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Visualizing a New Mother’s Eerie Sleeplessness in ‘Six to Six’

For Israeli artist Neta Cohen, childhood memories that her home had a life of its own fueled her 2D/3D animated short about the long, sometimes sinister hours between wakefulness and sleep, reality and imagination.

Israeli artist Neta Cohen has just shared with AWN her 7-minute, black and white, 2D/3D animated short, Six to Six. The film, combining hand-drawn animation with rotoscope and 3D, was created primarily in Photoshop and looped in After Effects, with 3D scenes produced with Maya and edited in Premiere Pro. Six to Six was written, designed, and directed by Cohen, with additional animation, compositing, and 3D by Lior Ben Horin, and music composed by Afik Naim. The film was produced with the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design Jerusalem.

Six to Six tells the story of a mother’s sleepless night at home. According to Cohen, “It is actually a short 'road movie', taking place entirely indoors. It paces along the seam between wakefulness and sleep, reality and imagination, dream and hallucination.”

“I remember from childhood experiencing the feeling - usually at nighttime, but sometimes in the early morning or afternoon reveries - that my home has a life of its own,” she continues. “I could hear it breathing, moaning, and whispering, feel it moving and shifting. Naturally, this was usually an alarming sensation, but surprisingly, at times it would offer some sort of consolation, even a sense of companionship.”

In the film, for a new mother, night after night, the long hours of sleeplessness trickle slowly, from twilight to dawn. The TV offers no real diversion, leaving the eyes free to roam around the familiar house surroundings. To the tired, itchy senses, incapable of telling truth from imagination, the well-known environment takes on an eerie, even sinister, character.

Take a few minutes and enjoy Six to Six:

The film’s design derives primarily from Cohen’s own observations. “I initially designed and animated disparate scenes, each trying to visualize a thought, a dream or a hallucination I had at one point or another throughout my sleepless nights,” she explains. “When I had enough scenes, I edited them together, using Premiere Pro, in a way that would emulate the course of a night at home, from sunset to sunrise.”

Cohen, who works as an animation director, art director, and illustrator, produces short films, openers, sets, illustrations, titles, and typography; she has directed and designed project for clients including MTV International, Barneys New York and HBO.

Selected in competition at numerous festivals including Annecy, Animafest Zagreb, Encounters, and Raindance, Six to Six is the director’s second short; her first, 2012’s Tap to Retry, was similarly selected at numerous international events.

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.