Refuge is a story about a child who runs off into a forest pursuing escape from a fear they are expected to confront. This animation will provide a window into the emotional struggle that someone experiences when faced with the choice between complete avoidance and direct confrontation with the thing they fear most. The story will follow the child’s attempts to adapt to new circumstances as they make their way down the path of avoidance and escape. The child learns about what inevitably befalls people who run from their fears with help from a little girl he meets in the woods who represents a content and carefree form of escapism.
The film is digitally hand drawn and composited with watercolor style backgrounds. The overall tone of the film is reminiscent of old folk tales and Grimms fairy tales. The colors are generally earthy and evolve over the course of the film ranging in temperature to reflect the emotional state of the main character. All the elements in the film are treated poetically and metaphorically in the fashion of epic ancient tales.
The story appeals to me because it addresses one of the main issues faced in the well known “coming of age” story trope. Escapism has always been a difficult struggle for me personally and I grapple with it repeatedly. The goal of the film is to take a simple concept like confronting fear and presenting a story that oozes with the experience of that struggle from every crevice. I hope that viewers will walk away with new perspectives and new found motivation to confront that difficult challenge.