South-African American, now London based filmmaker Ali Aschman made this semi-autobiographical, stop-motion film to delve into one woman's psyche of multiple selves.
Shadow passage centres on three versions of the same woman, residing in adjacent rooms. Each room and puppet is identical yet of a different size. The first, largest puppet journeys to the other rooms and meets the other aspects of herself. The structure of the three rooms is loosely based on a Jungian model of the psyche. Jung described the meeting with the shadow aspect as “a tight passage, a narrow door” which informed the title of the film. However, Aschman's own feelings, experiences, memories and dreams became more important to the content than the underlying theoretical premise.
Aschman << Shadow Passage was my graduation film for the Animation MA at the Royal College of Art. My starting point for the film was a desire to work with stop motion puppets on a large scale, combined with two-dimensional painted animation and other mixed media techniques. The inspiration for the subject matter was my own struggle with anxiety and depression, and the discoveries I have made about myself through the ongoing process of psychotherapy.
The project took 8 months from conception to completion, with the bulk of production occurring from March - June 2019, in the sub-basement of the RCA’s South Kensington campus. I did not use storyboards or an animatic, but chose to rather shoot the film in a largely improvisational way. There was almost no budget, so the sets were made from repurposed wood found on campus, and the puppets made with plain wire armatures and cheap or salvaged materials.>>