This is one in a series of posts for HuffPost Culture's "The Sundance Diaries," a month-long multimedia diary kept by the international filmmakers whose 64 short films were selected for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
Jan. 29, 2012
The party's over. It's on a par with returning from summer camp where you're really nervous before you go, and then leave a week later having exchanged numbers and addresses with your new best friends and promised to write as soon as you got home. There is no better inspiration to make a new film like the thought of being allowed back into the Snowy, Christmas card world of Sundance, so I've already started mulling things over whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.
The advice I always try to follow is don't make your film for other people, make it for yourself. It's great advice. However whenever I am sitting alone in my room, drawing the same creature for the 400th time, I'm usually thinking something along the lines of, 'I hope my dad likes this.'
I have been lucky enough to have a brilliant support system of friends and family who make sure I'm fed and sane when in the throws of my latest animation. When something like Sundance comes around, it brings with it the opportunity to win an award, and therefore leap up on stage and say gushing thank yous to all those people who flew a flag for you when you were at your lowest, most unwashed moment. Now you may think this paragraph is leading to the joyous tale of how I won, 'the most brilliant and fantastic animator' award and everyone showered me with love and money. Not so dear reader - I won bupkis. I'm sure there was some kind of oversight and they'll ring me up soon (denial), but in the meantime I'm using this blog to say the words I would have said...had I won.
My family suffered a great loss last week, in the passing of my aunt. I'm not a big crier, but when I was told of the news I couldn't hold it together. She was one you migrate to on holidays and special occasions...the family glue, for want of a better expression. I am the family member who will always feels like the baby. Even now, when my only slightly older cousins have created very small adorable children, I feel like I'm about to be found out and placed back on the kid's table where I belong. I feel out of my element during discussions of politics or sports, and often find myself nodding quietly along, hoping not to be called on to contribute anything coherent. My aunt fell into a different category - wiser, calmer and wittier than most. She was one of the rare gems of a person who, when asked for her opinion, would give you her opinion. I fear these people, because I often worry that I am in the midst of doing something stupid. However, when it came to my work, my aunt was one of my biggest supporters. This baffled me...my work by all accounts is a little bit out there. Nevertheless she would watch it all and vehemently defend my career choice to enquiring family members. This thrilled me. The last time I really saw her was at my graduation show, where she had come up to London from Hampshire just to watch my 7 minute animation play out on the big screen. As she left she told me 'I loved it...but I'm not sure I understood it.'
I think we're all feeling our way without her, and being so far away from my family has never felt as huge as it does now. So in a small homage to a woman who will be so greatly missed - this one's for you aunt.
WATCH a trailer for Potts' "Belly" below: