There’s always been a certain magical element to animation, the way it takes drawings that are obviously unreal and gives them life. It’s an inherently surreal medium that can give even the most mundane stories an air of the mysterious. That feeling only gets stronger when elements of the real world start to creep into the frame.

Teele Strauss’ film Once in the Fields of Boredom is one of a handful of films in recent years that’s experimented with projections as a way of bringing animation into the natural world. A simple story about a couple who have grown board with each other’s company, the film gets its eerie atmosphere from its real-world setting, projected on the side of an old cottage and through the wooded landscape of Estonia.

The film isn’t exactly projection-mapped, despite some write-ups describing it that way. A mapped projection is tailored to a specific site, taking account of its natural contours to integrate the animation into it Once in the Fields of Boredom isn’t anywhere near that clean. Strauss prefers to let the landscapes fragment and distort the main character, using the unpredictable flow of light to heighten the film’s emotions.

It’s strange, because the mix of digital animation and real footage, and especially the nature of the projection, should emphasize how artificial the images are, but they don’t. Instead, it adds to that feeling of mystery, like we’re catching glimpses of spectres of a relationship long past.

Once in the Fields of Boredom

Dir. Teele Strauss

A short animation „Once in the Fields of Boredom“ is a story about a couple whose life together has come to an end – they struggle with boredom.


Script, animation and character design: Teele Strauss
Sound and music: Romer Laidsaar
Editing: Olga Pärn and Teele Strauss
Supervisor: Priit Pärn
Production company: Estonian Academy of Arts

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