CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS YOUNG GRAD GETS OSCAR NOMINATION
The Bigger picture: In conversation with Daisy Jacobs
by Ellie Howard
On paper, Daisy Jacobs in a very intimidating lady. At the grand old age of twenty-six she has accomplished more than many filmmakers achieve in an entire career, collectively. With a growing number of accolades, including a Bafta nomination, Daisy is flying to LA this month as an Oscar contender. This is no mean feat, for an animation that is under ten minutes long.
“The Bigger picture” is an animation based on a very real and tragic scenario that eventually befalls all families – the death of a beloved grandparent. Daisy’s grandmother Eileen passed away from Parkinson's just four months before filming started. Which in hindsight, she recognises as her guiding impetus throughout the film; she found solace in keeping Eileen close. Daisy’s sincerity is at the heart of the animation. It is her sensitivity to the collapse of the family unit that makes the film so touchingly relatable. Eileen has two fictional sons, Nick is the dutiful brother, devotedly caring for sickly Eileen while Richard plays the prodigal son – never at home but adored by his ageing mother. The film carefully examines the family bonds that bind us, and the pain when they begin to unravel.
Kids of Dada caught up with her just before she boarded a flight; to learn about her life-size process, the trials and errors of animation and the personal loss that inspired an award-winning short film.
KOD: You have done an incredible job, condensing such an emotive topic into an 8-minute long animation. What are the challenges and joys of fitting life into 8 minutes?
DJ: I think you have to be very clear in what you are saying, clear on who your characters are, within a short. There is no room for sub-plots or anything long winded, so the storyline has to be straight forward, hopefully told in an interesting way, a subtly intriguing way.
KOD: You delved into a very sad few months of your life – that’s not something most people are brave enough to tackle – but you have created something beautiful out of it.
DJ: I believe that taking a story or something you have knowledge of, will always be better than making something fictional. I’m not saying it has to be a documentary - but it should be something based in reality, I think that makes it more engaging for others because they see truth in it. If you are going to put so much effort into something, really put everything into it – to express it, I feel it has to be a story that you really want to tell - I could not sustain my interest in something otherwise.
KOD: I think that is why the animation has such resonance, it’s power lies in its authenticity …could you explain to me your process, why did you decide to go life-size?
DJ: Well I wanted to do that, because it was a real challenge. It’s also something I am naturally drawn to. I paint large and animate large – it’s an extension of that. It’s also going back to what I want to create and paint – to be real. If they are life-size and you’re on set – your characters are eerily human, there is something slightly surreal about them, which I love.
KOD: So, you embarked on the film 4 months after your grandmother’s death? Was she looking over your shoulder? Saying hey, do this – do that!
DJ: Yes, she has been with me at all my awards and through all my successes – watching me learn to paint from the beginning. I wasn’t completely aware of it at the time, but I was immortalising her in film. I already had her physically painted, so yes, I think it was very much to do with keeping her alive.
KOD: What’s the one thing you really want people to take away?
DJ: I think for me, it’s all about expressing how I felt. Things I have observed and lived through. Obviously it is fictional – but I am interested in how we are with each other, how we are living. I am interested in people really. I think the main thing, which you realise at the end of the film, is forgiveness. Forgiving other people for their shortcomings.
KOD: You’ve done incredibly well so far! What is next for you?
DJ: Well I’m working on a script that’s starting in June – we are currently doing a kick-starter campaign. Again, it is focused on family, but this time it is about dispersal and people growing apart.