For my senior animation project, I wanted to convey the issues of bullying and how it has affected millions. Whether a child has gone through emotional distress or self-destruction, I want to raise this serious awareness. I want the audience and the victims to know that they are not alone, and that the key to fight back is to love them for who they are. As cliché as it may sound, people often don’t realize their own self-worth and may take actions in the worst ways possible such as the Columbine incident or tragic suicides. My topic isn’t too controversial because it is relevant to the majority. There is truth to the experiences that people tend to overlook. My goal is to target the bullies and ask , “Has anything you’ve done, made your life better?” (from American History X)
So why on earth do I want to title my short after a butterly’s “tongue”?
Well, there was a saying in Spanish, “Lengua de la Mariposa” (Tongue of the Butterfly) which symbolizes the tongues of the Spanish people during the Spanish Civil War when they couldn’t speak their mind because they were in fear of prosecution. Talking about strong concepts such as freedom or rebelling against the church was very dangerous at that time.
It is metaphoric to a butterfly coiling its proboscis so that it doesn’t get hurt. Not literally…but it’s a powerful saying that is relevant to how children and teenagers today feel when they can’t speak their minds. Whether it is to the parents, the teachers, the counselors, friends— and even the bully.
The title was inspired by a wonderful Spanish cinema, “La Lengua de las Mariposas”.
Aesthetically, I’m using cardboards and paper puppets to bring my characters to life in 2D work. The technique is inspired by an animator/filmmaker, Carlos Lascano. The main pillars are to capture the mood and the emotion by screenshooting real eyes and integrating layers and skin textures into my puppets. Eric Carle’s children books inspired me since I began my very first animation project as an undergrad. I wanted to keep a consistent style yet challenge myself to these new techniques and technology that have potential in conveying the mood of this project.
I just want to give special thanks to Renee Petrosyan for being brave and sharing her story to the rest of us. Not only have you taught us a lesson about the consequences of being bullied, you gave us a deeper insight of what goes on when you're dealing with all the hurt. But let me tell you this-- nobody has to deal with it alone.
Bullying is a hate crime. Enough said.
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