Leila Mullison

In 2020, I studied at the University of the Arts London. I specialize in stop-motion animation, a meticulous medium that demands control. In the time before my course, I wanted to find a way to practice my craft without shuttering myself away. My solution was Edison, a lightbulb-headed tourist puppet who explored the city with me. I captured clips of Edison everywhere from Stonehenge to a ferry on the Thames. At first, I worried that an uncontrollable environment would add too much chaos, but I found the movement of clouds and pedestrians added charm to scenes. I captured 25 unique clips with Edison. Scouting for shots led me out of my comfort zone; shooting them helped me let go of control. The COVID-19 pandemic sent me home mid-March, and the first lockdown followed soon after. Once again, I lacked control and feared locking myself away. It was my experience abroad that let me enact a plan: I built Filament, Edison’s homebody brother, who would do lockdown activities with me. I animated Fil daily for 67 days. The short film I made from the clips won awards, inspired a series on a University of Michigan blog, and brought comfort to others stuck at home.