A student final year film project. Motion-captured short animation rendered in Unreal Engine 5. A train stowaway, that suffers from a dissociative disorder, must deliver a parcel to Berlin while avoiding a group of pursuers, the danger of death and her past mistakes. Mourning Cloak - Synopsis A lone, hooded woman is spray painting on a moving, levitating freight train in the rural Polish countryside. The painter is inked with a black butterfly on her cheek. her graffiti is signed: ‘Jade Amber’. Jade searches through her bag for a camera but when doing so, a photograph slips out of her notebook onto the floor. She examines it. It's of a young couple who have matching butterfly tattoos. They look in love. It triggers a dissociative episode, she approaches the opening of the carriage for air. An out-of-body experience is triggered and she loses control. The train hopper takes a step forward, disconnected from her own body. She hears whispers of past memories, “I miss you”. This grounds her back into reality. She plants herself on the edge of the carriage, recollecting herself. Time passes. Three masked individuals on hoverboards are shown riding alongside the train on hoverboards. The three individuals are part of a militia group searching for a parcel heading to Berlin. The parcel is shown near Jade’s backpack, she is the courier delivering the package. Jade, still inside the carriage, hears footsteps above her. She closes herself into the boxcar. The leader of the masked individuals: Prince, spots Jade beneath them and orders the female of the group, Naomi, to “stop the train”. The other two, Prince and Lie, intrude into the carriage to find Jade frantically collecting the parcel. Prince threatens to “throw [her] off” the train if she doesn't surrender the package. Jade refuses, retaliates and initialises a fistfight with the two men. The brawl ends with her knocking out Lie and clambering the outside of the train while evading Prince shooting his last few bullets at her. Prince pursues Jade on top of the moving train. Jade fails a landing crashing onto the carriage’s roof and dropping the parcel. Prince catches up, drags Jade by the neck and chokes her over the edge of the train. The near-death experience triggers Jade to dissociate. Just in time, the train comes to a sudden stop, jolting the two characters backwards and opening Prince up to an attack from Jade that indisposed him from the fight. The train stopped above a suspended train, high above a large ravine. Jade spots the last of the three individuals. She runs to pick up the parcel and charges them. Naomi slickly steals the parcel from Jade and initiates a fight between the two which ends with Jade punching Naomi’s mask off. Jade identifies her rival's face and then calls Naomi by her name. They share the same butterfly face tattoo, she is the girl from the photo. Jade begs Naomi to talk to her team to allow them more time together. Jade tries to rekindle their friendship but to no avail. Jade is disconnected on an emotional level from Naomi, as she is dissociated from her own life. Naomi is still pained by Jade's inability to have connected with her. Naomi refuses Jade’s offers to reconcile and gives her an opening to escape. Jade accepts this offer and hopefully implies she will “see her in a bit”. Jade jumps off the train into the river below. Naomi rushes to assure herself Jade survives. She does not see her. The rest of the team arrives to learn the woman escaped. Naomi reassures her team they “have the communicator” and with the team, content with this outcome, they plan to return to their home base, “Paris”. Naomi stays gazing longingly at the water where jade landed. She finally sees her ex rise to the water’s surface. Naomi stays staring for a lingering moment, before sequentially, turning her back on her.
Mourning Cloak was mine and most of the team's final year university project. However, a lot of work and heart went into the project long before and long after we submitted it for grading. We were lucky enough to have other students of other disciplines lend a hand in key aspects of the film along with an amazing soundtrack provided by Reaper In Sicily. So much time, effort and love went into this project over its one-year production life. I wish that the passion we poured in comes through with every frame.