Meet the animators – Sophie Marsh

Meet Sophie Marsh, a Bristol based stop-motion animator, specialising in the use of paper. Sophie has been part of the Calling the Shots cohort for some time and has worked with the BBC, Channel Four and Aardman. Most recently, Sophie partnered with us on the BBC Arts Animated Thinking series – a collection of short films exploring the latest ideas from Arts and Humanities researchers around the UK.

We caught up with her to find out about her experience working on the project. 

Tell us about your piece.

I worked on the short called Writing in the Shadows. It is about how publishing can help imprisoned people connect with the outside world. In Mexico, Cartonera publishers are working with women in Mexican prisons to help them publish their poetry and short stories. The project explores how publishing can help imprisoned people, giving them a platform to be heard and to connect with family and people outside of the prison.

Tell us about your creative animation process.

It started with a long conversation with the academics (Dr Lucy Bell from the University of Surrey and Dr Joey Whitfield from the University of Cardiff) and the Cartonera publishers involved in the project. They helped me to understand the tone of the project and what story they wanted to tell. From there I started drawing all the things that popped into my head, trying to find suitable images to capture the words. Once I had the drawings I started to link them together with the script to start creating a flow. I love animating with paper and for this project it seemed perfect as Cartonera publishing is all about using recycled materials.

What support did you get from Calling the Shots when making your film? 

There were a few rounds of feedback on the animatics which was very helpful and being able to link up directly (on Zoom) with everyone involved was infinitely useful.

What did you enjoy most about the project?

It was amazing to meet the people involved in such a wonderful project. I learnt so much about Cartonera publishing in prisons and about what great work the publishers and academics are doing.

What did you take away from the experience?

Each project I learn a lot about my process and craft. My previous films are quite nonsensical and this project challenged me to try something completely new. It’s been a real joy to work on a serious project that will hopefully share the ideas and the benefits of publishing in prisons. 

You can find out more about Sophie at www.sophiemarsh.co.uk

Follow her on Instagram: @sophiemakesbooks

Watch this space for more animator interviews throughout January.