Allison Brownmoore wrote, directed and produced the award winning The Amazing Adventures of Awesome, which premiered at Brooklyn Film Festival and has since screened at a range of international film festivals, including BAFTA and Oscar qualifying festivals.
The Amazing Adventures of Awesome is a hand illustrated animated short film about a young autistic girl at the heart of a quiet revolution.
The film began over two years ago, when an incredible moment with Allison’s son inspired her to tell their story.
Her son was diagnosed with autism when he was six, and the diagnosis came as a surprise. He didn’t present as what she then believed autism was, he is exceptionally kind, empathetic and socially driven. One of his most loved past times… high fiving people, especially strangers!
Two years ago, when they were at a music festival in the south of England, everything changed.
Allison’s son was up ahead, eating his favourite snack of corn on the cob, and she was walking behind him. Suddenly, he started high fiving people ahead of her – and as they passed him, she could see the magic he was creating.
The festival go-ers were tired, preoccupied, down trodden, and when he high fived them – they came alive! Surprised, laughing, total game changer! Walking behind him at this moment, she experienced the aftermath of the high five, this incredible wave of influence he was creating.
It was so inspiring, and she knew that she needed to share this moment.
She then embarked on this journey, creating her own illustrations and working with a team of animators to bring the story to life. As a design director working on other people’s films, she was accustomed to telling other people’s stories… so it was an incredible process to be telling her own.
Though autism is slowly becoming more prevalent in the media, Allison finds many instances where this portrayal is one where we are encouraged to feel sympathy for the character. They are often portrayed as isolated, both physically and emotionally, and whilst this can be a common experience she felt it was important to portray an autistic character which was more in line of her own experience, and also the experience of others in the community – one which is positive, optimistic and celebratory.
This film is inspired by her son, but is the story of many.
The film was created from hand drawn illustrations, scanned, coloured, composited and animated primarily using After Effects and the plugin Duik.
Without a background in illustration, but desperate to tell the story, Allison began illustrating using a fine felt tip pen on white sketch paper. Her first sketch was the babies in the sky nursery, sweet little babes wrapped in blankets, nestled in their nests. As the film continued, she completed over one hundred drawings for the film. She drew everywhere. While her children played weekend sport, at the airport waiting for delayed flights, evening after evening… These illustrations were then scanned and after some simple cleanup, were coloured within Photoshop and After Effects.
They decided to animate in After Effects primarily using Duik, as it gave them a great degree of flexibility. Working with an intimate team of animators across Europe, Duik allowed them to move seamlessly between artists without compromising execution.
The colour palette for the film was a small collection of colours, selected for their ability to communicate the story with a sweetness, without being overly sentimental. It was also important that the overall aesthetic felt contemporary, and the colouring was a critical part of this process.
The design was inspired primarily from nature, as the connection with the main character and her natural surroundings was so important. Rather than prioritising human relationships, the character seeks animals and nature for her true meaningful connections.
Developing the main character took some time, and several iterations. As the only character visible in the film, her aesthetic was critical. It was important that the character was non-white, but also without a discerning race. It was important to avoid being too prescriptive with our character. Autism is a spectrum, and that lack of specificity was also important within not just the character, but the world.
The shots were edited in Flame, sound design and post was at Jungle Studios (Soho, London) and final post was completed in Flame.
The website for the film is available at www.aaoa.co.uk
Director, Producer, Writer, Allison Brownmoore
Allison is a BAFTA nominated director and founder of design studio Past Curfew, specialising in design and animation for film and episodic. She’s been on juries for D&AD, BAFTA and animation/design panels across film festivals internationally.
Co-Producer, George Chignell
Previous Head of Television at Passion Pictures, George is a BAFTA, Emmy and Oscar nominated producer of many award winning films.
Executive Producer, Serena Armitage
Serena spent a decade making programs for ITV before winning an Academy Award for producing Benjamin Cleary’s short “Stutterer”. She founded UK-based Red Breast Productions in 2016 to develop films that focus on outsider stories.
Flame Artist, Anthony Brownmoore
Lead Animator, Sylvain Doussa
After graduating in animation cinema at the Emile Cohl school (Lyon, France), Sylvain went onto to work in Parisian studios Cube Creative and Lord of Barbès before focussing on freelancing.
Composer, Robert Logan
Robert is a film composer who has collaborated on a number of Oscar and Emmy-winning nominated soundtracks. He also works with artists such as Grace Jones and produces his own incredible work.
Sound Design, Alex Wilson-Thame
Edit Consultant, Andy Worboys
Andy is a double BAFTA award winning editor, having worked on many award winning films.
Illustrations Allison Brownmoore
Animators Kevin Smy, Amalie Vilmar, Mairead Ryan, Jamie Kendall