Osto in 'Sorry for Your Loss'Kate Munroe, with permission
The incredible four-minute animated film, Sorry for your Loss, is a finalist for a MY HERO 18th Annual Film Festival Award.
Sorry for Your Loss filmmakers Kate Munroe, Kirsten Lewis, and their team are recent graduates from a three-year computer animation program at The Animation School in South Africa. Their documentary is one of several outstanding films submitted by the school’s students that are finalists in MY HERO’s upcoming 18th Annual Film Festival. The Animation School offers a stellar three-year animation program and is considered one of the top 25 animation schools in the world. Its excellence can be seen in the moving and beautiful films submitted to the festival.
In a recent interview with MY HERO, the film’s writer Kate Munroe described the significance of the film:
Sorry For Your Loss is a story which aims to raise awareness about the complexity of the issues surrounding climate change in a simple yet effective way. It’s a story which children can also relate to. The short film is set in the Arctic and follows a polar bear by the name of Otso. He goes about his simple life content and at peace. However, the degrading environment caused by humans starts to take effect and eventually destroys his home. Otso desperately tries to fix it but soon it engulfs his life, as well as those of his friends.
Kate said she was drawn to making this film when she realised, during school, that there weren’t many animation films about climate change. Her goal was to use the film to inspire others, to not just use numbers and stats, but to “communicate a story about how bad the crisis is: and you need to share that story.”
The central character in Sorry for Your Loss is the polar bear, one of many critically endangered species on the planet due to the ravages of climate change. The production team chose the Arctic Region for the film’s setting because, Kate says, it is key to the entire planet: “Just as lungs would, sea ice breathes life into the Arctic each year and this cycle is known to impact the climate across the planet.”
In the film, Otso comes out of his den bewildered at the changing landscape. After saying goodbye to his friends who are getting ready to leave, Otso stands alone on a melting sheet of ice surrounded by water. This moving, heart-felt film brilliantly captures the agony these beautiful creatures must feel as their homes are being destroyed.
About the polar bear’s significance, Kate said,
The polar bear has become an icon for Global Warming issues. They were first identified as an endangered species but finally emerged as ambassadors of threatened ecosystems and the main icons for climate change. Using the image of a sweet and helpless polar bear to tackle political and environmental issues will hopefully bring about a much-needed change in the hearts of those who watch our film.
"Sorry for Your Loss" production teamKate Munroe, with permission
Making the film
Kate wrote the story for Sorry for Your Loss in 2020. She knew she wanted to make a film about a serious topic she felt strongly about, but it also needed to be a story that her team members could connect with and enjoy creating. All six were students from The Animation school and each had a special role to play (see credits, below).
Kate told MY HERO that one of the best parts about making an animated film is seeing all the characters you created slowly come to life: “We all worked incredibly hard to make the beautiful environment believable and the characters relatable.”
The team faced challenges, as well: they are proud that they managed to pull off such an amazing film during lock-down, when they couldn’t meet in person with team members.
Kate MunroeKate Munroe, with permission
Kate’s passions are art, film, and being in nature. Her love for nature and the environment was influenced by her older sister, Christie, who is a huge advocate for our oceans, which influenced Kate’s diet, interests, and lifestyle.
She is currently working at Lung Animation, a small animation studio in Cape Town.
She plans to get her master’s degree in animation at Gobelins in Paris, where she hopes to specialize in character design or art direction for animated films.
Kate told MY HERO:
I am incredibly honored that our film was selected for an award with MY HERO 18th International Film Festival. I hope this film will inspire more people to think about our planet and to take action against bigger corporations who are at the root of the problem.
Kate credits her teachers, mentors, and heroes, who helped make this short film possible:
This film would not have been possible without our lecturers at The Animation School. Our first and second year lecturers, Nick Welch, Kelly Walker and Carl Visagie provided us with the necessary skills and tools to be confident enough for creating a short film by ourselves. Shani Campbell, our story and art lecturer, helped guide me while writing the story and creating the characters. Our third year lecturer Jarrod Hasenjäger helped bring our environment to life through all of our technical difficulties.
In the Animation Industry I’ve been incredibly inspired by Deanna Marsigliese (Art Director) and Daniela Strijleva (Production Designer). Both have been a part of the pre-production pipeline on many amazing Pixar films, and I would be honored to follow in either of their footsteps.
Someone who inspired me to use my art as a voice for activism is Kate Louise Powell, a freelance illustrator and activist based in Glasgow. I discovered her Instagram account (@katelouisepowell) a few years ago and through her art, she really opened my eyes to many climate issues I was not aware of before.
It’s amazing to see more people stand up for justice--from various groups of Indigenous peoples reclaiming and nurturing their land to filmmakers inspiring others with their work. As long as we keep doing what we feel passionate about, we can all make a difference.
Kate Munro: Writer, Production Designer, Character Modeller, Character Texturing, Animator, Concept Artist, Matte Painter
Kirsten Lewis: Production Manager, Look Development, Compositing, Layout Artist, Concept Artist, Matte Painter
Nicholas Mortlock: Animator, Compositing, Storyboard Artist, VFX, Layout Artist, Editor
Ethan Pitt: Rigger, Animator
Caleb Billings: Asset Modeller, Asset Texturing, Look Development
Taryn Jordan: Asset Modeller, Asset Texturing, Look Development
Ryan Du Plessis: Asset Modeller, Asset Texturing, Look Development
Kian Spreeth: Storyboard Artist, Character Modeller, Character Texturing, Compositing
For more information:
Watch the film, Sorry for Your Loss: /sorry-for-your-loss-5
Watch The Invisible, an animation by Winland Mey and The Animation School: https://myhero.com/the-invisible-2
The Animation School: https://theanimationschool.co.za/about/
Kate Munroe’s online Portfolio: ArtStation - Kate Munro
Sorry for Your Loss Character Development: ArtStation - Character Exploration on Student Film 2021
Asset Concept Art: ArtStation - Concept Art for 'Sorry for Your Loss' student film
Join us on November 19th at 2pm PST for the 18th MY HERO Film Festival Ceremony, the celebration of the best of humanity. The featured winning short films shine a light on activists, peacemakers, environmentalists, humanitarians, artists & others who make a positive impact in the world. Congratulations to the filmmakers for bringing these important stories to life. Thank you to our prestigious Awards Presenters for their vision and generosity! Register HERE.
AND: Save the date for the Family-Friendly Awards Celebration on December 10, 2022, at 10 am (PST). Festival winners and their heroes will be on hand to answer questions and share their stories. Short clips from select films will be screened. Categories include narrative, documentary, music videos, animation, experimental, trailers, spoken word and PSAs. Awards are given to winners at Elementary, Middle School, High School, College and Professional levels. Register HERE.