With a love story that uses food as a metaphor, a Surrey-based animator’s short film is featured in this year’s Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF).
“Macaroni Soup” was cooked up in 2021 by Alayna Y., a Guildford-area artist who created the six-minute short as a grad project while studying at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver.
Mixing romance, drama and comedy, the story follows a young woman who falls in love with a waitress in a Hong Kong-style café, where a language gap causes confusion and threatens to divide the two.
Voiced in both English and Cantonese, with English subtitles, “Macaroni Soup” will be screened during the festival’s “The Coast is Queer” night, Aug. 15 at Beaumont Studios in Vancouver, and also virtually. Event details are posted to queerfilmfestival.ca.
“It’s nice to have it in a local festival,” said Alayna, who hopes to have a career in animation.
“I have a dream for Surrey that someone opens a Hong Kong-style café one day. I really want that,” she added with a laugh.
A bio posted to filmfreeway.com describes Alayna as a digital artist and animator who specializes in making soup. “That is, she throws (the figurative concept of) people, places and things that make up the world around her into a simmering pot of creations. Whether it be a flavour everyone knows, or a soup only she could enjoy, Alayna will always make the soup she wants.”
Her film is profiled on the website of Emily Carr University of Art + Design, where Alayna was the 2021 recipient of the ECUAA Community Engagement Award.
“I’m of the camp that if you combine a bunch of things that you like, you’ll come out with something that you super-duper like,” the director stated. “I like stories about food, women, and language, so I threw that all together along with some diasporic memories of Hong Kong culture and out came ‘Macaroni Soup.’ The taste might be new, or maybe it’s a flavour only I would like, but no matter — feel free to have a bowl!”
Now in its 25th year at VQFF, The Coast Is Queer series showcases “cute animation, provoking and moody dramas, wonderful comedies, and queerly experimental film.” The festival runs from Aug. 11-21, online and in-person.