Film, TV & Animation
Choral fieldmice making mischief
Carol Of The Fieldmice
Animator Eleanor Pomfret, a former student with the Norwich School Of Art And Design, creates the seasonal ahh factor with her cuddly choral fieldmice performing the music of Sir Philip Leger.
The Carol Of The Fieldmice, based on a work by Sir Philip Leger, was made at the request of the composer after a chance discussion.
"My father was working with Sir Philip Leger and he mentioned in passing that it would be an interesting composition to create as an animation," said Eleanor.
"Dad said that I was studying animation and it kind of went from there. The film was nine months in the making from conception to completion.
Animator Eleanor Pomfret
"Visually I wanted the film to have a soft, tactile quality. I specifically wanted to avoid the clean Plasticine look of many model animations.
"To achieve this the mice are made using woven tapestry wool over a wire armature. The trees are made from felt over a chicken-wire frame," she said.
The Carol Of The Fieldmice earned Eleanor a place in the British Animation Awards 2004 and has caused much interest from the industry and her contemporaries at the Norwich School of Art and Design.
"I got an e-mail inviting me to apply for the awards, so I thought why not. I then heard I got short-listed so it's nice to know your work is ranked with the top student animators in the country," she said.
"The NSAD are very encouraging. It's very much an ideas based course and the tutors have an energy which rubs off on the students I think."
The Wind In The Willows
If the image of a group of fieldmice singing a carol rings a bell from your childhood - it's a scene from The Wind In The Willows.
In the book, a choir of fieldmice gather at the doors of Mole's house to sing him a Christmas carol. The words to The Carol Of The Fieldmice, as you might expect, are by Kenneth Grahame, author of the childrens' classic.
A cheeky fieldmouse sings her carol
"The character development was very organic process. The took their characters from their posture and expressions," she said.
"I'd seen a lot of films where they depict choirs as angelic kids who never put a foot wrong.
"I've been in choirs since I was very little and know that it never runs that smoothly - people sometimes try to make you laugh or put you off. I wanted to capture that in the film.
"People are individual characters as well as being part of a choir and that is often not portrayed in films and things," she added.
For Eleanor, the film was an opportunity to look at the placement of music and pictures working together.
"It was a chance for me to experiment in the use of sound in animation and explore the symbiotic relationship between sound and images," she said.
"Unlike many animations, the music track of The Carol Of The Fieldmice, completely formed the narrative and structure of the film.
"The additional sound effects on the recording - randomly placed at the time - helped me to then develop the characters and events in the story.
"As a musician and an animator, the relationship between the music and the image is very important to me."
Since creating this animation Eleanor has worked on Arts Council funded projects, including a production based on a Grimm's Fairy tale.
In the future she hopes that Carol Of The Fieldmice can be sold to a television network for a seasonal screening.
last updated: 10/01/2008 at 12:07