Stop motion animation is closest to my heart

Interview with Daria Kopiec

Animax: What is your latest project and do you have any upcoming projects?

D.K.: My last animated film is Cosmos. This is the film about a talking body, muscles, skin, heart which desire touching. About the body which wants to experience presence of other body. Cosmos was created in stop-motion clay puppet animation. It just started cruising around the world festivals, already won two prizes.
Presently I’m preparing to shoot another of my projects. It will be animated film connecting three-dimensional puppet animation and flat animation. Main character is Cassetteman – a man who has mechanism similar to cassette-tape in his inside. We meet him during family lunch. He has no opinion of his own. He communicates with the world through recorded statements of other people. This will be a film-experiment. I call it for my own usage an opera-animation. Soundtrack will be extremely important here. It will be finished in 2017.

Daria InterviewAnimax: Do you prefer working with children and for children? Why?
D.K.: Breakdown in my thinking about working with children and for children was my cooperation with
Borderland Center of Arts, Cultures and Nations in Sejny. This was a place where three film collections made by children under my supervision were created. These are Mysteries of Childhood, Film Collection of Krasnogruda Tales and Tales of Borderland. They won many prizes around the world. A very special film for me made with children is Bobo’s Metamorphoses We worked on it for almost two years. It is 17 minutes long. I’m very proud of it.
Bobo’s Metamorphoses tells a story of a boy who, because of his laziness, was punished by a fairy and turned into a fly. He meets a spider, talks to it and finds out that all creatures, even so small as the spider, have their own task to fulfil. The world seen from a fly’s perspective is totally different than the world seen through the eyes of a boy. This change of perspective in watching the world changes his attitude towards reality.
Working with children is very important form me. I hugely admire their unlimited imagination and ideas. Working with children helps me to nurse certain model of perceiving reality in me – with admiration and tenderness.

Animax: If you had not pursued career in animation, what would you have chosen instead?
D.K.: I already chose. In my professional life I share two passions. I’m a theatrical director, I love theatre. In parallel, I’m also a director of animated films, focusing on stop motion animation. This was my first „occupation”, it shaped me as a creator, it has still enormous influence on my perception of the world.
I cannot imagine my life today neither without theatre nor without animation. These two ways of expressions fill in each other. Working on animation I use my experience from theatre and the other way round. Film and theatre are inseparable.
I love variety of means of expressions: difference in work, in time of work, way of making it, building a bond with my team. I need them both in my professional life: theatre and animation. I’m extreme extrovert and introvert at the same time. I find fulfilment in both of these fields and they give me a lot of joy and life energy.

Daria InterviewAnimax: What animation methods are you most familiar with?
D.K.: It was during my studies at Lodz Film School that I realised that stop motion animation is closest to my heart. I’m faithful to it to this day. My favourite is puppet animation and multiplan animation. I draw, paint and sculpt since I was a child. My interaction with art materials is natural. In stop motion animation I constantly stay in touch with art and craft materials. I have physical influence on them, they are transforming in front of my eyes, in my hands. It has great value to me. In my case computer is not able to replace the satisfaction of working with plasticine, paints and paper. I feel that working within the realm of an object, I can do everything, I have real influence on it.

Animax: How do you stayed focused while working long hours?
D.K.: This is the hardest part of the process of creation of an animated film. I’m not a solitary type. I like working in a group. I appreciate exchanging experiences, fusion of ideas which happen while working in a team. But of course, working as a director and animator you cannot avoid moments of complete isolation. This is comparable to meditation. Long hours of work, engaging body and mind are very exhausting. When I’m working on my own I listen to the music, this helps me to enter a kind of trance. But I also appreciate silence a lot. My way to shake off all difficulties of work is swimming. It helps me to survive arduous time spent in animation laboratory world. I’m also very active in a field of theatre where I can get as much contact with people and widely understood expression as I need. Animation mixed with theatre is my professional balance.

Daria InterviewAnimax: What would you say are the top 3 skills that should be honed to be professional animator?
D.K.: I think it’s very individual. You can perceive it in a lot of ways and they can differ diametrically. I usually deal with directing animated films, so I’m present during the whole process of film creation, since birth of the idea until the film is finished and can be shown to the public. That’s why my perspective is much wider than animator’s perspective. But I’ll try to connect them.
First ability you need to have dealing with animation is patience during all stages of film production. Final effect is usually a few up to a dozen or so minutes but the work, since the idea through finding financial means, production and postproduction process, usually takes a few years. You have to be sure of your idea.
Second ability necessary in animator’s job is staying focused. Without it you cannot go through the whole process of film creation. You have to be focused on the topic and alert not to lose anything during the long process of film creation. The risk is huge.
And third important skill is ability of self-improvement, gathering knowledge in art field. You have to be conscious of what is happening in art and culture here and now. How it is perceived at different moments, how it functions at different times. You have to master your artistic skills, especially working with traditional animation. This will give you confidence during work.

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