Finalist: Maya Ragazzo


Maya Ragazzo

Maya Ragazzo

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?
January 2012.

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.

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