Our next Showcase selection is another testament to the way creatives rise to challenging moments with extra creativity and, often, an even better result. Lately in the animation world, nothing has shown that better than the pandemic. “We launched our Kickstarter a couple weeks before the world started shutting down,” animator Andrea Love told us about funding her film Tulip–a sweet take on the classic Hans Christian Andersen fairytale Thumbelina.

“We had imagined bringing on substantial help,” Love went on, “but ended up doing the lion’s share of the work ourselves.” Eventually writer Phoebe Wahl wasn’t even able to visit for hands on help, so the pair had to collaborate remotely. Love then became pregnant just as she began animating, so her deadline became decidedly more firm: “I believe I finished animating 10 days before my due date. It was down to the wire!”

Well, there’s nothing like firm constraints to produce some really stellar work and Tulip is no exception. Delighting viewers with an enchanting world of bright color and delightful miniature details, this is a film that will especially appeal to lovers of fine handwork and crafting, as well as those fans of magical fairy tales of old. Watch it with your little ones and it won’t be the only time you do–this is an easy film to fall in love with.

We asked Love how the film came to be. “Phoebe Wahl came to me with the idea of adapting Thumbelina back in 2019,” she said. “We liked the idea of combining her storytelling and illustration style with my fiber world and animation. We got a couple producers on board who provided initial funding, and then we launched our massive Kickstarter campaign to raise the rest of the money.

“Phoebe took the lead on script writing and character/set design. We developed the animatic together, and then fabrication and animation happened in my home basement studio. I work primarily with wool & felt, but we also included paper mache set pieces and little miniatures from the antique store. There was a total of 15 different sets and 20 puppets, using 3 different scales. Pre-production and animation happened over the course of one year and then postproduction took another 6 months.”

In terms of showings, Love told us, “Tulip had a great film festival run, which included an audience award at the New York International Film Festival, and screenings at Annecy and LA Shorts Festival…The film also got a theatrical deal in France, where it’s screening in a program for kids that celebrates the natural world.”

Tulip is available for rent or to buy through Vimeo on Demand.

To find out more about Love’s miniature needle-felted puppets, check out this awesome time-lapse video on the making-of: