This year marks the conclusion to my university career, and as such, my last project is to create a short, thesis film. There were no restraints to idea or style, which allowed me much flexibility in curating an intriguing story and world. Typically, I strive for a thorough plot, however with this film, my goal is to explore environments and evocative feelings in attempts to convey my underlying philosophical intents.

This year, I will be making Limbic, a surrealist narrative film about the rebirth of a tree and its attempt to become the best version of itself after experiencing trauma. The sapling ventures out of its hostile birthplace – where the other trees are diseased and at war with each other – to more fertile grounds, where it replants itself amongst a grove of thriving trees to re-establish its new roots.

For this film, the animation technique will be a combination of 2D animation and rotoscope, done in ToonBoom, as to effectively convey clarity of design and ease of camera moves, paired with smooth, realistic motion. Limbic will be moderately paced to follow the exploration of the protagonist. Visually, the film will begin in dark greys and blacks, with cold blue hues to emphasize the element of death, rot, and decay. The colour will drastically change specifically in the vivacity of the sapling as to contrast the beginning of the film. As it progresses, the Limbic will gradually brighten as the setting migrates from low to high geography. It will conclude with a variety of colours to emphasize the peak of life and success, and once again end in darkness as the film credits roll in the dirt amongst the roots. The lighting will effectively match the colours of the film, beginning darker and moving towards brighter lighting. However, specific attention to shadows will be utilized at the beginning of the film. What makes the film surrealist will be the character and environmental design, specifically the trees. The idea is to have them be read easily as trees from a distance, but up close appear almost as a fever dream. Ideally, elements of body horror and contortion will be portrayed in the design of the lib-trees. The environment will also reflect this gruesome yet intriguing design.

Although Limbic will be a narrative film, it will have no voiceover narration or dialogue. The sound will still play an important role, as unique chimes will be used for the movement of the sapling to convey youthful exploration. The rest of the sound effects will be realistic and emphatic, but relatively minimalistic and mostly hollow sounding. Ideally, the musical track would be mellow paced haunting strings, and would tie the entire piece together to help reinforce the tone of the film.