Fledgling (2021) - Short Film

Fledgling (2021) - Short Film

by doorthejk on 1 Jun 2021 for Rookie Awards 2021

A grad film about how a mom tries to bond with her distant son before he leaves for college. Will they ever understand each other's feelings?

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Fledgling (2021) - Short Film


The film focuses on the relationship between two opposing personalities that also describes a nuance between your typical mother-son relationship. By the end, the characters understand each other more, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there wouldn’t be future problems either; it’s all part of being a family.

As a Korean-Canadian immigrant, I have always had difficulty balancing my Korean culture with my Canadian identity. As a child, wanting to fit in with my fellow classmates was my most important priority. This led to feelings of internalized racism towards my Korean heritage, which I always took out on my parents. Over the years, I’ve come to accept my family and my culture, which is what I built my grad film around. My film explores the family dynamics of an Asian mom hoping to bond with her westernized son before he leaves for university, with her paper crane companion as a symbol of her love for her son. When the son pushes her away, he rejects not only her but his own culture, highlighting the same internalized racism I dealt with growing up and the frustration I felt towards my parents for not being “normal”. Like my teenage self, he wants nothing more than to leave his Asian identity behind and start a new life at university. I hope that my film resonates with many other Asian immigrants who may feel the same sense of alienation and otherness that comes with growing up in a Western community.

My Role

I was in charge of the entire pipeline and directed the film over 12-months during my grad year. I had experience making my own independent short films the years prior, and that experience led me to develop better and faster workflows for the film. For example, I knew that there would be countless iterations and versions of the story we had, so our team worked in a dynamic workflow where we didn't have to depend on one stage being finalized like modeling, animation, or rendering. We ended up making over 80 versions of our layout and posted weekly updates on our work here: https://4thyearfilm.tumblr.com/

The Team

W Chung - Director, Story Artist, Layout, Editing, Rigging TD, Animation, Character Look Dev, Cloth Simulation, Sound Design, Lighting, Compositing, Coordinator

Jessie Shi - Animation, Story Artist, Concept Art, Character Modeling/Grooming/Look Dev, Environment Look Dev, Hair Simulation, Lighting, Compositing

Janine Xu - Writer, Story/Script, Additional Support

Mamie Shi - Environment Modeling/Look Dev

Face Rig Test

Personalized Auto Rigger

Shot Breakdowns

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