//_sleeper, the debut film by University for the Creative Arts (UCA) graduate Jordan Buckner will be screened at the London International Animation Festival (LIAF) at the Barbican Centre later this week.
Founded in 2003, LIAF is an annual ten-day Festival that aims to dispel the popular misconception that animation means just 'cartoons for kids' by screening the broadest possible range of intelligent, entertaining and provocative films from around the world.
Jordan, who graduated from UCA Rochester in 2012 with a BA (Hons) CG Arts and Animation, has seen his film go from strength to strength, leading to new work and new opportunities. Since its premiere at BFI Animation 2018, it has been aired on BBC Four, been nominated for Best Animated Short at the Dublin Independent Film Awards, screened at the Margate Film Festival 2019, and on 29 November will be screened at LIAF.
Set in a dying industrial town, //_sleeper tells the story of Frank, a recluse who wakes each day to a strange anomaly on the horizon. Frank sits and watches daily as the anomaly moves in the distance, with his computers and cameras trained on the strangeness on the edge of town.
With themes that explore ambiguity, confusion and alienation, it was interesting to learn that the inspiration for the film came from the filmmaker’s own background.
“The main inspiration for //_sleeper was the small, industrial towns like the one I grew up in, that exist at the fringes of the UK. At the time, and still now, those places felt troubled, lost and dying, and although the landscapes seemed harsh, they still had their share of romance and poetry. I wanted to explore the beguiling nature of those places in Britain,” explained Jordan.
Jordan’s film will be shown as part of LIAF’s British Showcase event, alongside the likes of Will Anderson, Anna Ginsburg and Blue Zoo. As an independent animator and filmmaker, Jordan takes heed from the fact that his films are being showcased alongside his talented peers.
“I’m making strange films about mental health and the weirdness of the UK, so it means a great deal to know that people care about the work and that it has a place up on the screen alongside those superb talents.”
LIAF is first and foremost a British festival and dedicated to showcasing the work of our best animators – industry veterans screen alongside the most promising film school graduates and first-time filmmakers like Jordan.
“Being an independent artist and filmmaker is a tough path, but if you really love what you’re doing, then hold your nerve and be kind to yourself – love the process and it’ll love you back,” said Jordan. “It’s taken me a good few years and help from some great mentors to get to this point, but now I couldn’t be happier making my own films - independent creation is really important to me, I can’t wait to make more strange things.”
Aside from LIAF, Jordan is working on another short film for the BBC called When the Tides Went Down. It explores climate change, the British countryside and our different responses to these turbulent times. It will be out on BBC Four in the near future.
To find out more about studying Animation at UCA visit the course pages.