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Em Cooper Animates Tribeca's 'Kiss the Water'

Film Club Productions partners with Em Cooper to animate sequences of the documentary, “Kiss the Water,” set to premiere at the 2013 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival.


Film Club Productions animation director Em Cooper recently created animation sequences for Kiss the Water, an independent documentary from director Eric Steel.

Kiss the Water will have its world premiere as part of the new "Viewpoints" category at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, which includes international independent cinema and documentaries of interest.

The film tells the story of Megan Boyd, a Scottish maker of fishing flies, who died in 2001. Working alone in her cottage in Brora in the Scottish highlands, Megan created a legend: she spun feather, hair, fur and silk together to create beautiful but lethal flies, which are acknowledged by the fishing cognoscenti as the ultimate weapon against the tricky Scottish wild salmon, and made her flies collectors’ items. Her skill, her imagination, her magic and the underwater world of the salmon are captured in this film, in a combination of live action and stunning animation sequences which look beneath the surface of both the story and the water, at the life and death match between man and fish.

Part of th1ng Corp Ltd., New York and London-based Film Club Productions applied its skill in matching the right animation director to the brief for this mesmeric film. The production team wanted something special and different. Sue Loughlin, executive producer of Film Club, fulfilled the request by understanding the nuances of the creative brief but also looked further and matched Em Cooper to the need.

She says “It is important to provide accurate creative solutions as well as, when the opportunity arises, offering something surprising, different, but perfect. As soon as underwater sequences were discussed I knew that Em could do something that no other animator could achieve for this production. We showed the producer a range of clips including several of Em’s examples – these really conveyed the technique’s impact. When they were passed on to the director it was clear that this technique, combined with Em’s masterful ability to communicate meaning through her expressive control of her medium, was perfect for the project and it has contributed to a wonderful, magical documentary film with vivid undertones.”

Em Cooper works with oil paint over live action, creating powerful animated images which use colour and expressive oil paint brushwork in order to convey mood and meaning.

“I created this technique to bridge the gap between live action and animation. Kiss the Water shows how it can be used to convey experience, imagination and fantasy powerfully in a way that live action never could. We were telling a fairy tale, and showing a highly personal journey – we talked at length about each scene, then I would work to portray the narrative differently, to evoke and illustrate feelings and emotions that would make the story live," Cooper commented. "Megan lived through many battles during her lifetime – even her own sexuality, which had both very feminine and very masculine aspects. She certainly became central to the battles that take place under the water and on the banks of rivers around the world.”

Kiss the Water is presented in association with BBC Scotland and Creative Scotland, by Easy There Tiger and Slate Films. It will air on BBC Television later this year. It will be screened at TFF2013 between April 22-28.

Source: Film Club Productions

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.