NATÏVE

"NATÏVE" follows the story of Sascha, the motherly coyote, and Naïchi the orphaned bobcat kitten, and the unlikely bond they develop. "Scene 1 - Find" introduces the characters through their first meeting and establishes the beginning to this heartwarming, bittersweet tale of growing up and following your own path.

This short was a labor of love, created in one semester from concept to finished animation for my BFA experimental animation thesis. The project highlights much of the preproduction aspects, such as script, character design, and storyboards. "NATÏVE" was created using a blend of digital animation and traditionally painted watercolor backgrounds. The project was animated solely on iPad using Procreate.

  • Alec Knight
    Director
  • Alec Knight
    Writer
  • Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care
    Animal Vocalizations
  • Jacob Job
    Animal Vocalizations
  • Chris Haugen
    Music
  • Joel Cummins
    Music
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Fantasy, Coming of Age, Experimental, Environmental, Nature
  • Runtime:
    1 minute 49 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 24, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English, No Dialogue
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of Central Florida
Director Biography - Alec Knight

Alec Knight is a 23-year-old story and concept artist based in Orlando, Florida that specializes in 2D animation for children's TV. She is currently a senior in the Experimental Animation track at the School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD) at the University of Central Florida, and is set to graduate in Fall 2023 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Emerging Media.

Traditional watercolor painting was how she became interested in a career as a story artist. Throughout her childhood, she spent most of her time drawing and painting original animal characters. Her watercolor and digital illustrations have been featured and sold at the Orlando Museum of Art's 1st Thursdays art exhibitions, and the Orlando CityArts "3rd Thursdays" young artists' gallery.

Aside from creating art, Alec also enjoys volunteering as a foster parent for rescue kittens at the local shelter, playing the piano and guitar, and clumsily learning to play D&D with her friends.

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Director Statement

As a 2D storyboard and concept artist, I have a strong passion for world-building and portraying relatable stories through fantasy and nature. Utilizing sketchy linework, readable emotion, and expressive animal characters are all elements I strive for in my work.

My primary artistic inspirations come from my childhood memories of watching animated Beatrix Potter tales on VHS or rewatching Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Brother Bear, which were constantly rotated in my mom's minivan. These unique stories inspired me to create my own stories and convey complex human experiences and emotions through non-human subjects. My exposure to these narratives as a child is why I focus on developing stories for children, so my work can hopefully be a small piece of what inspires other young artists to embrace their creativity.

My short film NATÏVE follows the story of Sascha, the motherly coyote, and Naïchi, the orphaned bobcat kitten, and the unlikely bond they develop. "Scene 1 - Find" introduces the characters and establishes the beginning of this heartwarming, bittersweet tale of growing up and following your path. NATÏVE was created using a blend of digital hand-drawn animation and traditionally painted watercolor backgrounds to bring a more grounded and realistic feeling while giving it a touch of storybook/fantasy aesthetic.

With Florida being the setting, I want to subtly bring awareness to our underrepresented wildlife as a more meaningful message while keeping the story light-hearted and grounded in the emotions and situations of these specific characters. My hope is for anyone to be able to relate to the themes in NATÏVE and to see a bit of themselves in this story.

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Special thanks to Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care for providing the bobcat kitten vocalization audio and to Jacob Job for the use of the coyote vocalization audio!