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ANNY Animator Interviews: Mathilde Cotillon


Animation For Adults Presents Animation Nights New York's (ANNY) Animator Interviews. AFA and ANNY's Evan Vernon talks with animator Mathilde Cotillon whose short Quoi qu'il arrive screened as part of the ANNY July Program #62 “NOT ALONE”, on the ANNY Virtual Events platform ONLINE.




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ANNY Animator Interview #22 with Mathilde Cotillon

Interview by Evan Vernon 
Director’s Statement: 

The world of illustration and animation, in addition to a desire to tell stories and put my ideas on paper, have been main motivations for me to develop a real authentic, poetic and sensitive universe. My work is a true passion, based on my desire to create, draw, and constantly improve myself.

Quoi qu'il arrive
screened as part of the Animation Nights New York July Program on the ANNY Virtual Events platform ONLINE.


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mathcotillon/

Website: https://mathildecotillon.wixsite.com/website

Director of Quoi qu'il arrive

"Always stand strong despite the ravage, and no matter the events, I'll strengthen my foundations, grow up, and rise above the sky."


Animation Nights New York presents “NOT ALONE” (Program #62 | Season 6 | In Competition Films)

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Films are available 11am - 11pm Eastern Time for ONE DAY ONLY. Join us for mixer events in the ANNY Virtual Event Space on webXR. (No headset is required. Platform is accessible via PC/Mac/Mobile.)

Mixer Events 3pm - 5pm & 8pm- 11pm ET



ECV School


Lou !




Christian Dior



Evan Vernon: Welcome to another episode of animator interviews. My name is Evan Vernon. I'm a contributor at Animation for Adults, as well as Animation Nights New York, also known as ANNY. For those new to ANNY, we are a monthly screening event and yearly Festival that celebrates the very best in animation talent. Our artists come from all across the globe and many have gone on to have their work featured, at Annecy, Cannes and other prominent festivals. Our next screening is scheduled for Sunday, July 25th. Films will be available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time with virtual mixers from 3 to 5 and 8 to 10. Our Guest today is French artist Mathilde Cotillon. Mathilde is a 2020 graduate of the ECV school in Bordeaux, where she earned her Master's degree in animation. Mathilde's thesis film, Quoi qu'il arrive is one of twelve shorts we are screening this month. Set in a landless water world, the film follows a young girl as she spends her days alone, adding floor after floor to her house, as the sea around her continues to rise. She doesn't tell us who she is or where she's from, but the lonely landscape and photos around her all tell the story of their own. We know that she has lost something, but the girl that Cotillon shows us does not give up or yield to her sadness at all. Translated as Whatever Happens, Quoi qu'il arrive is a calm but poignant meditation on human resilience with soft music and visuals that will touch animation fans, young and old. When she's not animating, Mathilde is also an illustrator and has several stylish drawings to her name. Today, this young Talent has kindly agreed to discuss her work and the story behind Quoi qu'il arrive. 

Mathilde, thanks for coming. Tell us about yourself. What drew you to animation. Why did you enter the field?

Mathilde Cotillon: It was always a drumming. At first, I wanted to do comics. I grew up with the Lou ! Comic by Julien Neel. I love the character he created. I identified with her a lot. It was this comic book that made me want to go into comics drawing but it's not an easy industry. On the side, I always drew lots of small characters. I imagined stories, personalities, around them, so giving them life through movement with the work of animations in it, to me, I always want. I grew up with Miyazaki movies,... and the characters too. I think it was with those movies that I thought the job must be great and that I wanted to do animation.

Evan Vernon: Amazing. It's always great to ask people this question. Everybody has their own heroes, their own inspirations, that make them want to enter the industry. So, thank you so much for sharing Mathilde. I'm curious, when I was watching the film and looked at your portfolio, and your drawings, dance, and even fashion seemed to be kind of a common theme. The clothing was very elegant and elaborate and you have all these figures that are moving in some shape or form. So do you have any background in dance or fashion?

Mathilde Cotillon: Yes, I have done a lot of dance. I find that a body in motion is beautiful. Dance emits a lot of grace and sensitivity. Growing up, I had to stop for personal reasons. So instead, I started drawing the dance and I love fashion. I wanted to be a stylist for a long time but I had the wrong idea of not having a strong enough personality for this environment. I’ve been shy for a long time but it's a ... that hits when I look at the sketch of Christian Dior...I find that something emerges from it that is strong and gentle at the same time. It's sublime.

Evan Vernon: I'm not sure if I have the title, right but I remember looking at your different drawings and some of your GIFS, like the little short animations, you made. There's one that's that's just titled Be a Poem and there's this woman who's, you know, dancing, very elegantly and I think the what you've said, you know, that idea of like drawing from these different artistic mediums and integrating them into animation just says a lot about you as an artist and how you view your craft so thank you so much for sharing Matilda. Tell us a little bit about Quoi qu'il arrive, what inspired this story and how would you describe the message of the film? I know there was this in text at the end that you made a point to share with your audience so give us some background on that.

Mathilde Cotillon: My first priority in designing my film was that it stands out as a strong and authentic graphic universe. I wanted something very illustrative like a group full of images. I thought of each shot of the film as an illustration. The biggest technical challenge was animation. It was not my strong point ... It allowed me to learn a lot. The second important point was the message I wanted to come by. I wanted something strong and sensitive. I wanted a story where everyone could identify with the message and interpret it based on their experience, a story that brings lightness and poetry to the trail of life. This film was a real challenge for me, mentally and artistically. I was going through a period that was not easy on a personal level and it allowed me to grow a lot, as an artist, both in the technical and the psychological aspects. Whatever happens, we must continue to grow, evolve, and build ourselves. That is what we must remember.

Evan Vernon: Beautifully said. Thank you so much for sharing, Mathilde. This could just be me, but I've noticed that the girl in the film, she seems to be featured throughout your portfolio, sometimes as an adult, and sometimes as a child. So why is this? Is this girl just a character? Is she you, or possibly someone, you know? Tell us a little bit about that.

Mathilde Cotillon: I get a lot of people coming back and asking about the children I am drawing and I think I am just doing it unconsciously. I've been drawing little girls my whole life and I've made them evolve, according to my own age. I remember, when I was a child, I will take pictures in front of the mirror and draw them again and when I go back through my very first drawings, chronologically,... I have seen the evolution of the body that grows. This is pretty fun. For a long time, I didn't really accept growing up. I wanted to remain a little girl and I think you can fit this design as a part of my character. When drawing, you can stay a child, stay in your child’s world, create the stories you want, and it gives this character of child woman and this view that I had such a hard time living so we can say that yes, I identify a lot with this character.

Evan Vernon: You're a young artist. I love to ask young artists this same question, because you have so much time ahead of you. What do you hope to achieve as an artist? What would you like people to take away from your work?

Mathilde Cotillon: I would like to write on the ... albums at least one in my life. Right now, I'm working on a youth album script. I just started the storyboard. I want to tell stories that challenge, make people think and open their minds. What I would like people to retain from my work is my sensitivity and above all my graphic universe that extends out and is working inside.

Evan Vernon: And where do you see yourself in the future? You know, 10, 20 years down the road? Do you have any dream jobs or projects that you've thought about?

Mathilde Cotillon: It’s pretty uncertain right now and I think it will always be uncertain. I like new projects and new things in general. I imagine myself at some point in my life working as a freelance editor in publishing and illustration, part also times at animation projects in studios working as a background artist. ...2020 wasn't easy. The context wasn’t in recruitment, so I wondered a lot about my future and I took the opportunity to develop personal projects. There is this girls project, album project, which is very close to my heart and if I can, I would like to write several after. But, I'm also searching through my brand of notebook stationery from small notebooks to carefully illustrated girls. That too is a project that is close to my heart. So, right now I am developing all of this and then I'm hoping to find a job in hand drawn animations studios.

Evan Vernon: Those all sound like worthy ambitions and we wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, Mathilde. Thank you so much for your time today. For all those tuning in, if you‘d like to watch Quoi qu'il arrive, it's going to be part of ANNY’s screening event on Sunday, July 25th, It will be available from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time. You’ve got one day only to watch this so be sure to stay tuned. It's a beautiful film Mathilde, again, really appreciate your time. All the best to you in the future. Thank you so much.