Case Study: Where Am I? This short film is part of the SHIFT Short Film Competition.
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Case Study: Where Am I?

This short film is part of the SHIFT Short Film Competition.

Cheng Qiu is an animation filmmaker who graduated from the London Royal College of Art in 2019. Most of her films explore the inner world and dreams. She also works on sculptures and art installations.

"I hope that the abstract and metaphorical words and scenes will make different people see different stories."

29 augustus 2020


"As a person who has clear dreams every night, I started getting curious about dreams and consciousness from a very early time. Years ago, I experienced a long period of insomnia and nightmares. I was in a trance in daily life and had a feeling of the whole world being unreal. This experience brought me pain but also many thoughts. This is where the early idea for the film came from."


"Because of my love for poetry, I have been pursuing a poetic way regarding the film's expressiveness. In the early creation process, I spent a large amount of time writing, reading and thinking. The narration of this film comes from the scattered poems I wrote during this time. When the words came out, the scenes unfolded naturally. After the integration and modification of these scattered little poems, the film's muttering narration has been formed. I hope that the abstract and metaphorical words and scenes will make different people see different stories."

Water, dance and setbacks

"At the beginning of the film making process I went to a pool and took a large number of videos and photos underwater. The underwater experience brought about the first scene of the film which I finished. Maybe it could say the film was born in water (just joking). My early idea was to make a film combining live-action performances and animation but I encountered a couple of setbacks regarding the finding of the performers. I ended up having to change it. In the end, my friend and I did an impromptu dance, which is a reference for most of the action in the film. But I still hold onto this idea to combine performance and animation for my future film."

Magic of the charcoal drawings

"The main technique used for the film was hand drawing with charcoal. The movement of the animation was created by drawings on the same paper, frame to frame, so that I could have marks left. I feel the charcoal marks seemed like traces of memory. I also used other techniques in the film, like collages and live-action elements."


"For the music and sound, I have to thank my composer Catherine McAteer and my mixer Ruanth Chrisley Thyssen. The composition started towards the middle/end of the film production process. First, I showed Catherine my film drafts and also some music demos I preferred and expressed my thoughts and feelings about the film. During the production process we also made some adjustments according to the respective scenes. I have to say that Cathrine's vocal is really moving and beautiful, and the final result is a pleasant surprise to me. In addition, sound mixing is definitely a very important part of the film. Ruanth is a rigorous and creative person, he brought me many good ideas during the sound design process. I am very happy having worked with him."

The mist

"The final thing I would like to say is: What do you see inside the mist? Did you find the question? Did you find an answer? It doesn’t matter."

Where Am I?

Short Film Competition 1
September 11, 18.00-19.30, Online

Get your free viewing-link here!

(c) All visual material is used with the filmmaker's permission.

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