Winter’s Blight tells the story of an elderly man called Bill who lives alone in an isolated hut in Central Otago, New Zealand. Spring should have arrived but the winter will not relent. It is freezing and Bill has run out of firewood which he relies on for all his heating and cooking. He has cut down all of the trees on his small plot and now must cut down the one remaining tree (a large pine tree that he planted with his father as a child). Bill gets gradually more exhausted and confused, not being able to focus on his immediate task, till eventually he passes out from Hypothermia. As he drift towards his death Bill feels the warmth of his memories and the heat of a fire that may revive him
Winter’s Blight is a story about isolation, but also about how everything is connected. Through these connections, themes of compassion, loss and sacrifice are revealed. The old man and the pine cone's lives are entwined, showing how we are all intrinsically linked to our surroundings and are all part of a bigger whole throughout our lives. I wanted the film to be rich in detail. I wanted it to feel believable, for the viewers to feel that this is a real world, and that a lifetime was lived on this little piece of land and inside this old hut. This is a place that has been kept apart from the outside world, frozen in time, grim, cold and threadbare. What draws me to stop-motion animation is the ability it gives you to fill your shots with textures and fine details, building a world that can be both stylised and feel as real as a live action film. With stop-motion, everything within the frame has to be handmade, allowing it to have its own style which adds a richness and cohesion to the overall feel of the design. The characters and sets have a grounding in reality because they exist as real three-dimensional objects but with a slightly surreal quality to them, and they are then brought to life when animated. Claire Campbell - Director
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