THE SPACE BETWEEN US, 3min., USA, Comedy Animation
Directed by Julianne Martin
A lonely spaceman's desperate desire for company seems bound to come true when a mysterious ship arrives at his space station.
"The Space Between Us," was a personal project that I wrote and storyboarded during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, after having been in quarantine for six months with no end in sight. This nights-and-weekends project helped me channel the emotional difficulties of half-living in what felt like a scary, violent world. I returned to the project two years later, in late 2022, and found the production cathartic to processing that time period.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I originally wrote and boarded this project in September-November of 2020 as a way to cope with my own emotional distress during the Covid-19 lockdown. We were over half a year into quarantine, and I kept feeling as though I was remote from everyone and living on the moon. I also felt really unmoored by such prolonged isolation and fear, and was very weary of only connecting with broader society through screens. The era also felt really tumultuous and dangerous-- the news was full of people protesting mask mandates, there was palpable tension and dread in the air leading up to the US 2020 election, and it felt like society was really fraying at the seams. This project really helped me process conflicting feelings of wanting to be with other people again while also feeling very scared, angry and threatened.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
After the two months I had spent boarding it, I shelved it as I had some difficult family stuff come up. I didn't pick it up again for two years because after losing that initial momentum diving back into it felt really daunting. Finally in September 2022 I built out the animatic and proceeded to animate it, which took about three and a half months. So total time was about six months spread over two years.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Mostly internal, psychological ones. I had to learn Adobe Premiere to put this together, which seemed like enough of an obstacle that I opted for the easier route of not doing anything for two years. When I finally commited to figuring out Premiere, it only took two days, so the difficulty was completely in my head! Really it was just that I had to reach a critical threshhold where my desire to express myself overcame how much easier it was to just not make this.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It was really fun to see reactions from people who aren't my friends! I laughed out loud at the woman who compared the film to "Castaway," because I watched that movie for the first time just a few weeks ago and made the same comparison. I really enjoyed the commentary of Benjamin Jefferson at the end of the video because he seemed to really connect with the film in a way you can't feign.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
When I was 15 my mom brought home these VHS tapes of Spike and Mike's Sick and Twisted festival of animation, and I just recall being mesmerized by them, watching them over and over again. I loved the stylistic variety and different approaches to storytelling. I've worked in TV animation for a long time now but have felt attracted by independent short films since I was a teenager.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Probably "Election," from 1999. It's got such a dark, cynical sense of humor and really smart screenplay.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I think the most obvious answer is that it's nice to experience things again and connect in-person... I don't want to live like the Spaceman anymore! But of course I appreciate all the advantages and accessibility of streaming content.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I've been pretty impressed with it! It's very intuitively designed and keeps track of a lot of information very comprehensively.
10. What is your favorite meal?
An outing to a Korean barbecue place is always a great time.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I'm not sure! I have a few ideas kicking around but making anything animated is so laborious that the story had better be pretty solid to begin with, and I'm not there on any of them yet. For now I'm going to continue to collect sweet, sweet attention for having made this one.