A Very Lockdown Birthday

We feature a selection of four short films from South Australia — Aquaphobe, The Recordist, System Error and A Very Lockdown Birthday — part of the ‘Made in SA’ program from this 2020’s Adelaide Film Festival – by Vanessa Abbott

A Very Lockdown Birthday | Cinematography by Lucy Gale


A scene from ‘A Very Lockdown Birthday’ – DOP Lucy Gale

Here is a short stop-motion animation film that depicts planning a birthday during the Covid-19 pandemic. In whimsically hand-made style, it shows how the plan evolves from a huge festival, to a big party, to going camping, to further compromises as restrictions increase. Filmmaker Lucy Gale created A Very Lockdown Birthday as a response to a callout from the Helpmann Academy’s Home Alone Film Festival, and the film ended up taking out the main prize in that competition.

The project was assisted by the South Australian Government through a grants program. This enabled Gale to purchase and learn how to use Dragonframe Stopmotion Software and to purchase a Sony 90mm FE Macro G OSS Lens as well as miniatures to compliment her own models and sets.

A Very Lockdown Birthday is both colourful and quirky, as well as being timely. While all the shots are locked off, Gale does play with focus in the first frames of the film. There are also some beautiful lighting effects which the filmmaker found, including one moment where light is bounced off a miniature disco ball within the minute set. Cute!


Lucy Gale is a filmmaker from South Australia.

Vanessa Abbott is a writer based in Melbourne.

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