“Each arc of colour may be lovely to behold, but it is the full spectrum of our woman rainbow that glows with the brightest promise of better things to come.”
Script Sirens is championing the creative talents of women and non-binary creatives in ‘SPECTRUM’, an anthology of eight animated short films. These explore a range of subjects, such as race, healthcare, neurodiversity, mental health and grief. Each short film showcases a different animation style accompanied by original music.
To make their rainbow of films a reality, eight Script Sirens, all female and non-binary writers based in the West Midlands, have each been matched with an animator and a composer, meaning that the full anthology will showcase the work of twenty four female and non binary creatives.
The films will be released on the Script Sirens YouTube channel, weekly from Saturday 23 April 2022. For updates, follow @ScriptSirens on Twitter or Instagram. Below is more information about each of our films and the wonderful creatives involved in bringing them to life.
When a kind-hearted farmer is tasked with sending his beloved cows to slaughter, he resorts to hiding his herd instead, in increasingly ridiculous ways.
Story: Louise Osbourne
Louise is a Dublin-born Midlands-based actor, writer, producer and acting coach. She spent ten years in the USA where she worked on numerous feature films both in front and behind the camera. In 2002 she moved back home to Dublin where she continued to work in films and TV, and trained in screen acting. In 2011, Louise moved to Birmingham and set up her acting school ‘Acting for Screen’. Notable successes include Sex Education star George Robinson and Fast and Furious 9 actor Martyn Ford. Louise co-founded Emmeline Productions with fellow writer Carmen Capuano (see ‘Just James’ below) and their first short film Leap, written by Esther Stanford, has won numerous awards at film festivals around the world. In 2021, Louise and two other female film makers hosted the Birmingham Film Market, a one day networking and pitching event, which will be repeated in 2022. Louise also lectures at Staffordshire University and the Birmingham Ormiston Academy.
Animation: Morgane Billault
Morgane Billault is an animator and illustrator living in London, UK. She grew up in Nantes, France, where she studied traditional animation and fine arts at École Pivaut. She lived in Canada for ten years where she worked in the animation industry for studios based in Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver. She now specialises in frame by frame animation and motion graphics for TV shows, advertising and short films.
Music: Katie Ellwood
Katie is a fourth year Music Technology student at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, with experience of sound design and mixing on a number of film and game projects. Her passion is composing for film, and she plans to continue her studies with a Master’s in Film Scoring.
A trapped ballerina is tormented by a demon who wants her to do one thing she physically cannot do… dance.
Story: Melina DeNiro
“It’s hard not to be emotional when talking about this project. Not only has it given me purpose when my life is in a state of uncertainty – literally, but it has also given me a sense of validation as a writer even at this later stage in life. This story has been born and created out of a period of being unwell in my mental health, when I experienced a psychotic episode. During this period of time I found myself break from reality where I was unsure what was true and not and sat with the voices in my head. They’ve mocked, laughed and supported me and here I am out on the other side. During this experience I felt vibrant in thought and visions, and decided to document these in a storyboard format. This vision happened shortly after watching a film titled the red shoes, where I believe my mind took inspiration from.”
Animation: Alexi Scheiber
Alexi is a multimedia animator who has worked with the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra and INSERIES opera house. Her work spans many mediums, but is tied together by two central components – an attention to handcraft in the execution, and a sense of love and optimism, even when handling darker themes. Alexi enjoys combining high fantasy and quiet moments in her work, balancing wonder and intimacy.
Music: Katherina Hristova
Katherina currently studies composition at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. She enjoys exploring various musical directions, from pieces with a classical approach to songs and Lofi/relaxing music for YouTube. She also focuses on writing music for film and media and has collaborated on exciting projects such as podcasts, short animations and ballet videos, with more to come. As a composer, Katherina is always curious to include new and unique ideas in her music and integrate different music styles, which are influenced by her multinational heritage.
When a socially awkward man is rejected by his crush, he lets his imagination run free with the scarf she left behind.
Story: Carmen Capuano
Currently Carmen Capuano has a BFI Network supported film in development and a variety of other film and TV projects in pre-production with key industry figures. She has also recently been commissioned to polish and refine several Hollywood scripts.
Animation: Rachel Somers
Rachel is a 2D animator and digital artist from the West Midlands, UK. They studied an honours degree in Animation Production from Arts University Bournemouth and subsequently interned in sunny Marseille as a motion designer. After moving to the broadcasting hub MediaCityUK in Salford, Rachel has worked on a variety of children’s TV and media, including CBeebies’ Dog Loves Books, Baby Club, Moon and Me. As a 2D generalist they have worked across the animation production pipeline from character design to animation to compositing. Other notable projects include providing the artwork and branding for a multi-award winning educational programme.
Music: Meiling Zhong
Meiling is a composer, music producer and sound engineer. She holds a BA in Music Recording and Production from Sichuan University of Media and Communications. She is currently studying Music Technology at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Meiling has more than five years of experience in music composition. She is one of the composers of the original musical ‘Seedless Lover Plum’ which premiered in London this year. She has produced four albums and composed music for the promotional video of Sichuan Airline.
A boy struggles to connect with his parents, due to his undiagnosed synaesthesia, but finds support and love from his best friend.
Story: Annabel Brightling
Annabel Brightling is a London-born, Midlands-based writer. She has created short films, stage plays, features and TV scripts, predominately in the dark-comedy genre. Her scripts centre on social status, complicated relationships, and mental health. She is a Cohort from the Writing West Midlands Room 204 Programme and a finalist for the BBC Galton and Simpson Comedy Bursary. Annabel wrote episode one for the original television drama, SeaView. She co-wrote a script for the web series, #GoingViral, which was nominated for a Royal Television Society Award. She has also worked as a writer for the BBC EastEnders Shadow Scriptwriting Scheme.
Animation: Anna Rickards and Ruxandra Albulescu
Anna is a recent animation graduate from Central Saint Martins in London, specialising mainly in 2D animation and illustration. Her favourite things to draw are people and animal characters, and she works in a vibrant, energetic style using lots of colour and expression.
Ruxandra is also a graduate of the MA Character Animation course at CSM, University of Arts London, who specialises in 2D art. She enjoys experimenting and is generally up for a challenge, creating a variety of animations, illustrations, characters, backgrounds, and designs (as well as the odd mural). If left to her own devices she likes to play with atmosphere and emotion in a way that makes others go, “Aww, I get that”.
Music: Aurora Sunn
Born and Bred in Birmingham, Aurora began learning the trumpet at the age of seven, the start of her passion for music. She has taught herself to play a range of instruments, and has performed with many bands at gigs and festivals. Aurora has also gained experience in the film industry working closely with young film makers on collaborative projects, and is currently studying Composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
A shipwrecked dog is confronted by an indigenous pack, and through their differences, they explore the importance of culture and community.
Story: Kayleigh Watson
Kayleigh has spent the past eleven years building a range of skills across writing, marketing and editorial. She leaned into her passion for music and journalism and is a columnist for gal-dem, Midlands correspondent for Time Out, and features editor for The Line of Best Fit. Kayleigh has contributed to British GQ, CLASH, Music Week, Loud & Quiet, and has worked with brands including Universal Denmark, Capital FM’s Big Music Project, Music Jobs and more. Writing creatively since childhood and nurturing this further with her education, her work with Script Sirens includes the dark science fiction audio drama Third Time’s the Charm and black comedy Going Viral. Her debut short film, Young Empress, is an 18-minute coming-of-age music video inspired by 80s classics and the work of Steven Spielberg, John Hughes and John Carpenter, which she wrote and executive produced.
Animation: Monica Scanlan
Monica is a 2D and stop-motion animator based in London. She is a recent graduate of Central Saint Martins where she developed a passion for character animation, performance and storytelling. She enjoys working with a range of textures and materials in her stop-motions to create stories that bring fantastical elements to everyday issues. She loves to create characters, atmospheres and stories that pull at the heartstrings. Monica continues to experiment with her work, directing a short film featured in festivals in 2021, and is working on feature films and other projects that will be coming out in 2022.
Music: Steph Williams
Favouring Craig Armstrong and Trent Reznor over her friends’ favourite artists, Steph Williams aspired to be a composer from a young age. She went on to study BA Music at University of Leeds before pursuing film music at University of Sussex with a Master’s degree. Since graduating in 2017, Steph has written scores for shadow puppet company Shadowflix and created the soundworld of game company Cerberus Studios. Steph specialises in writing music that works both synced to a moving image as well as independently, and is particularly influenced by the fusion of ‘90s lofi trip hop and cinematic elements.
A shrubbery rivalry between two neighbours escalates, but when one of them experiences loss, the other puts aside their differences to offer support.
Story: Miriam Sarin
Miriam started out as an actor, touring theatres across the globe. A decade of exciting adventure and performance led her to a new passion, directing and writing. She launched her writing career with hard hitting productions, working in partnership with the West Midlands Police and Staffordshire safeguarding board, before going on to do a Masters in Writing at Birmingham City University. There she discovered a delight in other forms of storytelling, branching out to write her first novel, her first film and her first audio play, even directing the first Birmingham Passion play of 2019. But White Roses is the true first; the only story she has ever written as a direct outlet for her emotion, exploring the complex journey through grief.
Animation: Sharon E Sørensen
Sharon E Sørensen is an award winning 2D animator, Illustrator and Film Educator. She has credits on multiple high-end and internationally broadcast TV Series and commercials, short films, feature films with cinematic release. She can count Walt Disney Films, the BBC, Paramount Comedy, MTV and Channel 4 amongst her previous clients. Sharon is an experienced Moving Image Educator and workshop leader for all ages. She has a particular interest in working with participants with special educational needs, as well as ensuring access to filmmaking for those who have stories to tell regardless of their personal and financial circumstances.
Music: Camille De Beus
Composer and performer Camille De Beus had her work premiered by the Mivos Quartet in 2018. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2019, where she studied music composition, under Dr. Tyshawn Sorey, alongside political theory, and creative writing. From 2020 to 2021, Camille was a fellow with bespoken, a music mentorship program for women in music. She also worked as a freelance assistant for composers, including Scott Wollschleger, Victoria Bond, and Debra Kaye. Currently, Camille is pursuing her Master’s degree in music composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Her other upcoming collaborative projects include scoring a documentary and working on an interdisciplinary piece with dance and film.
You’re Still You
After a mastectomy for breast cancer, a young woman joins a support group and learns to celebrate the range of options available to survivors.
Story: Holly Louise Psaliou
Holly Louise Psaliou is a writer of predominantly prose and screen based in Birmingham. She obtained her MA in Creative Writing from BCU in 2020. Her short story Roasted Breaths was published in the Young Writers’ Anthology 2017, and she also had pieces of short form published in university anthologies Journeys (2018) and Other Worlds (2020). Holly’s first short film Bardo (2018) was screened at Birmingham Library as part of an exhibition Making Monsters, and her second short film Unplugged Sickness (2022) was nominated for Best Student Film at Birmingham Film Festival. Holly was one of six writers whose pitch was selected to be developed into a radio play: The Germinates (2021), written in response to the climate change crisis, recorded at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a cast of their members and supported by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Holly’s work primarily focuses on feminist and social class themes.
Animation: Dorota Sloma
Dorota is a freelance motion designer, animator and illustrator. Originally from Poland, she lived in Hong Kong and Beijing before settling down in Barcelona, where she is currently based. After initially studying and working in fashion design, Dorota discovered animation in 2018.
Music: Haleema Smith
Haleema is a Birmingham-born teacher and musician.
Hero ZX brings colour and life to the world, but fighting the evil competitors drains their power, and their quest for the throne ultimately ends in defeat.
Story: Alexandra Taylor
An award-winning writer for stage, screen and audio, with a background in factual TV, live events, teaching and journalism, Alex writes darkly comic stories about ordinary people facing everyday dilemmas, often with a surreal or absurd twist. Alex also loves epic adventures and has backpacked across Europe, Russia, the USA and Canada. She throws the best Eurovision parties.
Animation: Ana Caro
Originally from Colombia and now living in London, Ana is an animation director who has been working in animation since 2007, and graduated from the National Film and Television School in 2013. She is very passionate about projects that have a meaningful impact on the audience with themes around feminism, personal stories and memories of childhood. Her previous work includes an animated documentary series for Colombian television about gender inequality, domestic violence and sexual harassment. Ana enjoys working with traditional techniques, particularly hand drawn and cut out, but also enjoys experimental approaches, and exploring different textures and colours.
Music: Camille De Beus (see White Roses above)
SPECTRUM is co-produced by Annabel Brightling and Alexandra Taylor. Together they carried out pitch meetings with the writers, completed funding applications, interviewed over 50 animators and composers, and made practical and creative decisions across all of the films. During production, they took a more focused role on four films each, supporting the animator, composer and writer to bring the stories to life. Annabel oversaw Dance, Something Different, Unhome and You’re Still You, while Alex oversaw The Belties, Just James, White Roses and ZX. Together Annabel and Alex planned the publicity and marketing around the release of the anthology. We hope you enjoy the results of their hard work!