When I first discovered Rebecca Sugar’s drawings, I was perplexed by her work yet dazzled by her drawing chops. She impressed again with this masterful comic piece. Now, we’re proud to present the online premiere of her thesis film Singles, which picked up the award for best Experimental Film at last month’s Animation Block Party. With this film, she shows herself to be both a creative animator and a thoughtful filmmaker. The short’s visual gymnastics are staggering, with characters nested into each other and whose shifting perspectives confound the senses while creating mystery and intrigue. The film was made at the School of Visual Arts, the same school that brought us the last Cartoon Brew TV film, Jake Armstrong’s The Terrible Thing of Alpha-9!
Questions for Rebecca are welcome. She’ll be participating in the comments section below. If you’d like to find out more about her work, visit her website or blog. Here is more about Singles, in her own words:
I love to draw comics, so for my thesis I wanted an idea that absolutely had to be animated. I wanted to do Singles because it could never work as a comic; it hardly worked as an animatic!
The main guy lives with infinite selves, they all move the same way at the same time because they’re all the same person. The film is about being alone.
I came up with this film one night when I couldn’t sleep. All that really changed after that was the main character, he started out thin and got fatter every time I drew him. My friend Frans Boukas came up with using “Singles” as American cheese and as the title, I thought it was perfect! I asked my advisor Don Poynter about it, and he said, “But you have only one character, and ‘singles’ is plural.” I said, “Oh, but he IS plural!”
The radio voice is my good friend Peyton Skyler. He and Mikhail Shraga have inspired me for years to be less narrative and more conceptual. The chewing and humming is Ian Jones-Quartey. He inked and animated chunks of the film and was a huge inspiration to me in general.
I wanted this film to imply that there’s a lot more going on than what the guy or the audience can see. This guy is getting a fraction of a much bigger picture that he can’t possibly understand. This film is part one in a trilogy. All three films happen in the same apartment building at the same time. What happens in all three films happens in each individual film though that character doesn’t know or see it. What is actually happening is something else entirely and can’t be known.