IFC Films has released a spine-chilling trailer for Robert Morgan’s meta hybrid thriller Stopmotion, which will get a theatrical release starting February 23 before heading to Shudder on May 31.
Morgan, one of the most unique stop-motion filmmakers working today, makes his feature debut with Stopmotion. The film has proved a genre festival hit, winning a special jury prize at the Sitges Festival in Spain and best director Fantastic Fest in Austin.
Stopmotion’s release date and trailer were first shared by Entertainment Weekly.
IFC’s synopsis for the film reads:
Ella Blake, a stop-motion animator struggling to control her demons after the loss of her overbearing mother, embarks upon the creation of a film that becomes the battleground for her sanity. As Ella’s mind starts to fracture, the characters in her project take on a life of their own.
Morgan is an auteur who has spent nearly three decades creating films that have won over critics and audiences and been recognized by major festivals and awards shows. Influenced by the horror of Francis Bacon, Edgar Allen Poe, and the Brothers Quay, Morgan’s animated shorts like The Cat with Hands and The Separation force viewers to confront the darkest parts of the subconscious. His 2011 short, Bobby Yeah, was honored with a BAFTA nomination, screened in competition at Sundance, and won the Lab Competition at Clermont-Ferrand, the world’s most prestigious short film festival.
As successful as Bobby Yeah was for Morgan, the director told Entertainment Weekly that he became somewhat disassociated during the film’s production, and that the experience inspired Stopmotion:
I had the sensation that [Yeah Bobby] took on a life of its own. It almost felt like it was telling me what it was rather than me dictating to it what it should be. [I had] this slightly exciting but also slightly unnerving feeling of a thing that you’re creating controlling you rather than you controlling it.
Diving much deeper into his own psyche, Morgan explained that his horror influences date back to childhood, when an uncle showed him bits of the British film Fiend Without a Face (1958) when he was only four years old. He recalled:
It’s got these killer brains crawling around, and the effects were done via stop-motion. I knew inherently at that age that there was something creepy about the way these brains were moving. So maybe that’s the root of all of this.
Stopmotion’s cast is led by Aisling Franciosi (Game of Thrones), Stella Gonet (Spencer), and Tom York (Poldark). The film was written by Morgan and Robin King and produced by Alain de la Mata and Christopher Granier-Deferre. Léo Hinstin was the film’s cinematographer, and Aurora Vögeli was its editor.