Three questions to… Maurice Joyce, director of Violet


Violet by Maurice Joyce is the dark, cautionary tale of a young girl who despises her reflection. Violet, narrated by the beautiful voice of Aidan Gillen, is also the animated winning short film of Irish Film Festa 2016. Here’s our interview with Maurice. Congratulations!


Violet‘s synopsys describes the story as a «dark, cautionary tale»: how did screenwriter Mark Hodkinson develop the script?

Mark was interested in doing something with the theme of low self-esteem and how destructive we can be towards ourselves. It’s a theme that strikes a chord with most of us and is often at its worst when you’re a young teen (like Violet). The story is basically about not standing in your own way – there are enough bullies out there without us bullying ourselves!

So there’s a very contemporary message in the story but Mark wanted to give it the feel of a classic old, cautionary fairytale. So writing the script as a poem for a single narrator helped give it that kind of atmosphere – sort of like an adult reading a scary story to a child.


Reflections play a big part in Violet’s story, as well as symmetry, textures and visual patterns are used in the character design and the composition of backgrouds. How did you work on the visual aspect of the story?

As you say, reflections do play a big part in Violet’s story and I wanted to put that into every aspect of the film. So the backgrounds and compositions are (almost) all symmetrical and from a one point perspective. The idea of reflections is also present in the music and a subtle, slightly disjointed reversal of the musical theme can be heard when Violet’s reflection appears on screen.
There are even some things you may not notice on first viewing, like when Violet’s reflection takes her place in the real world she doesn’t have her own reflection. Dancing around the ballroom, all the children are reflecting on the polished floor except for her. I really got into it!


Why did you choose Aidan Gillen as the Narrator?

Watching Game Of Thrones we thought his voice would be great for narrating Violet – it sounds wise but with a dark edge. But we were very lucky because we know Aidan a little and are good friends with his brother. So getting the script to him wasn’t difficult. He liked it and said he’d be happy to do it for us. Not only that but he very kindly insisted on doing it for free (which was just as well – we only had a tiny budget!). In the end he was paid in whatever he wanted during the recording. So how much does it cost to get Aidan Gillen to narrate your short film? Two bananas and a bottle of water.