Directed By: Minha Kim
Writen by: Islay Bell-Webb, Minha Kim
Awards: Won an Honorable Mention for Best Animated Short at the 2016 Nashville Film Festival
Trivia: It took director Minha Kim 8 months to paint the individual frames of this film
It took director Minha Kim a year to produce Sea Child, a 7-minute animated short about a maturing girl on the verge of becoming a woman. Every frame was hand-painted, a process that itself required 8 months to complete, and Kim often worked tirelessly on the project, sometimes painting 7 days a week. It was a gargantuan effort to produce what proved to be a very poignant, extremely personal film.
A young girl, who lives with her grandmother by the sea, awakens from a nightmare and follows a group of men into town, where she comes face-to-face with her birth mother. All the while, the girl struggles with her changing body, and the doubts and insecurities that all children experience when faced with the realities of adulthood.
The animation style that Minha Kim employs throughout Sea Child is, at times, jarring (it isn’t until the film’s young protagonist enters town that splashes of color are introduced), as are the images themselves; in exploring the changes her character is undergoing, Kim doesn’t shy away from nudity, and the final sequence revolves around the girl’s first menstrual cycle (the scene in which the girl encounters her mother is also unsettling). Yet, at the same time, Sea Child is quite beautiful, telling the story of a girl’s passage into adulthood in a manner that is undeniably fascinating.
“It’s really hard put my finger on a specific thing that was my inspiration for Sea Child”, director Minha Kim told Filmbuzz in a recent interview, “but large parts of the story and the visuals came from my memories of being a child, and the strange feeling I felt of ‘growing up’”. Drawing from her personal experiences, Kim has crafted a singularly unique, often stunning film that has no problem whatsoever getting its point across.