Children Competitive Screening
Effie Pappa talks about the film "My Stuffed Granny" to the ANIMAGE
“My Stuffed Granny” was one of the selected short films by ANIMAGE to compose the program of the Children Competitive Screening that was exhibited during the week at Caixa Cultural and Cinema da Funcação. This the third and more recent film of the Greek director Effie Pappa, who nowadays lives and works in London.
To tell a little bit more about the relationship of a child with her grandmother and father, Effie talked to the festival’s team.
ANIMAGE How did you get the idea to make “My stuffed granny”?
EFFIE PAPPA I left Greece during the economic collapse and the political and social turmoil. I felt like I was running away from it and had to raise my voice somehow. On my way, I met Nina Kouletaki’s fantastic “essay” about this little girl (Sophia), experiencing the crisis from her innocent perspective while offering such a satirical and “spicy” witness. Boom! I became Sophia, modified the story a bit and we made “My Stuffed Granny”.
ANIMAGE Why did you choose to make it in stop motion and which materials did you use in the creative process?
EFFIE PAPPA I wanted the characters and environment to belong to this world that imitates real life. The interior of the house, the neighbourhood, the puppets, the costumes. We came up with a whole background story on what happened to these people before we get to meet them in this story and we tried to imprint these elements in every little tiny asset existing in this film.
I believe there’s another level of engagement when existing in a space full of handcrafts imitating real life objects and materials such as the plastered broken walls, the tiled floor, Sophia’s wooden toys, her drawings on the fridge etc. There is something that does actually exist in real time and space regardless the film life.
ANIMAGE The maternal absence is something that makes the situation seem harder. Was it an intentional dramatic strategy?
EFFIE PAPPA As you said, it makes the situation even harder. Father wouldn’t really make such knee jerk reactions if he had a wife by his side and Sophia wouldn’t probably be that active and aware of the family problems if she had the maternal warmth and protection. Sophia is growing up in this film and she has to struggle following her own romantic ideas. And in the end she achieves it because she’s the one that thinks as a blank slate. That couldn’t obviously have happened without the father’s actions and here there’s another vortex of incidents that lead to the end of the story.
ANIMAGE When you decided to make this film, did you think of a dialogue with the crisis in Greece?
EFFIE PAPPA Certainly. The intention behind Sophia’s character development is to incarnate the young generation in Greece that despite the misfortunes and mistakes that have been made in the country in the past needs to stand up creative and persistantly in order to build the future’s path. There are many things we can learn from the history that has been written and that’s a great opportunity to go onwards and up front if we get to read it carefully.
ANIMAGE “My stuffed granny” explores the child as someone with creative solutions, willing to deal with hard conditions and quite tolerant with others. Is it not an extremely romantic point of view?
EFFIE PAPPA Child’s creative solution is to plant the leftover seeds (spit out of granny’s mouth) and produce enough food to feed her family. Fathers solution to the problem is to stuff granny and pretend she’s alive in order to keep the income alive (which did happened in real life several times). If this is a romantic vs. realistic manner, I’ll go with the first one.