Everyone is talking to their own soul, and the soul always remains as a child. The story starts with an adult man character, whose outlook on life has become bleak; his body language shows a life lacking in enthusiasm and passion. But when he looks into a mirror, he sees his younger self staring back at him.
Daniya London is an artist based in the United Kingdom. 'The Mirror' is Daniya’s solo directorial debut. Daniya’s main motivation is the desire to create and tell great stories that educate, inspire, and enlighten audiences to become better selves, pushing the boundaries of creativity and storytelling.
What was the inspiration behind the making of your film?
Everyone has that little part inside of them which always remains as a child. My main goal was to inspire and to wake your inner child before it's too late. Learn to love, to spread happiness, be creative and live in the present moment. In order to express this idea, I was inspired by Glen Keane’s animation works and was keen to create a 2D animated short film. I admire the artistry of hand-drawn animation as it can be beautiful, magical, and so natural.
What is the most challenging aspect of working in this particular genre?
The most challenging part in filmmaking is writing the screenplay – telling the meaningful story that matters. Starting a screenplay is probably the easiest thing to do. People have great ideas all the time. Inspiration strikes, and you feverishly begin scribbling away at a brilliant idea. The real challenge isn’t finding the right concept — it’s finishing it. There are millions of unfinished great ideas out there. However, the only great ideas that actually get made into films are the ones that are thoroughly worked on, revised, edited, and finished.
When did you realize that you wanted to work in media and make films?
I’m a former professional dancer, and was always inspired by music and the art of movement. Couple of years ago, I started experimenting with different styles of art, such as painting, illustration, and fashion design. Passionate about drawing, I’ve always been looking for ways to connect it with my other sources of inspiration. Discovering the art of animation and filmmaking was a revelation for me as it allowed me to combine all the things I love: drawing, movement, music, storytelling, and creativity. For me working with ballet dancers, musicians, and filmmakers is a wonderful way to bring together many different levels of emotions and express them in a way that, hopefully, helps to inspire others.
What was the most challenging aspect of production?
The most challenging part of animated short film production was to hand draw the entire animated sequence frame-by-frame in a digital way. I completed the film within 4 months, adding about 15 individual drawings for every second of the animation each day. Creating this animation was a big dream of mine and it always reminds me that anyone can achieve unimaginable things if we work hard enough.
What genre of filmmaking fascinates you as a director and which genres do you prefer to work on?
There's something powerful about making a film based on a true story. Reality can be more inspiring and motivating than anything you can think up – and films based on true events prove it. The most unbelievable thing is knowing you could actually meet the film character in your everyday life.
I’m also very inspired by Christopher Nolan’s films, everything is just so well thought out, from the screenplay to the visuals and the film soundtrack. Nolan pushes the medium of film past its traditional boundaries and effectively stimulates the evolution of narrative. Nolan is a master storyteller challenging his audience and his medium.
Additionally, I’m fascinated by the Oscar-winning animated short film ‘Dear Basketball’. It's an admirable illustration of a poem, narrated and produced by Kobe Bryant, directed and animated by Glen Keane. Glen Keane has chosen to animate this film using the hand-drawn pencil technique and it conveys the story magically.
How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society?
Films can have an impact far greater than first imagined. Well-presented narrative can go beyond entertaining and empower curious minds. Films and stories can influence generations, mentality, culture, and more importantly, they can change the course of history. As a filmmaker it is an honour to have this responsibility and my main motivation is the desire to create and tell great stories that educate, inspire, and enlighten audiences to become better selves, pushing the boundaries of creativity and storytelling.
What is your next film project as a director?
I’m currently working on my new short film which aims to inspire and motivate. The main goal is to help people to overcome stress, be thankful for something every single day, big or small, it all matters. It's important to value the journey, wherever you are in life. How can folks find you and your film online? ‘The Mirror’ IMDB page: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15520630/ ‘The Mirror’ YouTube link: https://youtu.be/DVqwgSfl7sQ My Instagram: @daniyadee