Why did you make Jung & Restless?
My goal was to make a film that generates a feeling of mystery and wonder using symbols and images from my dreams. I started experimenting when was working with a senior Jungian analyst and stopped dreaming. The analyst called this “deus absconditus” or the hidden god. I began doing “subconscious” animation experiments, working straight ahead with no planning, no storyboards and no questioning the imagery. I tried to banish all thoughts like “What is this about?” or “Where is this going?” or “What should I do next?” Instead of dreams, I shared these experiments with the analyst and was completely stunned by her interpretations. Inspired by my growing understanding of the symbolism of the dream images, I decided to see if I could make a film from the material and added mandalas, images from saved dream notes and Jungian symbols.
What does the title mean?
The title references a popular soap opera, The Young and the Restless, that has been on US television since 1980 and has run for over 11,000 episodes. In English, “Jung” sounds very similar to “young” so it creates a nice pun. The title sequence was animated by Brian Kinkley, my wonderful compositing and effects designer.
How did you work with the composer and sound designer?
Composer Seth Norman and I have worked on five other films together and I absolutely love his work. He always does the score after the animation is completed. We had only one phone call and an email exchange where we discussed Jung & Restless. Two months later I received the first (and final) music from Seth. I was shocked that it was an orchestral score and I thought it did not work at all.
As I continued to listen, I came to the amazing transition in the middle of the film, where the music goes in a completely different direction. A lightbulb went off and I thought: “This is genius!”. I love how it relates to Jung’s duality principle. Seth said he had always wanted to compose an orchestral score and his first one is amazing.
Sound designer Chris Barber doing frequency carving on Jung & Restless in 2019.
Working with Chris Barber on the sound effects and mix was my favorite part of making Jung & Restless. Chris does not use a commercial sound library and makes nearly all of the sound effects himself. He is extraordinarily inventive and playful. About one effect, Chris says: “first I recorded rush-hour traffic with a heavy truck driving by. Then I picked out the descending frequencies from the clip. I love messing around with frequency carving and like to set patterns across the clips to create weird and strange sounds.”
Why should I watch this film?
Jung & Restless is a immersive film with dream images that are strangely provocative. Bring a little mystery and beauty into your life, maybe it will inspire you to explore your own dreams and symbols. Plus, it’s relaxing!
Was it made for a specific age group?
Jung & Restless is colorful, amusing and has no dialog, so all ages of people like it. Because it is about symbols, each viewer has their own interpretation of the meaning of the film.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Marcel Jean, the Artistic Director of the Annecy International Animation Festival said that “Jung & Restless is beautiful and spectacular. The synchrony between the animation and the music and soundtrack is fabulous.”
What are you working on now?
I am working on an animated film about the plant world and spending as much time as possible in the woods. I am also a medicinal herbalist, which has turned out to be a very useful hobby.
“Imaginative, playful and whimsical, Priestley’s work radiates a sense of wonder and delight about the art of animation.
-Maral Mohammadian, Cartoons: the International Journal of Animation.