An Interview with Navjot Kaur on her film “CHOMP”, it’s impact and how she came up with the idea of making a film on animation.
Chomp, is a five-minute animation, about a new immigrant who is terrified of dogs, opening her pharmacy in a space where her neighbour is a stray dog.
Let’s hear from the directors herself about her experience of making a film with
her adorable visions.
CULT-CRITIC : Navjot, Firstly, allow me to express my congratulations to you for the huge success of your film ‘CHOMP’. Recently it has won ‘The Best Animated Film’ award in Cult Critic Movie Awards, What actually did compel you to select animation the subject of CHOMP?
NAVJOT – Thank you so much, I am truly honoured and grateful to have won this award! In answer to your question, as a Sikh girl who grew up in India, I was fond of animation but was always aware of the lack of representation for my culture and background. The continued scarcity I still see today is deeply disappointing. Animation has a long history as a powerful genre that appeals to both children and adults. I wanted to make it more inclusive. So, I used my own cultural perspective and experience as someone who has moved to different countries, and the challenges that come with it.
CULT-CRITIC : What are the challenges you faced making ‘CHOMP’? And share your experience on your first attempt in animation.
NAVJOT – It was really fun! I have a strong background in narrative live-action, but I loved the challenge of learning how to tell stories in a different format. I had to find an effective way of adjusting my ambitions into an achievable reality. Creating characters and locations from scratch was quite enjoyable, but it was definitely challenging to ensure consistences with the overall quality. Towards the later stages, I had to accept some of my own limitations and make changes to the look of the film. However, I was lucky to work with a really talented animation team, and we were able to complete the final product. I am quite happy with the end results!
CULT-CRITIC : What is the most important quality a filmmaker needs to accomplish his or her work?
NAVJOT – Passion. That’s where it all begins.
CULT-CRITIC : Tell us more about the colour & the sounds which you considered in your animated film and what effect has sound on a film and the basic philosophy of sound design?
NAVJOT – A LOT of research went into the colour and sound design for this film. Animation has always used “wacky” sounds to appeal to younger audiences. Since the film has no dialogue, I used sound, music and colour to alter the pacing and mood of the scenes. There was a lot of layering involved to create a sense of depth to the 2D visuals. The sound of the store bell, is similar to the sound of dogs’ collars when they walk with their people. This subtle nature tells us that even though Chomp is a stray-dog which apprehensions about getting close to people, he still yearns to have a human companion. The store bell is used as their friendship evolves, until the very end when Chomp realises that Simran is adopting him. The subtlety of this sound and the colours of Chomp’s scars indicate deeper themes which intend to capture the attention of older audience members. In keeping with the traditions of animation, my sound designer, Luke, and I used odd sounds to appeal to children. For example, the pop of a balloon when Simran looks up from her phone to see Chomp holding a leaf for the first time, and the whimsical sound of the leaf as it landed on Simran’s face which was used an indicator of fate’s intervention. I believe that effective sound design and music are key factors in evoking feelings for audience members. If it is not used effectively, the impact is lost. I think that layering sounds is an overlooked, but deeply important part of filmmaking in general.
CULT-CRITIC :What is the best advice you can give to an aspiring, independent filmmaker?
NAVJOT – Pick a team with diverse personalities and talents, and make sure that you all can get along well enough to work for long periods at a time.
CULT-CRITIC :What lessons or ideas would you like your audience to pick up after watching your movie?
NAVJOT – I hope that my audience gains an interest in learning about Indian cultures. The idea was to make the representation as simple and “normal” as it would for any other story. As for the story, I really, really hope that my audience is left with the lesson of being kind and caring towards animals and one another.
CULT-CRITIC :One more question before we say good-bye: What message would you impart to young filmmakers?
NAVJOT – As a storyteller, your voice is unique and powerful. Use it well.