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The Girl Who Stood Still

Synopsis
A child gets separated from her mother and refuses to move from the same place. A policeman stops the passers-by in order to make her move. The girl standing still and the policeman that guards her stop traffic and stir up the city’s hearts.

Film Credits
Director, Storyboard, Animation: Joana Toste
Script: Sara Monteiro
Music: João Lucas
Sound: Daniel Camalhão
Editing: Vanessa Namora Caeiro
Production: Sardinha em Lata
Running time: 09 min 03 s


The Girl Who Stood Still is a heart-warming 2D animated short film of a girl who becomes lost and stands still in the middle of a road, eventually involving many people. The film has a minimalistic visual style which allows the emotions of the characters to stand out. It was nominated for the Grand Competition at Animafest Zagreb 2021. We interviewed Joana Toste, the director, on the story behind the film.


Interview with Joana Toste

Hideki Nagaishi (HN): What message do you want to deliver to the audience the most through this film?

Joana Toste: I tend to relate with the idea that the world is much more complex than we usually assume. With such tricky truths underneath each other, we rarely can feel that we know something. As a result, I always end films that put more questions than give answers.

HN: Where did the initial idea of the story come from?

Joana Toste: After reading the original text of Sara Monteiro, I immediately felt an identification with the way she approaches the funny side of the surprises resulting from such complexity. It’s the fact that we don’t control anything in this planet.

HN: What did you focus on or take care in when developing the main characters and their personalities?

Joana Toste: Since all the actions in the film is quite involuntary, the characters have less evident personalities. Still, the main values are represented in the characters, not much from what they show us, but more from what we conclude. I refer to innocence, authority, power, protection, ambition, etc…

HN: I feel that it is a unique combination to have all of the flat, simple line drawings in the film (such as the people, vehicles and backgrounds) be animated in 3D space with dynamic compositions and camera work. It makes the animation lively and immersive.

How did you develop the overall visual style of the animation and the visual design of the characters for the film, and how did they contribute to your vision of the film?

Joana Toste: I can’t deny that some of the decisions in my films are sometimes thought in terms of giving pleasure to the making process. Feeling free in the sense of not being ruled by the right perspectives, makes me also free to play with the animation and to allow myself to add the chaos this film describes.

HN: In terms of the use of colour in the film, what did you focus on or take care in?

Joana Toste: Originally, I just planed to follow the use of nice colour compositions, but it ended up having the characters always with the same colours. I guess, I felt it was important in order to make us recognize them. But obviously, the red was kept for the girl due its strength and visual importance.

HN: Could you please let us know the story behind the music for the film?

Joana Toste: The musician can describe a very interesting process of his. He is a fantastic composer. In short, I wanted the music to define the higher moments, and to tell the apotheosis, following the tradition of the 50’s musicals where everything is said using no words. It is the final happiness of something that the people there don’t really know what it is.