Long legs for Aussie animated short

11 March, 2014 by Don Groves

For a little Australian documentary about stick insects, Jilli Rose’s Sticky is getting a lot of mileage around the world.

The animated short has just won first prize in the Films Under 40 Minutes category of Films of the Forest, an annual international short film contest which is part of the community film screenings at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.


Last Friday Sticky premiered at the annual Cinequest fest in Silicon Valley and it will screen at the Tricky Women Animation Festival in Vienna on Sunday followed by ANIMFEST in Athens. Next month it’s been invited to the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana.

The film is among five shorts that will screen at crowdfunding site Pozible’s new HQ in Collingwood on Wednesday night; all raised funds via Pozible.

An animator for 18 years, Rose decided to make a film about the stick insects from Lord Howe Island because they are strikingly different to others of that species – robust, fast, jet black and huge.

The insects were thought to be extinct until 2001 when scientists discovered a small colony at Ball's Pyramid, the tallest sea stack in the world which rises almost vertically from the sea 25km off Lord Howe Island.

“Sticky tells a wonderfully positive Australian conservation success story, celebrating the persistence of life, the adventure and passion embedded in science, and the little creatures underfoot,” she tells IF.

“I financed the film myself, animated it at night while working on other animation and illustration jobs, and raised $5,670 for my post-production budget through Pozible, the Awesome Foundation and one individual. Melbourne Zoo chipped in to launch the film in their spectacular butterfly house and to help with film festival costs.

“We're in talks with institutions about licencing Sticky to screen at their permanent displays (two zoos and one museum, to date), and we're developing a teacher's resource pack to distribute with the film to libraries and schools worldwide.

“It would be great to team Sticky with a slightly short feature-length documentary and screen it theatrically.”

This is her second short film. Her first, Predator!!!, a tale of two creatures in an ancient forest who pursue each other in an endless cycle of predator and prey, screened at numerous local and international festivals including Clermont-Ferrand’s Click for Flicks strand.

Rose is now seeking development funding for an animated TV series which aims to hook kids, particularly girls, into science. “It's a reaction to our frankly appalling political climate, where science is not being encouraged at all and an expression of my passion for communicating the emotion, adventure and story that science inevitably contains,” she said.