You can view the animated short film Clara here in its entirety. In her suburban home, 12-year-old Clara tries to come to terms with a life-changing event.
Clara explores a child’s experience of grief through stop-motion animation. Clara’s design is somewhere between doll-like and life-like; her silicon face seldom shifts from a mute, bewildered stare. The emotion of the film is built up through her perception of her surroundings. Clara’s movements were animated by Isobel Knowles with a beautiful, subtle realism. Realistic foley sounds, such as her shuffling steps on hollow-sounding wooden floorboards, make her all the more real. The minutely detailed sets of Clara’s suburban home and street are based on real Melbourne locations. At the same time, magical elements weave their way into Clara’s childlike perception.
Director Van Sowerwine uses editing that allows shots to linger, static camerawork and environmental sounds to emphasise Clara’s solitude and the painful passage of time. What would be silence in the kitchen is made somehow more stark by the relentless boiling of a pot on the stove. Clara’s grief is given undertones of horror by Jennifer Sochackyj’s unsettling sound design and the surreal elements that work their way into this ordinary suburban environment. The magnification of suburban details brings to mind the surreal stylings of David Lynch.