There’s a softness to watercolor that gives it the immediate tenderness of nostalgia or fantasy. It gives any scene the power to colorfully float like a wonderful memory that’s just a bit too challenging to recall in precise detail. The emotions of watercolor are too bright, too alluring, too breezy. But used in film and suddenly watercolor works its magic of nostalgic or fantastical reminisce in favor of a grand story. Such is the beautiful case of Sugarless Tea, a short watercolor film by filmmaker-husband-and-painter-wife team Sai and Amanda Selvarajan.
Narrated by sociopolitical comic Hari Kondabolu, Sugarless Tea takes viewers through India and gives them enough emotional strength in only a few minutes to surely make them dwell on the themes.
In an interview with Lost at E Minor, Sai explained the inspiration: “I took a trip to India in 2005. It was the first time I got to travel through India as an adult. I saw things and felt things I’d never felt before. That was the starting point of Sugarless Tea. I was born in Sri Lanka, but I was raised in Nigeria. My family and I had to leave Nigeria when I was nine, this was one of the most traumatic experiences in my life. I wanted to capture that feeling, the feeling of being pulled apart and the yearning to reunite.”
Meanwhile, Amanda detailed the process: “My starting point with the paintings began when all of the equipment was set up. I pushed a button on a remote control to take a photo after almost every stroke. As I worked through the paintings I became more aware of how to accomplish my vision of how the image should appear, piece-by-piece, on the screen. We rented the camera equipment for six days so I had to complete all of the paintings within a short deadline. It was a great lesson in pushing through the pain when you’re working on a project. So many times I would get to a point where I thought the painting was irredeemable but there was no time for doubt. I would simply switch to another painting for a few hours and then return to the previous one. This meant that the paintings would not appear on the screen in the exact same place – since that would be impossible. In turn, this informed Sai’s decision to zoom out and show the desk when he did the edit.”
See the wonderful short film by the Selvarajans below.
By: Visual News
Via: Feedbin Starred Entries