The UK is in another lockdown, and no doubt it’ll inspire creatives to create great work just like the last one did. Case in point: Polly Nor’s first short story animated film, as created completely during quarantine with animator Andy Baker.
Titled How Have You Been? and made for WePresent, the work touches on a very human element of our current world – the loneliness felt from tremendous loss and grief. It’s also about finding comfort amid the company and friendship of a very inhuman, slug-turned-demon creature.
“‘How Have You Been?’ beautifully shows the emotions of mundanity, loneliness and grief many people are feeling in these difficult times,” says Suzanne Tromp, Commissioning Editor for WePresent. “Lockdown had just hit in March 2020, and because Polly uses her womxn and demons to portray everyday life and the loneliness and mundanity that comes with it, it felt natural to work on a film to explore these themes further.”
The mood in the short somehow shifts effortlessly from kitchen sink to horror, to even surreal whimsy and real romance. Polly agrees, telling Creative Boom that their “work often toes the line between the ‘slice of life’ and the surreal.”
“It’s not always intentional; with my work, I like to draw or write how I feel. It’s just how the stories flow in my mind.”
Polly and Andy had previously worked on an animated music video for Chelou, since which they’d talked about wanting to collaborate on a short film in the future.
“This project allowed us to dig deeper into the existing narratives, characters and themes that I’ve explored within my illustrated world of womxn and their demons,” says Polly. “I started writing the story at the beginning of lockdown, so isolation and the pandemic were at the forefront of my mind, and that is reflected within the film.”
“But we also wanted the story to work outside of this period of time. The core of the film is about love, loss, loneliness and hope.”
In other words, just what we need to get us through another lockdown.