Constant motion and eye-grabbing colours are certainly ways of getting a viewer’s attention, but they aren’t the only approach. Luisa Cameron’s Under the Sun goes the opposite route. Despite its bright, active setting, the film reduces everything to stark black and white, static glimpses of people revelling in the sun with only slight boils to keep the images in motion. Then she doubles down on the starkness with a whispered narration that demands that you lean in closer. It’s impressively effective at making you feel the narrator’s growing anxiety—the extra mental work of having to flesh out the movement and picture the vivid colours she describes puts you more directly into her point of view.
Cameron was still in high school when she made Under the Sun—there was an audible gasp during the Q&A at GLAS when she mentioned that—but if Under the Sun is at all a work in progress, it doesn’t show. Her grasp of pacing, of mood, and of memorable images already rival far more experienced animators. I’m already excited to see what she’ll do with a few more years’ experience under her belt.