The masks we wear: a short film by young artist Olivia

Young artist Olivia created this short film during our City as Studio online film-making residency in February 2021. Over the course of the residency, the group of young people aged between 16 and 19 explored DIY film and music-making techniques to create work about the issues they care about.

Olivia shares her experience of the residency.

Words and film by Olivia


What is City as Studio?

It is an intensive, week-long course where you can learn film skill and techniques, while considering the current and/or ongoing events around the world. During the course we created our own work (individually and collaboratively) and shared it with the rest of the group. During this week I greatly developed the very few skills I already had, and created two pieces of work. I made friends and loved hearing the other participants thoughts and ideas. Although the course was online (because of the current COVID-19 crisis) and there were certain set backs and inconveniences to overcome, I greatly enjoyed participating and developing my art practice, this also enhanced my adaptability to unseen difficulties. 

What is a Citizen of the Universe?

To me a citizen of the universe is any living thing, be it animal, plant, even perhaps, extra terrestrial life. The idea that the universe equals everything coveys the idea of inclusivity, something humans need to take into account more, especially at the present time. It is important that we feel connected to one another and the world around us in both local and global ways. This awareness constitutes an involvement with a world of bigger ideas.

My Work:

During the course we explored many different ways of working, and made two individual films — one stop-motion animation, and one live-action. In my films I focused on the issue of mental health and the constant impact it has on people and their well being. 

My stop-motion focuses on the impact words can have and how we need to be more careful about what we say to an about others, as we have no idea how it could affect them.

On the other hand, my live-action film (although it does have some animation in it) considers how we perceive ourselves and how we adopt different personas. In this film I represented the way we project ourselves using a variety of different masks. These show the way we hide behind a persona that we believe others want, or would prefer to see, and this conveys how we never really show our true selves to others. The masks I used were all Venetian (except for my COVID mask) and many of the locations used in my film involved shots of rivers, canals and bridges as well as an Italianate church. I am part Italian, so, in my film, these all linked to ideas of personal identity. 

I also used my Memoji to depict a ‘voice of reason.’ She comes in at the beginning and the end of the film, she asks question, and reassures, acting as a reminder, that we sometimes need: “You are enough.” 


Find out more about City as Studio, here.

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