The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali Shares his Thoughts on Ioan Holland’s Beautifully Animated CUMULUS
A story of love, cloud, and a grumpy bird
An adventurous young girl named Penwyn, running away from her worrisome dad on the coast of South Wales, stumbles across a Yank of a talking Blue Footed Booby bird, going by the name Mister Booby, distraught his chicks are flying the nest. On the hunt for adventure, Penwyn follows him as he rushes off in search of his chicks to the mysterious and wonderful world of the clouds in this charming and heartfelt watercolour-animated story.
The Fan Carpet’s Marc Jason Ali had the pleasure of attending a Special Screening of CUMULUS at The Courthouse Hotel in London.
Written and Directed by Ioan Holland, CUMULUS was a labour of love over 4 years and clocks in at just under 9 minutes and is simply stunning to look at, like a watercolour painting brought to life expertly by Christine Kwon and her team, the hand drawn animation style puts a lot of Hollywood productions to shame, leaving you wanting more.
The characters are wonderful, and you instantly fall in love with the main protagonist of the piece, Penwyn (voiced by Rhian Marston-Jones) as she travels to the world of the clouds with her grumpy and anxious guide Mister Booby (Wayne Forester).
CUMULUS is a proof of concept short film with the intention to make a feature version of the film, which in my opinion is a welcomed development, since it leaves you wanting more.
The music from Aaron Buckley complements the piece beautifully, it doesn’t overpower the message of togetherness.
Ioan said about his inspiration for CUMULUS "Cumulus has been a labour of love from the beginning. Born out of an idea I had eight years ago that inspired me to begin working in film, it began with a deep interest in the atmosphere and clouds. There’s something uniquely wonderful about the skies above us that is a constant source of inspiration to me. I have long imagined another world in the clouds above, with analogous environments to those on Earth."
Addressing what the story is about Ioan said "Cumulus is about adventure and love, and that the two lie all around us in many guises, and that sometimes we're given a new perspective to reveal those things when they’re often hidden. The themes of the film deal with adventures of the outside world and the sometimes trickier and opposing adventures on the inside with our relationships with loved ones."
As he is half-Welsh, setting the film in Wales was important to him as Ioan recounts "I’m half-Welsh by blood and visited my grandmother in Cardiff with my family every year growing up. Feeling a great affinity with Welsh culture and language, much of the film is inspired by Wales. The film is set in the hardy and bracing environment of the Merthyr Mawr dune field on the south Welsh coast."
Discussing the process of producing CUMULUS, Ioan added "Cumulus was produced remotely with a passionate team spread across the world and while I travelled across four continents. This means that most of us have never actually met in person and that we’ve worked from all corners of the globe without an office, and were able to produce a wonderful film with this workflow.
The nature of the production meant that it was more important we had a talented and passionate team that would be happy to produce wonderful work on a very low crowdfunded budget, than what their geographical location was: and so our remote production was born."
The film has a gorgeous Watercolour style to it, and talking about it Ioan said "I made it my goal to make Cumulus like a watercolour painting come to life. Working much with watercolour and inks growing up and later for an art foundation diploma, the tangibility of watercolour always intrigued me. For Cumulus we developed various new techniques to blend real watercolour with digitally painted watercolour to achieve an animated aesthetic that feels tangible - a paper-like touchable connection to the pictures on- screen - while also feeling alive and active, matching the organic nature of free-flowing watercolour paint with the natural environments and emotions we’re depicting."
About Ioan Holland
Ioan Holland is a British Writer & Director with Cumulus being his debut animated film. Ioan has been a filmmaker for eight years and loves to imagine other worlds: combining original fantastical ideas with familiar life challenges. Spending his childhood summers visiting his grandma in Wales - or ‘Nain’ in Welsh - he has spent much time travelling across Europe, Asia, and Africa as a video producer. It’s this background combined with his passion for clouds and all things nature that have been the inspiration for Cumulus.