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Felix Swahn - 'Being A Dog' Director/Animator Q&A

Being a Dog is one of the most distinctive films playing at this year's festival and perfectly encapsulates our mantra of 'Unique Voices and Daring Styles'. We caught up with director Felix Swahn to help get a deeper insight into what makes the film so special

VFF: The animation is stunning, and almost reminded me of a cartoon version of Sin City - what were some of your animation influences?
FS: Yes, Sin City was one of the influences for my film. I also got influenced by One Piece, Alan Moore's The Killing Joke and stories by Tim Burton. Sin City was a comic book that got to be a film. I worked the same way. I drew a comic book first and then made an animation out of it.

VFF: Why did you choose the animal of the dog? What do they represent for you?
FS: The thing is... when I did the script and storyboard for Being a dog, I did not know why I chose an animal. I tried different concepts about a robot, a ghost and a dog for example, and finally I chose the dog. Maybe the reason is because in some parts from my favourite manga, One Piece, there are characters that transform from human beings to animals. Which I find very interesting. The communication of animals is different than that of humans of course. Many people love being around dogs even if they really have to try to understand a different way of communication.

I would like for people to try as hard to communicate with people a bit different than others as with their pet animals.

VFF: For those of us who are not animators - how long does a hand-drawn film like yours take to make?
FS: Well hand-drawn animation takes a very long time to make. I animated the film all by myself and it took around 5 months to make. But if I would have had a team with other animators it would have gone so much faster than it did. But the animation is not everything in this film. It needs a script, storyboard, good sound, development of characters etc. That take time as well.

You can catch Being A Dog as part of our Online Programme available through Eventbrite, February 19-28

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