Alessia Cecchet Combines Craft With Filmmaking

Sandy Siquier
Sandy Siquier. Images courtesy of Alessia Cecchet

For Alessia Cecchet, an Italian filmmaker who lives in Santa Cruz, CA, the process of creating the objects seen in her films is just as important as the objects themselves. Using found objects and natural fibers, she crafts everything she animates in films that combine live action with stop-motion animation. Her experimental works explore themes of memory, loss and imagination, with an environmentalist subtext.

“Through my films I to interrogate the way we look at animals once the value we see in them—the spectacle of megafauna, the cuteness of cubs and puppies, the commodification of toy pets—is gone,” says Cecchet. She hopes that through her films, viewers will begin to think about the natural world and its inhabitants in a different way.

Two of Cecchet’s films, “Onikuma” (2016) and “il sentire dell’occhio/The Hearing of the Eye” (2017), are currently being shown at festivals internationally, where they have received or been shortlisted for many awards.

 

“Onikuma” (2016) is a short film that follows the journey of two women as they wander in a snowy and unfamiliar environment. During their journey, the explorers face human and animal death. The film borrows its name from the bear from Japanese folklore that is known for chasing horses.

Still image from Onikuma
Still image from “Onikuma” (2016).
Right, Sarineh Garapetian, left: Sandy Siquier.
Still image from “il sentire dell’occhio” (The Hearing of the Eye, 2017)
Still image from “il sentire dell’occhio” (The Hearing of the Eye, 2017)
Still image from “Onikuma” (2016).
Still image from “Onikuma” (2016).

The horse head that appears in the last scene of Onikuma was made entirely from found material, including chicken wire, paper mache, wool, and fur found at a garage sale. It took one year to build.
The horse head that appears in the last scene of Onikuma was made entirely from found material, including chicken wire, paper mache, wool, and fur found at a garage sale. It took one year to build.

Still images from “il sentire dell’occhio” (The Hearing of the Eye, 2017) Created in collaboration with composer Marco Giusto, Il sentire dell’occhio explores how our perceptions of animals changes after they have died, as wonder gives way to horror and, possibly, empathy.
Still images from “il sentire dell’occhio” (The Hearing of the Eye, 2017)
Created in collaboration with composer Marco Giusto, Il sentire dell’occhio explores how our perceptions of animals changes after they have died, as wonder gives way to horror and, possibly, empathy.
Sandy Siquier (left) and Sarineh Garapetian (right)
Sandy Siquier (left) and Sarineh Garapetian (right)
Sandy Siquier (right) and Sarineh Garapetian (left)
Sandy Siquier (right) and Sarineh Garapetian (left)
“Onikuma” was an international production: The director is from Italy, actress Sandy Siquier is from Venezuela, actress Sarineh Garapetian is from Armenia, camera assistant Ash Lu is from China and the rest of the crew is from the US. The actresses had to wear bulky outfits and walk in the snow for multiple long shots as their characters explore the strange landscape.
“Onikuma” was an international production: The director is from Italy, actress Sandy Siquier is from Venezuela, actress Sarineh Garapetian is from Armenia, camera assistant Ash Lu is from China and the rest of the crew is from the US. The actresses had to wear bulky outfits and walk in the snow for multiple long shots as their characters explore the strange landscape.

The selection of “Onikuma” for the 49th Nashville Film Festival marks the 15th official selection for the hybrid short film which will screen in Nashville May 12-13 in the “A Whole Weird World” section.