Directed by Alex Wager, School of Visual Arts
A light bulb searches for his mom.
Interview with Director Alex Wager
Q: What inspired the storyline of Juxtaposed?
“Juxtaposed” is basically a visual depiction of my own experiences with adoption. I grew up as a Korean Adoptee (adopted at 4 months from S. Korea) with caucasian parents upstate in outside of Albany in a very small poe-dunk town where I was one of a very small group of ethnic minorities. A lot of Adoptees grow up with questions about their birth parents and families and it gets rather confusing for them in regards to “who’s my real mother?” “who loves me more?” etc. Through my film i essentially wanted to address these issues and give my own opinion on the matter. It’s loosely based on the anonymous poem “Legacy of an Adopted Child.” I took the first and last lines of the poem and then created a middle story for it. The poem hung over my bed when I was younger so that’s what really initially sparked all of this! (you can read the poem here: http://www.adopthelp.org/pregnant/birthmother-legacy.html)
Q: Did you write the opening lines? “For those I’ve lost, for those I’ve found, and for those I hope to rediscover.”
I did actually write those three lines in the beginning. Working on this film was a lot more of an emotional process than I expected. I got the chance to intern in Korea at an adoption center last summer for one month and it gave me a lot of perspective on the matter and helped me really fine tune the film. The story was pretty delicate in the sense that I didn’t want to give the wrong impression on who I felt was the “real mother.” The three lines I wrote were basically towards all the people that have placed some sort of imprint on me; My birth mother, my adoptive mother, my family, I had just gotten out of a long relationship, friends I’d lost, etc. I wanted people to know I was thinking about them I guess.
Q: How do you start creating an animated film? With a story, a character, a drawing?
I think starting an animated film or any type of film for that matter, really depends on what comes to you first! For this film the story came first, for my next film the setting came first, for my friends sometimes the characters/design came first. You don’t really know what will turn into an idea or not; everything effects each other directly. I mean, I wouldn’t have told this story with drawings of bloody monsters b/c it would have been really inappropriate hahaha.
Q: What do you think the value is of a short film and short film festivals?
I think short films are a really great challenge to write. You have to tell a story in a very small amount of time and you really need to deliver. The audience knows the film will be short so they want things to keep them interested- they get bored much quicker in a short film and start wondering “when will something happen?” or “this is just a fight scene?” things like that. But when they’re done right, it can have even more of an impact on someone than a feature length film whether it’s a comedic or dramatic piece. Everything is like instant gratification you know? Plus they’re cheaper to make haha!! Short film festivals are a great way to showcase new talent and see a lot of impressive work all at once. It gives you a taste of the artist in a matter of minutes and opens you up to things you may not have liked before.