“My Parent, Neal” is an Oscar-qualified short animated documentary, part of The New Yorker Documentary Series, directed and animated by Hannah Saidiner, reflecting on my parent's gender transition and the evolution of our relationship as told through domestic spaces, intimate objects, and a shared birthday. The film was created using a combination of rotoscoped and hand-drawn animation. The audio for the film began as a recorded 5 hour conversation between Saidiner and Neal, which she then refined and cut down. Rotoscope reference footage was filmed at home during the pandemic, which ended up being the same time period that the rest of the film was created as well. Frames were first drawn digitally in TVPaint, then printed out. Each frame was colored by hand with colored pencil and watercolors, at 1/4 of their original scale in size. This scale change then heightened the tangibility and texture of the animation when scanned and enlarged to fit the screen.
Saidiner says: 'Beginning on our shared birthday, my dad has always been a big and wonderful presence in my life - I’m so happy I get to share him, his story, and our relationship with the world. For most of the making of the film, I was sitting right across from him at our dining room table as everyone was at home during the pandemic. We listened and laughed to podcasts together, worked on our respective projects, and were able to really be present together in a way unlike ever before. He was almost always nearby when I was ideating on how the film would come together visually after I conducted the original interview. Then, when my brother, my dad, and I filmed reference footage together, it ended up being a really wonderful and silly day filled with outtakes and almost full Iphone storage. I feel like it helped ground the film in real physical moments and relationships. It made not only the end result but also the entire process feel very collaborative.'
Director and Animator - Hannah Saidiner @hannahmator
Animation Assistant - Eva Minh-Chau Liebovitz @evaliebovitz
Additional Animation and Cinematography - Avi Saidiner
Sound Design and Editing - Judy Kim @red._.rabbit
Music - Max Sarkowsky @max.sarkowsky