How A Filmmaker Can Overcome Their Negative Traits by RODENTIA Director Phoebe Jaspé

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

RODENTIA Director/Co-Writer Phoebe Jaspé: I’ve been 24 countries, 4 continents and I love Scandinavian culture. Something about me as a filmmaker, I grew up in Abu Dhabi and I studied my A-levels there and I went to England for University.

With RODENTIA (this film I’ve directed) it’s about a CEO turning into a rat. So the idea came from mainly Franz Kafka’s METAMORPHOSIS. My background stems from fine art, so I used to use a lot of oils and canvas and then this developed into photography.


“Film is moving image, so every frame should actually be like a painting. It’s very difficult to maintain because this takes a lot of time creating shot lists.”


Image courtesy of Phoebe Jaspé

Film is moving image, so every frame should actually be like a painting. It’s very difficult to maintain because this takes a lot of time creating shot lists.

We designed every single shot in the film so it’s more to do with aesthetics and it’s not a feminist film. The main character was actually based on myself and of course I’m not that horrible but it was a part of me that I wanted to destroy.

Image courtesy of Phoebe Jaspé

The best way to express your negative traits is though an art form and that’s the only way to have a release and of course to get rid of depression or anxiety or manic psychosis. Which is what my feature film is about, it is based on a 10-day manic psychosis episode (more on that later).

So we wanted to explore in an authentic way how does it feel becoming a rat? And losing your beauty is a huge theme in the film and so is disfigurement. If you combine disfigurement with traditional beauty, it creates a sort of duality in the picture and I think that’s quite important to explore.


“The best way to express your negative traits is though an art form and that’s the only way to have a release…” 


Image courtesy of Phoebe Jaspé

Actor Fabian Bolin:  “I’m getting some hair attached to my back by a special fx make-up artist.”

Prop Maker and Special Makeup Effects Artist, Jayne Hyman: “I’m just applying some hair, this is crepe hair, it’s like a theatrical hair that for special fx make-up.”

Actor Fabian Bolin:  “I focus on more about the character than the animal. I’m playing a rat, you know. And it takes quite a lot to get that realistically with the movement and everything to focus on and it helps not to bother and worry about the mask or something falling off and stuff like that.”

Image courtesy of Phoebe Jaspé

Adam Pearson has worked with Scarlett Johansson in the film UNDER THE SKIN and UNDER THE SKIN is directed by Jonathan Glazer. And Jonathan Glazer directed that famous Guinness horse advertising campaign.

I wanted to find an actor that’s quite beautiful and I wanted them to be together on set during the office scene because it creates some sort of duality when opposites interact with each other. You kind of feel a sense of completion because a disfigured man with a beautiful model, you kind of feel like they belong to each other and that’s what we tried to create in that specific office scene.

Also Fabian Bolin is a method actor, so he practiced how to actually behave like an animal. On set we actually called him by his character’s name rather than his real name.

I think method acting is definitely important when you actually want to embody a character in a film.

Image courtesy of Phoebe Jaspé

Another interesting thing is we picked Fabian Bolin as the main actor. He is Swedish and Brazilian and we picked him out of 200 applicants. Swedish people tend to have that sort of villain type of look. And we can see it Bill Skarsgård and we can see it in that CTO wannabe guy in MR. ROBOT. But Swedish people really fit into the villains that I like.

Well, if you want to check the film out, it’s in the link in the description.

I’m still connected to companies especially 3-D animation and I’m also really into creating music videos. If you are a musician or artist in Scandinavia or anywhere in Europe, I would love to work with you. And I’ve filmed 5 music videos in Iceland and I really enjoy it.



About Phoebe Jaspé:
Phoebe Jaspé is an award-winning filmmaker. She is originally from Hong Kong & Malaysia. She left Malaysia at a young age due to her family being in the oil and gas industry. She ventured into the Middle East at the age of 8 and pursued an international British education. She is a wanderer of many worlds, specifically with her obsession in the Norse culture. This has caused her to become a shapeshifter through different time zones. A lot of her inspiration derives from the dark side of power, mainly exploring psychology, surrealism and science-fiction within her films. She holds a First Class Honours BA (Hons) Film & Media Production degree from Sheffield Hallam University and hopes to pursue a Masters in Augmented and Virtual Reality. She currently resides in England, and is internationally based and collaborates on various studio-funded projects within the media industry as a film director, producer, editor and cinematographer.







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