“Isle of Chair” Short Film by Ivyy Chen
Inspired by Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel Norwegian Wood and her own experience with mental illness, “Isle of Chair” represents the culmination of a four-year passion project for London-based animation director and illustrator Ivyy Chen.
Ivyy Chen: “The chair is quite an unusual symbol, one that people see in many stories, but what I love about them is how closely they are connected to us. It is this connection to these often unassuming objects that through my storytelling, I want to bring a fresh perspective.
“The creative challenge I have faced was how to tell this personal story through the metaphors. Exploring different ways of storytelling and understanding new perspectives on how my experiences can connect with people have always driven me to tell stories.
“I like how a still object or the details of an environment can tell so much of a story, even before we get to see the characters or any movement. Yet, once the movements start, it propels the narrative and reveals this new world to the audience.
“‘Isle of Chair’ was written four years ago but I lacked the resources and funding to support the production until a year ago. Once I was successfully awarded the Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation grant, the next challenge was to juggle between this personal project and my full-time animation job.
“While tough I am really glad I did this and have learned so much from the process. One of the vivid memories from the production, when feeding back on the animators’ work, was how my notes were often things like ‘slower’ or ‘Can we make it even more gentle?’.
“Personally, making a movement soft and slow is harder than making something move slick and fast. It required lots of attention and time to make the movements smooth and natural. This slower pace of motion allows more time for the audience to feel immersed in the surreal environment and to feel every single movement that was so lovingly designed in the film.
“Everything was designed in Photoshop, animated in TVPaint, and comped in After Effects. Everyone worked remotely, using the cloud to share and store files, which all worked really well.”
Director: Ivyy Chen
Storyboard/designer: Ivyy Chen
Animator: Chen Hao Chuang, Ivyy Chen, Yi Ju Tseng, Liang Hsin Huang
Animation Assistant: David Rock
Color: Yi Ju Tseng
Original Score: Sarah Playford
Foley/Sound Designer/Mixer: Mei Yi Ting Chang
Sponsor: Taiwan National Culture and Arts Foundation