Watch Out! Samosa About!

It’s animation. But not as you know it…

Posted: 28.09.12

We all love a good samosa, but how does the samosa feel about you? Does it really want to be eaten? Would it have preferred to have been oven-baked rather than fried? Does it have friends in the batch? How mischievous is its personality?
Filmmaker Sundeep Toor has given new meaning to the term 'fast food', with her animation, Super Fast Samosa, which was recently short-listed for the prestigious Virgin Media Short Film competition. 

The film is being screened in independent and Picturehouse across the UK and is up against 12 other shorts that are in with a chance of winning £30,000 to put towards filmmaking.
Kurran Jagpal put his chai and raita dip aside to quiz Sundeep on why on earth she’s made a film about the most humble of snacks.
Congratulations for making the Virgin Media Short shortlist! We hear you were up against over 700 other applications?
Thanks! I feel it's about time someone paid attention to my work! I have been working constantly on honing my craft for four years now since I graduated. Emailing studios and companies and not hearing back from them is quite disheartening. I'm still waiting for my 'big break' into the industry. This could be it or it might lead to better things…

What made you take on the challenge?
I've known about the competition since it's been running. It's considered one of the best short film competitions for promoting filmmakers. Even by entering the competition, the entries get some coverage on the website. I've just never had the right film to enter until this year.

The winning tale is about a samosa…a Super Fast Samosa! It’s kind of similar to classic tale of The Ginger Bread man. Was this intentional?
The simplicity of the gingerbread story is very easy to communicate well in a short space of time. Short films rarely contain a lot of action so I wanted to do something ambitious and different. Children’s films are a general inspiration – I love watching Disney classics for ideas.

What are your chances of landing that huge prize of £30k to spend on making a film?
I wanted to make a film that was bright and colourful that stood out from the rest. I’ve seen the other entries and it's hard to judge whether their work is better than mine. Animation uses different skills to live action shooting. They have skills that I don't have and vice versa. I don't expect to win. 
Animation has never won before and I don't think it will win this year. The experience and the talent of some of the other entries is something I can't compete with but I do hope a female director wins it this time instead of another man. I have come this close to winning previous competitions before not quite!

So how does one make an animation?
I had the idea for eight months before I started working on it and then it took another five weeks to complete. I started off with simple shapes first, then built up the details. 
The samosa has a nice simple triangle shaped body but I gave it a bit of attitude with the facial expressions.
I wanted the characters to have a stylised modern vector look to them set against a paisley background. 
The samosa and tiger were designed and animated first as they have the most screen time. The other animals were kept very simple as they don't feature a lot. I made a list of things that I wanted to show to tell the story. I then found a piece of music on the internet (Mumbai by Mike Barresi) that fit the pace of the story. I then storyboarded sequences out to the track to see what worked and what didn’t. I then kept working on it until I was happy. It was all made at home and my sister helped me out to colour a few frames when my arms got tired!

What drew you to animation?
I’ve always loved drawing and watching animated films. Then I studied it an university – it’s a growing industry. Technology is always advancing and I knew I would constantly be challenged which appealed to me. 

What’s next?
My parents have always allowed me to dream, and I dream BIG. I would like to be the first female director of Indian origin to win an Oscar for a film I directed. Unless Gurinder Chadha beats me to it! I find that the general Asian community don't really rate what I do though. They don't consider it to be a profession but more of a hobby. I've got plenty of ideas that I want to develop. If I don't get a better offer, I might go ahead and develop my own feature length animated film. Hollywood isn't doing anything original at the moment, so I might as well offer an alternative.
I have nothing to lose, but plenty to gain.

Watch Sundeep’s film: Super Fast Samosa

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