Eugenia Hamilton’s YDA mouthpiece

Using a nefarious nightclub spiker’s mouth as a lens, Eugenia Hamilton’s impactful Malevolence tells a personal tale of anger towards an ongoing issue. Here, she talks inspiration from Allison Katz, the power of therapeutic expression, and the importance of sound as a storytelling device.

Did you always know you wanted to be a director? What did you enjoy the most about directing this film in particular? 

No, but I have often found myself filling that role within the projects I am a part of generally from my idea for the concept. However, I enjoy being a director, especially helping other members of the group to input into the film. I think I am a good middleman in that sense. 

From creating Malevolence I did enjoy the fact that I had full creative control as I made the film entirely myself so I could get my vision across, seeing as it was a very personal film.

Where do you draw your inspiration from? 

A painting from Allison Katz that I saw in the Nottingham Contemporary had a border or a mouth like a window, and I thought it would be interesting to make a film from that perspective. 

The topic of spiking came from having a lot of friends getting spiked at our SU and then it became very prevalent in the news with spiking through injection. So it made sense to make a film about the experience of women going clubbing as a therapeutic expression for my anger and to spread awareness on spiking. 

Where did the idea for the film come from? 

I like the concept of a film with an obstructed view so you cannot see all of the details in the shot, for example, using the mouth as a lens. I considered what comes to mind when I think of a mouth, which led me to think of predator and prey, and then I began to think of the possible relationship between men and women. 

As my friends and I had spiking experiences this suited my topic well, so I decided to create a short film about a man navigating his way through a nightclub trying to spike women from his mouth’s perspective.

Why is sound so vital in this film?

Without the sound, I think the film wouldn’t make sense as you cannot always see the shot fully so the sound informs the audience instead. The sound also conjures up images in your mind without necessarily having to see them on the screen, for example, adding more animalistic qualities to the character and amplifying his disgust in scenes involving wet sounds or the sound of someone going to the toilet. 

The sound in Malevolence was really to emphasise the distaste for the protagonist. 

Sound will always play a major role in everything I make as I will always believe sound is as important as visuals. Sound can amplify or discredit work. 

Could you talk to us about the style of this film?

The look felt right to me as each element had its unique art style. The club was made with a highlighter and bright watercolours to represent the neon lights, the mouth was made with oil pastels as they had a textural grittiness to them that felt right for the texture of the skin, and outside the club was black ink to help differentiate the different environments and to give the dark sinister feeling of being alone with a stranger. 

The style was very important to me as I think when you’re making a film everything has connotational meanings that audiences will pick up on. For me these styles work for each aspect of the film as they all had their own reasoning. 

How long did Malevolence take to make, and what was the most challenging aspect of its creation process? 

It took me an academic year to make Malevolence from treatment to the finished film. 

The most challenging part was the amount of work I had given myself, thousands of hand-drawn images which I then had to colour afterwards. I hadn’t given myself much time to colour each scene so it was very intense, possibly a month or less to colour every scene by hand. 

Many long days and sleepless nights. 

What was your favourite moment during the making of this film?

I would say my favourite moment was when I would find the right sounds that meshed together and I would watch the film come alive into what I had pictured in my head. It felt very exciting and it was nice to sit back and watch this piece I had spent so many hours on living and breathing on the screen. 

What did you learn making this film? Is this a subject matter and/or form you’d like to use in future projects? 

I would say I learnt to make my ideas a little less ambitious if I have short deadlines! Also, to work in a way that allows you to do less without losing quality. 

My tutor, Hattie Croucher, told me to 80% a shot when I was colouring and then to move on to the next frame which I found very helpful as it helped me look at the wider picture. 

I will be making more analogue works, but not limiting myself to them in the future, as it’s my favourite type of animation. I will certainly keep making films about what I feel is important to shine a light on. I want to try and make a change with my work even if it is only in small ways. 

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working with David E.P. at the moment to create two music videos for his beautiful instrumental pieces so I’m really looking forward to seeing the outcome of them. 

There’s also the possibility of a new film next year!

Interview by Izzy Ashton shots


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