PBS Premiere: Aug. 23, 2011Check the broadcast schedule »

Filmmaker Interview

POV: Tell us about your film in your own words.

Flawedfiilmmaker, Andrea Dorfman

Dorfman: Flawed tells two different stories. On the one hand it tells the story of how my partner and I fell in love despite the fact that I had serious issues with his being a plastic surgeon who sometimes does cosmetic surgery (to fix patients' 'flaws'), but it's also about the issues we have with our own self image, the characteristics that we consider to be flaws. At some point these two stories collide and become one. The epiphany I had in making the film was that my issues with my boyfriend's profession were really issues I had with my own flaws. At some point I realized that, in embracing our flaws we celebrate who we are in our entirety and are able to fall in love completely, wholly and honestly.

POV: How did you become an illustrator?

Dorfman: I've always loved to draw. As a kid I was always drawing and painting and in high school I worked on set design, creating backdrops for theater productions. I've always made posters to advertise various events that I've been involved with. Eventually, I went to art school and took a lot of painting and drawing classes but ultimately wanted to tell stories so I was drawn to film and video and when I graduated I became a filmmaker. I actually started out as a cinematographer, helping other filmmakers to tell their stories until the desire to tell my own stories eclipsed my love of creating images and so I started working as a writer director in film and video.

POV: When did you decide to transition into animation?

Dorfman: In the past few years — as I was finding it challenging to fund raise for film projects — I started to teach myself animation as a way to make low budget films that I had complete control over. It was easy for me to create images in this way because of my background in drawing and I loved that I could be a one-woman show, not needing to rely on a big unwieldy crew.

POV: What interests you about animation and documentaries?

Dorfman: The documentary work that I am currently most interested in is autobiographical storytelling and in recreating and interpreting these personal stories, animation is a wonderful way to be able to go absolutely anywhere visually, metaphorically and stylistically. There are no rules and, creatively, as a medium it's utterly expansive. The possibilities are limitless and although this can, at times, be daunting, it's also endlessly fascinating and challenging. I love the inventiveness of animation.

POV: Tell us about the process it took to create this film. How long did it take to make each illustration? What are some of the techniques you used to animate these images?

Dorfman: The technique I used for Flawed was time-lapse animation. I wanted to tell the story through a series of postcards because as my boyfriend and I were getting to know each other we were long distance, sending homemade postcards back and forth to each other. I set a camera up above my work station and shot frame-by-frame images of my hands drawing out the story of our love affair. It was a really simple way of telling the story but, somehow, the form has a poignancy and simplicity that allows the story to unfold in a simple, almost childlike, way.

POV: You tell some very poignant anecdotes in this film, what inspired you to create a film out of some of your personal childhood experiences?

Dorfman: I've always believed that, as a filmmaker, the strongest voice I'll have is by being the most honest I can be and this means drawing from my own life. Even when I am working on fictional stories, I often infuse them with anecdotes and ideas based on my own history. I guess the short answer to this question is that I tell personal childhood experiences because it's what I know.

POV: What can we hope to see next from you?

Dorfman: I'm currently working on a number of different film projects. I've been spending the last couple of months shooting an animation titled Big Mouth about a little girl who tells the truth to a fault but I'm also working on feature films, a PSA for a non-profit organization and I'm making a video for a poem by my friend, the poet, Tanya Davis.