Winner of the ‘Graduation Cristal’ award at Annecy 2015 and ‘Best British Film’ at LIAF 2014, the BAFTA-nominated My Dad arrives on Short of the Week with an impressive pedigree. Created as his graduation film from the Royal College of Art, Marcus Armitage’s contemplative 6-minute short takes an explorative look at how a father’s views on society can easily influence the behaviour of an impressionable young child.
“I made this film to explore a different perspective on racism”
Initially concerned that Armitage’s film might not connect with a wide audience (it’s film that for me feels as English as Fish & Chips) its impressive festival run has shown its a short with universal appeal due to its easily recognisable themes of racism, parenthood and immigration. Inspired by the filmmaker’s move from Yorkshire to London, this change of scenery proved instrumental in shaping the story for My Dad. “I experienced so many different cultures all crammed into a small space and for me it was exciting”, Armitage reveals, “but to others this wasn’t, and I started to look at where this fear of others comes from and how it can be passed down through generations. The film looked at this idea and how these opinions, taken from media and family can affect someone’s life. I made this film to explore a different perspective on racism and the tensions of living in a multicultural city. I wanted people to see the film, and discover a new point of view on racism, immigration and the media, and perhaps think about what opinions they have that have just been passed down the generations”.
On the more experimental side of the shorts we tend to feature on Short of the Week, My Dad shuns traditional storytelling technique, instead employing a rhythmic, almost poetic structure to immerse its audience in its powerful universe. Taking 5 months to create – a large portion of that time Armitage spent colouring in frames by himself – the director (with help from a small crew of fellow RCA students) initially hand drew his film in TVPaint, before finishing off the aesthetic on paper with oil pastels, pencils and torn paper.
Since making My Dad, Armitage has gone on to create two new animations – School of Life short What is Literature for? and NHS film It Was Never Meant To Be This Way – both of which have been selected by the folks over at Vimeo as ‘Staff Picks‘. Now in the early stages of production on two new films, one looking at the conflict of compassion and doing the job in the Police Force, whilst the other focuses on what Armitage humourously describes as “all the angry people I have met in London”.