Be Still My Heart


An experimental animated short about reclaiming the heart’s ability for love.

Dressed in the garments of abstract animation, the film takes us on a sensual journey into the depths of the wounded heart, to find the last spark of love there, and turn it into a fire again. And again, and again.

≈ 7’
digital hand-drawn 2D
in development
produced by ︎ CUB Animation

Director’s statement

"Tell me what you long for and I'll tell you who you are."— James Hillman's quote really struck me the first time I heard it. It felt like finally someone had articulated a feeling I had been carrying, we had all been carrying all along. Longing, yearning, is the primary activity of the soul. Following the end of a long-term relationship, it became painfully obvious to me that the object of my most ardent desire and longing is that of romantic love fulfilled, and a most idealized version of it at that. I felt as if only this were able to complete me, and in chasing this ideal, I — of course — heaped one disappointment upon another. This process of trial and error started to resemble that of alchemy: how does lead turn into gold, and how does disappointment become knowing? And what happens when — unwittingly — we turn away from wanting to fulfill the desire and towards getting to know it? And finally: what if we come to realize that the object of our longing isn't found in the external world, or rather, it's not the external world where it is found? These are the questions my film became centered around.

The film is experimental insofar as it strays from a conventional visual and narrative structure, but still functions as a film: it has a thread of causality, it tells a story,  conveys emotions, and does these using a highly polished visual style. In my previous film, The Wellspring and The Tower, we were witnessing the struggle of the ecosystem itself, its flora and its landscape. Here I want to lean into the abstraction even more, and bring our inner landscapes to the fore — to have sensations, emotions, hidden desires be the ones that inhabit the screen, and contort and overstretch themselves in their hopes to get closer to their Beloved.

Expressed through a personal and poetic lens, the film touches on the very real social issues of alienation, sensual anesthesia, and romantic obsession that result from a lifetime of confinement within the prescribed rigid heteropatriarchal way of relating to one another. When the idea of the film came to me I burned with impatient, even vindictive desire — now I’ve cooled down somewhat, and strive each day to befriend this longing, to move with its ebbs and flows. But all around me I am noticing others grappling with these very same issues. I have not yet turned my leaden longings into gold, and this film cannot do that either — but if it shines bright enough, it can be a beacon to remind others of the beauty in their struggles, a lighthouse to guide those lost at sea back to the shores of their own heart.