Lila Babington On Her Mind-Bending Animation 'Tunnel Vision'

December 31, 2017

Pixilation is an animation technique involving live actors shot frame-by-frame, essentially treating real people like plasticine dolls moved in gradual increments. It's an inevitably long-winded and laborious process, but is worth it for the limitless and unique results it offers. Lila Babington made her Random Acts short film using this technique and it took her around three months to shoot, getting about two seconds of footage a day. Compare that with a film of the same running time and shot live-action, which would usually take about 1-2 days to shoot, then you have a massive difference in production time.


The effort clearly shows: Lila's finished film 'Tunnel Vision' is a fantastical and atmospheric mix of surreal and sometimes nightmarish visuals, drawing on the influence of Jan Svankmajer in taking the audience on a short but potent trip - like a crazed fever dream. Watch the film below, but make sure you're don't get trapped down that rabbit hole...



Hi Lila. Give us a little info about yourself!


I live in Bristol, I'm 23 and I graduated with an animation degree in June 2017 from Norwich University of the Arts.



Have you made animations like this before? Considering this film had funding and access to extra resources, how did the experience of making it differ? 


I have made animated and stop-motion films before for art courses but nothing with a budget. I suppose the main difference was being able to pay people for their time, which made them take the whole things much more seriously. It also meant I could spend a lot on paint and other materials so instead of making my props out of cheap or free materials around me I could seek out specific things.  



How did you come up with the concept for the film and what were your inspirations?


The concept was born of a sketch I did during the day the application training day, we were shown a few of the films they liked so I kind of tried to come up with something with a similar mood. We'd been looking at juxtaposition in our narrative classes so I drew a fish underground. I kind of had an idea of this girl being pulled along through the story by something we can't see. In the sketch she was crawling through the ceiling, to me, it was like the fish underground was just incidental to her narrative. The story hung on the mood of that initial sketch to me, but we changed the thing that pulls her along to a shoelace. 



The film has only been released recently, what have the responses been like thus far? 


Pretty well I think, lot of weird looks which I enjoy. It went to Edinburgh Film Festival where it was nominated for the McLaren Award - that was great, the people up there were lovely. We were reviewed by Forbidden Planet because of that screening and that was a nice surprise. We also got screened at the ICA with a couple of Random Acts events, playback and 'Do you remember your first time'. I think people enjoy because they're not always sure what they're looking at. 



And finally, do you have any snippets of wisdom to pass on to young creatives out there?


Always apply for funding opportunities, I would be nowhere near as competent in film production without the practice of making my Random Acts film and that came from having serious deadlines and high standards to meet. And embrace your own style and the techniques you enjoy, your work will likely be better if you enjoy making it.