October 25, 2018

10 Questions: Jenny Jokela

Jenny Jokela is a Finland-Swedish animation director based in London.

  1. What constitutes a perfect morning for you?

Any morning that I’m not tired and get to eat nice food.

  1. Your newest animation, Barbeque, has attracted wide publicity. How did you come up with the idea for it?

I felt like there wasn’t enough awareness or discussion about the effect sexual violence has on mental wellbeing (I started working on Barbeque a year before the #MeToo movement). I was also drawn to the subject from a more theoretic angle inspired by my dissertation, and wanted to explore how I could portray female sexuality without objectifying the women being portrayed.

  1. Why did you decide to express yourself through animation?

One of my favourite aspects of animation is the way you can visualise abstract things that you can’t in traditional live action – you can give feelings and experiences a physical form and movement.

  1. Are there any particular emotions you want your audience to feel when looking at your works?

With Barbeque I aimed to make the viewer feel uncomfortable – the whole film is about visualising difficult and painful feelings and experiences, and I wanted to bring that out of the screen. With my other animation, I hope the audience experiences a good time.

  1. What person or event has had the most influence on your life? Why?

If I’m thinking about working life and events, then it’s probably studying animation at the Royal College of Art. I learnt to express myself on a whole other level and met some very inspiring and amazing people I’m still friends with today.

  1. What’s your creative process when it comes to animating?

Most of my animations are painted by hand. I start off by painting style frames. Once I’m happy with them, I put them on a timeline so I can time the animation (I usually don’t use any animatic). I then animate everything with pencil. After checking it all works, I move on to painting with acrylic paint, then spend hours scanning everything in and finally move on to the digital post production.

  1. What do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t a director/animator?

I’d be feeling confused about not knowing what I want to do in my life.

  1. What role does your Finnish heritage play in your life?

It makes me constantly arrive early to any event, even when I try to be late. It also enables me to apply for grants from Finland for different creative projects, which is a great luxury.

  1. What can we expect from your upcoming project Live a Little?

After Barbeque, I wanted to do something a bit more light-hearted and fun, and got to collaborate with my dear friend Celia Hillo, who is my favourite writer in the world. On the surface, Live a Little is a film that follows a girl who has a lot of fun with different people on a night out; on a deeper level, it’s about not defining a woman by her sexuality and life choices.

  1. Do you have any advice for young film-makers out there?

I think it’s key to believe in your own talent and to learn not to take the inevitable rejections you get between your successes to heart. Jobs rarely come to you, especially when you start out, so it’s important to get into the habit of reaching out to people you want to work for/collaborate with and create your own opportunities.

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