Daniela Krajčová’s Animated Stability

Stability or more precisely the ability to maintain a balanced life and the right tempo-rhythm is one of the pillars that we, humans, need to function properly. As soon as the axis deviates to one or the other side, problems arise. The motive of stability in arts has been a frequent one. In this respect, the medium of film is no exception. In the animated film Stability, balance is what the characters constantly strive for.

Animovaná Stabilita Daniely Krajčovej

At first sight, the animated film directed by Daniela Krajčová appears to tell a simple story. A young girl who has fled the nest embarks on her own journey. She falls in love, and love becomes an important support in her new life in an unfamiliar city. However, the boy in which she is interested is a hindrance on her way towards exploring new horizons. Though their relationship is turbulent, the rises and falls make the girl more confident in herself as well as understanding of her parents.

The director Daniela Krajčová has taken various paths in her arts studies. She is a graduate of the Intermedia and Multimedia Department at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, as well as of the Animated Film Production programme at the Film and Television Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. She has also participated in various exchange programmes and courses, for example at the University of the West of England in Bristol and at Universidad Veracruzana in Jalapa, Mexico.

Apart from animated films, Daniela is active in video art production as well as fine arts. Her works have appeared at numerous exhibitions at home and internationally. Many of her noteworthy pieces have also been awarded prestigious prizes at various global festivals. The length of their stay (Dĺžka podnájmu, 2007), Surface (Hladina, 2009), Translation of Love (2010), Blue Red (2010) and Mercado Morelos (2011) are just some of her remarkable works.

Animovaná Stabilita Daniely Krajčovej

The plot of Krajčová’s most recent film is visibly believable. Despite the seeming simplicity, the director leaves it to the audience to disclose how the story will unravel and what situations the unnamed and unspecified main character will face. The film uses appropriate means of expression to illustrate why the girl has decided to ‘fly the nest’. She has grown tired – or rather sick – of the constant quarrels and fights between her wheelchair-bound father and mother, and has thus decided to hit the road. Concerning the colour palette, Krajčová works mostly with black and grey. To spice up the interiors and exteriors, she uses colourful characters, dominated by warmer tones and hues. It seems only such characters are unaffected by the gloom and depression that rule the people and world around them. The colour also serves to accentuate the importance of individual characters.

In terms of animation solutions, Krajčová’s approach is creative and inventive. She is apt at connecting various environments and utilizing the similarity of objects. Often images undergo modification. For example, the screen shows an image of high-rise buildings – an image that subsequently appears on the television screen the protagonist is watching. The film’s sound component is rather minimalistic, but fittingly complements the overall impression. The author explains: “The soundtrack was composed by Daniel Matej and his son Adam. It builds on the improvisation of four musical instruments, each representing one character. Similarly, all of the film sounds were created using only instrumental sounds.”

Animovaná Stabilita Daniely Krajčovej

About the creative process the director says: “It took quite a while until the film was ready. The script had been undergoing changes for about three years. I proceeded from a personal experience, but I made quite a number of adjustments to the story to make it as comprehensible as possible. It also took me some time to find the right drawing technique. The animation process itself took about seven months. I liked working with the material manually. Apart from chalk I could also paint with water, washing the blackboard and letting it dry, leaving me with various shades of grey.”

The characters in the film do not talk. They express emotions only allusively, which is possible thanks to the media of animation. In her film Stability, the talented director Daniela Krajčová has succeeded in portraying the authentic problems that we have to face. Though the story is simple, she has achieved the desired effect mainly by using powerful visuals. She works in a minimalistic manner, and creates space for the intimate story of those trying to get a grip and find the lost stability and balance in their lives.

Stability is the only film that appeared in the first half of 2015 as a professional, non-student film. It was produced by Peter Badač’s Bfilm studio. František Krähenbiel did the editing. The author discussed the script with Viera Čakanyová and Barbora Kalinová. The colour corrections were attuned by Peter Csordas.

Krajčová is currently working on several fine art community projects. Caravan, her animation summer workshop project, is aimed at children living in Roma settlements. In the past, she regularly visited a refugee camp in Rohovce where she coached art activities that subsequently gave rise to her experimental videos. Looking towards the future, she seeks to elaborate on this theme by adapting it for the screen as her next animated film.

Text: Barbora Gvozdjaková

Translation: Zuzana Hábeková