Private Project

The Color Red

A young girl, named Eliise, is forced to flee her home country of Estonia when the Soviet Union invades during World War 2. This event instills her with a negative association with the color red which she must battle throughout her life. When her actions end up passing her fear of red to other members of her family, Eliise must make a decision.

  • Jonathan Marzella
    Director
  • Jonathan Marzella
    Writer
  • Meghan O'Brien
    Producer
  • Jonathan Marzella
    Storyboard Artists
  • Kristen Hayes
    Storyboard Artists
  • Helena Cheng
    Visual Development
  • Donald Sutton
    Visual Development
  • Kristen Hayes
    Character Design
  • Helena Cheng
    Character Design
  • Helena Cheng
    Layouts
  • Donald Sutton
    Layouts
  • Meghan O'Brien
    Layouts
  • Jonathan Marzella
    Character Animation
  • Meghan O'Brien
    Character Animation
  • Kristen Hayes
    Character Animation
  • Camila Tasaico
    Effects Animation
  • Meghan O'Brien
    Effects Animation
  • Kristen Hayes
    Clean up
  • Jonathan Marzella
    Clean up
  • Meghan O'brien
    Clean up
  • Donald Sutton
    Color
  • Kristen Hayes
    Color
  • Jonathan Marzella
    Color
  • Meghan O'Brien
    Compositing
  • Kristen Hayes
    Compositing
  • Jonathan Marzella
    Compositing
  • Christina Hiromoto
    Music
  • JJ Querubin
    Sound Supervisor
  • Amanda Duchowski
    Foley Engineer
  • Ben Bessell
    Foley Artist
  • Kelsi Harper
    Sound Editors
  • Sam Iruzo
    Sound Editors
  • Clifton Kadanec
    Re-Recording Mixer
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short, Student
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 31 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 27, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    0 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    Yes
Director Biography - Jonathan Marzella

Jonathan Marzella was born in Stony Brook, New York in 1997. He grew up with a passion for both art and film and quickly found himself immersed in the world of animation. He attended the Savannah College of Art and Design to pursue his studies in animation. After being inspired by his family’s fascinating history, he decided to make his first short film The Color Red during his Junior and Senior year of college.

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Director Statement

When we are children, we all have a favorite color. It is one of the first things we choose to define ourselves. Most of us probably have a favorite color before we utter our first words. It exemplifies both purity and individuality, untarnished by our experiences. When I was a kid, red was my favorite color. It has been for as long as I can remember. But it wasn’t until much later in my life that I learned of the significance the color red has in my family.
I am a descendant of Estonian immigrants who came to the United States during World War 2. The war was extremely devastating to Estonia and the people living there. Their country was destroyed as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union fought for control of their land resulting in an immense amount of Estonian lives being lost. In 1944, which is where the film starts, the Soviet Union invaded Estonia forcing many Estonians to flee the country in order to survive. This included my great grandparents, who escaped along with their three young children. After spending time in displaced persons camps, they eventually immigrated to the United States like a lot of other refugees at the time. They were hard working citizens and made good lives for themselves in America, but there was always this longing to return to their true home. Sadly, Estonia was still under the occupation of the Soviet Union and would remain under their control until 1991. All of the hardships that the Soviet Union caused my family understandably gave them negative feelings toward the country and things associated with it, namely the color red.
This aversion for red, was something that persisted in the future generations of the family. My mother explained to me that when she was young, red was not allowed in the house, it was an unspoken rule. I honestly cannot remember seeing my mother ever wear red. I found this realization to be really unfortunate. My mother had a deeply ingrained distaste for red even though she had never experienced the terror of the Soviet Union as those before her had. Learning about all of this family history made me extremely grateful that red was never tainted for me as a child. My family instead gave me compassion and support, putting an end to the cycle of passing on hatred.
In the film, I wanted to demonstrate how the consequences of war do not end on the battlefield. The effects can last for generations and influence the most mundane aspects of life. The main character, Eliise, loses her innocence as a result of being part of something horrific at such a young age. Her unshakable fear of red is a representation of her past trauma controlling her life. It controls her to such a degree that it ends up also affecting those who are close to her.
Making this film was a really great experience for me. I got to work with a fantastic group of individuals whose devotion to the project made the film what it is. We are tremendously proud of what we were able to accomplish and are excited to share it with others. Even though the story is very specific to me and my family, I feel that the themes are universal. I hope that audiences will connect with it and take away a positive message.