Part-funded by the BFI Short Film Fund.
Deep in the countryside, Alastair, a young gay arborist, navigates a lonely existence. When he meets the beautiful, rugged Fergus amongst a backdrop of lush and secluded woodland, sparks predictably fly. However, when faced with a small town entrenched in traditional values and a community unable to adapt, the two men must make a difficult decision.
Welcome to WOODLAND!
We're so glad you're here.
WOODLAND is a short, 2D frame by frame animated film about two men with a love of trees and a big ol' crush on each other. We love animation and we love telling stories - and this one sprung to life because we felt a real lack of authentic LGBTQI+ representation in media. We wanted romantic, complicated, tender, awkward and sexy - so we had to make it ourselves.
Our creative team is made up of emerging filmmakers, illustrators and animators, mostly based in the North of England.
They're talented, hard-working and super cool. Evidence below:
Writer/Co-Director - Phil Wall
Phil is an emerging writer, born in Stockport and now based in Manchester. His previous work includes developing a dialogue-driven role playing game Charm Offensive, a one-shot graphic novel Can I Help You?, and his most recent project, an animated short Patricia and the Witch, was commissioned by CIT and Cosgrove Hall Films Archive with support from Arts Council England and Waterside, Sale. Phil sometimes gets quite annoyed at the lack of LGBTQI+ stories in popular culture and set a personal objective to make the modern film landscape gayer by the end of 2022.
Animation Director - James Lawson
A 2D Animator and Character Designer originally from Wigan, now based in Manchester, James has been working as a freelance animator since 2016. After graduating university in 2019 amid multiple animation award wins and nominations (Anijam 2018 and RTS NW Student Awards 2019 ), James co-founded Friend Party Studios, taking the role of Art Director before being headhunted to work with hip hop legends Czarface and MF DOOM. He has since directed the music video for “Flying Bus”, the first ever solo venture from Bez of "Happy Mondays" fame and infamous Ibiza DJ: Doorly.
Art Director - Ben Gardener
Ben is an obsessive scribbler and film trivia bore. Brought up on a steady diet of 90s cartoons and Calvin and Hobbes, Ben has dedicated his life to breathing life into the various oddities that inhabit his brain. Ben has worked with Anthem Studios, London, with Manchester University on their MIDAS project and on the short film Patricia and the Witch, creating storyboards and working on visual development. Currently, he also works at Brown Bag Films as a Storyboard Revisionist.
Producer - Chloe Beale
Chloe is an emerging film producer based in Manchester, and was a part of the BFI Film Hub North Creative Producer Lab 2021 cohort. She recently moved into producing for film, after multiple credits in theatre as a freelance producer, director and writer. She likes to tackle narratives which are largely unheard, and advocate for perspectives which are not often showcased or explored. Chloe’s other projects include Ground Zero, Men Chase Women Choose, and The Joy of Cam.
Why this story?
We want to make a beautiful, animated short film that represents anyone who has ever had to alter, hide or suppress any part of themselves for fear of being ostrasized, judged or even harmed. We want to make a film that explores the experiences of gay men not as a stereotype but as multi-faceted characters that can be masculine and tender, rugged and romantic all at the same time.
It's also really important to us to tell stories about rural communities. Quality of life of anyone who doesn't identify within the heteronormative mould is still relatively poor outside of cities. The expectation that members of the LGBTQI+ community will have to relocate to find a good quality of life is incredibly harmful. It enables a mentality that it’s acceptable to be LGBTQI+ in some places, and not others, and that intolerance is tolerable. Until everyone can be comfortable and thrive in all areas of the UK, we are failing as a society.
We've now completed the whole design of the film, including the characters, backgrounds and colour script and now we're fully into animation. What we need (and what we're hoping you, the wonderful person that you are can help us with) is finishing funding. All the money you donate will go towards the clean-up, which involves taking the completed animation and filling it with fabulous colour. It's a big piece of work, and we need to hang on to our talented team so we can complete it.
Genuinely - thank you for taking the time to look at this page, to read through our profile and (hopefully) for donating. If you choose to contribute, your donation will not only help us complete a project very close to our hearts, but it shows the industry that these kind of films, and stories, are what people want to see. You're supporting a small, rag-tag bunch of super talented, Northern based emerging artists who just want to make an absolutely cracking film. You're a gem.