27 27

Filmmaker Flóra Anna Buda is heading to Cannes with her latest short 27, and its distributor Miyu Distribution has given us exclusive access to the film’s trailer.

The short begins as protagonist Alice turns 27 years old. An adult by almost any measure, she is suffocating a bit as she still lives with her parents and nosey younger brother. Feeling stuck, she regularly disappears into her dreams to escape her dreary everyday life. After a psychedelic party on a factory roof, she is involved in a serious drunken bike accident. But will a brush with death be enough for her to take control of her life?

We profiled 27 back when it was pitched as a project at Annecy in 2020 under the title 27 — My Last Day at Home, and it’s fun to look back now at how much has changed since that early stage.

Buda is an animation film direction graduate of the prestigious Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design (MOME) in Budapest. In 2018, she directed the short film Entropia which played in numerous festivals including GLAS Animation Festival (Grand Prix Special Mention winner) and the Berlinale (Best short film Teddy winner).

We spoke with Buda about her latest project, how her work has evolved since Entropia, and what she wants to do differently on her next film.

Where did the idea for this story come from? Is it in any way autobiographical?

Flóra Anna Buda
Flóra Anna Buda

Before I wrote the script I was wondering, if I would direct a porn film, how could I cheat a little social sensitivity in the plot? And then I had this idea about young people making love in nature and I asked myself, why are they there? The answer was simple: because they are still living with their parents. And that’s where the story got slightly autobiographical because I did live with my parents till I was 27 and I wanted to see and understand as many aspects of the situation as I could find during the time of the development.

What was the most challenging part about animating this short, and how long were you in production?

From the first idea till the last export, it took three years to make this film. The most challenging part for me was writing the dialogue because of one reason, I’m not a very verbal person and I feel very exposed when I speak. So, speaking in a film that will exist forever was quite a source of stress, but it was also the reason I wanted to try. The second big challenge was the coloring process for the film, where I feel responsible for giving the amazing coloring team a very difficult task with the method I developed. It was educational for me and I’d like to thank them here as well and promise I’ll make it easier next time. And I’d also like to give a special thanks to Nadja Andrasev the head of production/ line producer on the Hungarian side, for keeping the energy together during this process.

This film has some psychedelic and surreal moments but feels more grounded than Entropia and is set in a world more like our own. Was that your goal after making Entropia? Or is 27’s realism a result of the story you wanted to tell?

After making Entropia I was sure I want to play with the narrative structure this time as well, but in general, I wanted to create something different. I found it important to choose a more realistic visual style because the main character is in the process of embracing reality.

Because it’s set in a more realistic world, was the development process of the environments and characters different with 27?

I was developing another script at the time and I was quite stuck with it when I just started drawing for myself randomly. I discovered a sort of coherence between the images, but it was quite vague. A few weeks later, I was talking with Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, one of the producers of the film, in Ljubljana at Animateka Festival. I was telling him how stuck I was with the other script but I showed him what I was drawing and he immediately said, this is the film. It felt right. After that moment I feel the process was quite similar. I had an idea, a concept, and some images and then I wrote the script. In general, I wanted to make something different than Entropia but still use some of my own symbol systems here and there. That is what I aimed for.

Producers: Emmanuel-Alain Raynal, Pierre Baussaron, Gábor Osváth, Péter Benjámin Lukács.

Editor: Albane Duplessix

Animation: Natália Andrade, Melinda Kádár, Zoltán Koska, Gábor Mariai, Luca Tóth, Borbála Zétényi, Flóra Anna Buda

Lead clean-up and coloring: Vivien Hárshegyi

Clean-up and coloring: Luca Ábrányi, Eszter Kardos, Borbála Balázs, Fanni Kávai, Róza Lilla Balikó, Borbála Mákó, Anna Csabai, Zsanett Mess, Zsófia Csánki, Viktória Nick, Petra Czakó, Zsófia Pethö, Zita Dávid, Vivien Péter, Dominika Demeter, Szilvia Séra, Nikolett Fábián, Eszter Szabó, Nina Glavaskii, Márton Szakonyi, Vivien Hárshegyi, Szabina Szenográdi, Orsolya Hegedüs, Zsófia Szénásy, Orsolya Imre, Borbála Tompa, Ildikó Jéney, Anna Tökés, Andrea Kiss, Judit Wunder, Lili Král, Eszter Zsolna

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Jamie Lang

Jamie Lang is the Editor-in-Chief of Cartoon Brew.