5Q's w/Maki Yoshikura "Billie" Director



#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Billie the dog finds it hard to find happiness again after her elderly owner dies. But familiarity and kindness of a new family might just be what Billie needs to start a new life... The film touches on a sad subject through the eyes of a dog, but I hope it also brings warmth and a smile to people who watches it.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

It was never my intention, but it just so happens Billie was created with an all female lead: Female director, designer, composer and compositor. I am very proud of this, not because I was amazed with what we could do together (I know we are all very capable in our own fields), but because we don’t often get a chance to work together like this. I can’t remember the last time I worked on a job that was directed solely by a woman. I do think things are changing, slowly but surely though. There are more female animation students than ever before, and I had a few very talented female recent graduates working on my film as assistants too. I hope they will carry on to become animators and directors, and become the next generation of women in the animation industry and lead the way. I’m glad and proud that BILLIE brought together a team of talented professionals, women and men together.

#3: What is your movie making background? Tell us about yourself.

This is the second film I have made, but the first film that was funded. I have worked as a freelance animator in different studios on all sorts of job for the last 18 years. I've often had short film ideas I wanted to make, but it's hard to do personal projects while working full time. The first film I made was only 3 mins long but still took me 6 years to make because I was working on it on and off in between jobs. It was such a long process, it put me off from making another film for a while... but after working on a friend's film that was funded by a TV channel in the UK in 2017, I decided to apply to the same funding with my own story line. When I got the funding, I was over the moon! Getting a funding meant I HAD to make a film, and having a dead line was the prefect way to get it done.


#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

I learned that having a good team behind you is the most important thing in creating a good film. As a director, you almost want to do everything yourself, but there is always someone who understands certain things better than you do, and it's great to be able to ask their opinions and work things out together, and to rely on them to do it for you so you can concentrate on something else. The film will only get better and stronger as a result of it. Film making is a proper team job, and I couldn't have done it with out everyone that helped me out.


#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

After "Billie" is shown at film festivals, I would like to send it to dog charities and animal rescue charities to see if they would like to share my film for their cause. The film carries a nice message of rehoming pets so I think it could be useful for them if they would like to use it.

I am back working as a freelancer in different studios, and projects now. But Billie has given me the itch to do more of my own films. I am already thinking of the next project I would like to do. I like working with different styles, so it will look very different form Billie. I can't wait to get cracking on it!

Matthew NothelferComment