organic feel to your films and you have used it in many different ways, which demonstrates your mastery over the medium. Your techniques move fluidly between two-dimensional drawing or clay-painting, relief sculpture with free-forming the clay as you animate, or animating three-dimensional clay puppets, props, and sets.
Could you tell us more about what made you choose modeling clay and clay-motion as your main medium?
I have been working, playing and dancing with clay for 18 years, wow, so long! (I just counted). I love the technique and it feels very comfortable to me. There are always opportunities to discover something new with clay.
You are both director and animator in your own production company ‘ClayTraces’. Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for other people who are hoping to start their own production studio and create their own short films?
Running a company is like traveling in a train. Sometimes the train is moving very fast and at a comfortable pace. Sometimes the train moves slowly and you have no place to sit. But even then the train keeps moving forward. Because we make short films, each four months you need to generate a new idea for the next project.
That sounds both exciting and challenging, but it must be very rewarding to realise the stories you have created. What are your thoughts on the role of women working in puppetry and puppet animation?
‘I live in two countries, Germany and Poland. The situation with women in animation and puppetry has changed and is much better now than what it was 10 years ago. I have a feeling that in Poland there are more women working in the animation industry, than in Germany. For example, I would like to name two wonderful Polish film makers Marta Pajek, and Wiolletta Sowa. In Germany, there are also a few great female artists. My good friend, Spela Cadez, whom I have collaborated with before, works in animation.’
Thank you so much Izabela for taking the time to chat with us. We are looking forward to see ‘Evening’ during the festival and excited to see more of your work in the future.
Interview by Marika Aakala
Visit the Bristol Festival of Puppetry website to find out more and to book tickets to see ‘Evening’ and other puppet animation and live action shorts in the ‘Women in Puppetry & Puppet Animation‘ showcase at 6:30pm on Mon 04 Sept . You can also see all our screenings for adults and children at Watershed throughout the Festival (01 – 10 Sept) and browse our full Festival programme.
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