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Why Oscar-Nominated Animated Short ‘Daughter’ is Truly Personal to Director Daria Kashcheev

Director Daria Kashcheev’s Oscar-nominated animated short “Daughter” examines the relationship between a daughter and her father. It’s a story that forced Kascheev to look at her own relationship with her parents while she was writing the story.

When Kashcheev was developing the story five years ago, she looked at her own parents and why they were the way they were. “I thought about why they didn’t show their love to me,” she explains. “It wasn’t that they didn’t love it, it was who they were.” In the film, a daughter’s relationship with her father changes after he doesn’t pay attention to her.

As a young girl, Kascheev had sought her parents attention and it caused her problems, but as she started to write the story of “Daughter,” she found the process to be almost “therapeutic.”

Kascheev uses stop-motion animation to tell the story and gives the film a gritty look. “I’ve always loved films by the Dardenne brothers, so I thought of their aesthetic,” she says. “I chose dark colors and this dirty sound design.”

The sonic palette of the film features no dialogue. She relies on the grit of the sound, whether it’s city life or the hospital to pull the viewer in. The silence was important to the storytelling because as Kascheev says, “The father and daughter couldn’t talk to each other and that’s the problem.” Silence was the only appropriate way to tell the story. It also helped drive home the universal theme of guilt and misunderstanding and the silence that exists between daughter and father. She relied instead on driving emotion through the use of hand-held camera and shooting the characters in close-up. “I painted the eyes directly on their faces to give them life and to capture the intensity of the emotion,” Kascheev says.

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