Born and raised in Los Angeles, Maya Ragazzo is entering her sophomore year as a photography major at the Maryland Institute College of Art. James is Maya’s first film and attempt at clay animation. Raised in an artistic family, Maya is a painter and photographer, but has an increasing passion for filmmaking, which she shares with her father.
When did you make this film?
What was this project for?
This was a personal project. I’ve always loved stop motion and was determined to teach myself the process.
What is the story behind the film?
James is a story about a crippled man who is left alone in his house that presents many mysteries along his journey to the other side. James was originally intended to be a collaboration with my sister. We wrote the story together but I was left to do all the production when she went to college. The entire shooting of the film was done in my sister’s room while she was away. I spent many hours making sets and characters, which involved a lot of trial and error. Many hours were spent in a dark room while I faced the tribulations that a stop motion animator deals with. After three months of production, I am very proud to present my first attempt at clay animation. Hopefully it is a starting off point to even bigger productions.
What equipment do you use?
Canon EOS 1DS Mark II, Canon EF 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF lens, Marco lens, Canon tripod, Softbox lighting.
I used a program called iStopmotion to turn my still images into animation. It was great because I could connect a cord from the camera directly to the computer and immediately tell what the series of images looked like.
What do you think made this project stand out to the judges?
I tried to create a whole world in which the audience would get sucked into. I focused on giving the main character, James, a powerful presence, even though he is only made of wire and clay. My animation is a complete narrative but still has room for interpretation. Hopefully the judges saw enough determination in my movie to make me a finalist.