INTERVIEWS - Patrick Jenkins interviews Jeff Tran

Patrick Jenkins is a talented artist and interviewer. Patrick has just started adding interviews with independent animators to his animation blog and the first one he posted is with Jeff Tran, whose latest film, 'Traces of Joy', was exquisite.

Click here to head over to Patrick's animation blog and read his interview with Jeff.

Patrick Jenkins: The film is about loss. Was there a specific story that inspired it? 
Jeff Tran: We really wanted to create this film as a counterpoint to the fantastical children’s shows we had worked on, that were so clean and neutral. We wanted to make a film that didn’t talk down to youth and with more challenging subject matter. Kids are clearly conscious of the violence in the world, through media, games, and even at church. 
Jeff Tran and Pasquale La Montagna at a TAIS! Screening
(Photo Credit: Grayden Laing / Canadian Animation)
At the time we were becoming more aware of violence in Toronto. A murder happened close to our work, which woke us up a bit. It reminded me of an incident where a friend of mine was an innocent bystander and was shot.  We both had stories of growing up with friends who were affected by gang violence. We were fascinated that we were pretty much sheltered from this this reality, but also frustrated. We wanted to respond artistically to this feeling, from a child’s perspective, dealing with these issues of violence in their daily life.
But it goes back to the perception that ‘children are precious and sacred and fragile’. I feel they’re more resilient than that. There’s this standard in children’s cartoons that everything has to be so clean and happy all the time, when actually children face challenges in life. It’s not all happy. I feel there’s more to a child’s life than learning the alphabet or slapstick comedy. Life is bittersweet, there are challenges and children need to deal with it and move forward.

Traces of Joy Trailer from Jeff Tran on Vimeo.