Based on a true story, The Origin of Ocean Rabbit tells the tale of the untimely death of a girl’s imaginary pet frog, resulting in the girls’ sister receiving her oldest and dearest stuffed animal as a physical manifestation of her own imaginary friend, Ocean Rabbit.
Writer/director/producer: Alison Davis
Alison Davis says:
“The Origin of Ocean Rabbit is based on family folklore and I remember various family members telling the story over the years even though I don’t actually remember any of the events.
When my sister first saw the storyboard for The Origin of Ocean Rabbit the first thing she said was, “My frog didn’t look like that.” So I guess I changed a few things around to make it easier to animate.
I always thought that it was pretty funny that my sister choose to imagine that her imaginary friend got squished and killed when she could have just as easily imagined him hopping out of the way to safety. But I was also intrigued by how this story demonstrates that childhood imagination is not always cute or benign even though that’s how we tend to see it when we’re grown.
My sister was genuinely upset by the death of her imaginary friend and genuinely terrified by the nightmares she had later because of it. I think kids use their imaginations to work out legitimate anxieties; in this case, my sister was trying to figure out how to react to death and grief.
The other reason I particularly love this story is because a completely imaginary incident, not even of my own imagining, resulted in me owning a real world object, my stuffed animal Ocean Rabbit. As an artist I love it when an imagined thing becomes a real thing.
There is also a good chance the whole thing would have been forgotten if my aunt hadn’t given me the stuffed animal since there wouldn’t have been anything to remind my family to tell the story.
I drew, scanned and digitally coloured the animation over a two-year period. The music was composed and performed by the very talented Pietro Amato of the bands The Luyas, Belle Orchestre and Torngat.”
About Alison Davis
Alison studied animation at Concordia University and is currently based in Winnipeg where she creates her animated shorts. She is devoted to exploring the possibilities of drawn animation using a variety of media including pencil, ink, watercolour, pastel and digital colouring.
Her projects, ranging from experimental to traditional narrative, have played at film festivals around the world.