The Basement (2023)

The Basement (2023), is a story exploring the mysteries and secrets kept within the home. The short film follows a young woman who obsesses over the appearance of her home and body, as she works tirelessly to keep things looking “perfect”. The storyline takes a turn when she discovers odd and grotesque happenings underneath the floorboards of her pristine home, in the depths of her basement. This film mirrors the body and the home as places we can hold our deepest fears and anxieties – but we cannot keep them bottled up in the dark forever. When we expose these parts of ourselves, as “imperfect” as they may seem, we can learn that we are not alone; in fact embracing and accepting these parts of ourselves may be the key to healing. We can start to challenge the societal concept of perfection, and nurture our true being.  Through this work, I focus on expressing the horrors of my own mental health struggles, and my personal experience recovering from an eating disorder and body dysmorphia. I use art making as a way to heal and shed light on these experiences. My process involves reflecting on my evolving relationship with my body, and connecting my experiences with issues of unhealthy societal body ideals.

Thank you Canada Council for the Arts for your support in the making of this film!! @canada.council

Writer, Director, Animator, Puppet, Prop, Set Fabricator: Me @catherinehois

Photographer, Technical Director, Colour and Sound Mastering: @ratul_debnath

Music Composer: Christopher Campbell @scarmadaofficial

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts

The Basement (2023) Clip

Still from The Basement 2023

Still from The Basement 2023

Film Freeway Account

Heart House (2022)

Heart House (2022) is a stop motion animation short film that plays on a tube TV, as part of a dated living room set in the exhibition Disruptive Body. The older furniture is purposefully chosen to allow the viewer to enter into their own compartment of memory; perhaps remember their own childhood home. This ensures that the viewer is further immersed into the atmosphere. Heart House plays on a  loop; viewers are welcomed to sit in the armchair across from the tube TV and watch, as if they are in a domestic space. The film is about main character Isabelle, who finds a fleshy creature behind her couch. It screeches and groans with hunger, and Isabelle feeds the creature to calm it. Every time Isabelle feeds the creature it grows, until it eventually takes over her home. In the ending scene, Isabelle has defeated the muck by directing her energy towards something she loves: painting. As she dips her brush into the paint water, it appears that the creature is now in the cup. 

This story is metaphoric to the cycle of an eating disorder. In my experience, the more I fed into the cycle of extreme body management and diet culture, the more it took over my life. It became my temporary way of coping with anxiety, and it seemed there was no way I could escape this cycle. When I decided I wanted to recover I began practicing directing my obsessive energy towards creating art, rather than my body. This was very helpful for me, and I express this when Isabelle is painting in the end scene. Although Isabelle is free from the creature, there seems to be parts of it that cling onto her. Healing is not linear, in fact I still have moments of struggle. It is a part of recovery to experience these struggles from time to time, and it is important to continue trying to heal.

Writer, Director, Producer, Puppet, Prop, and Set, Fabricator, and Animator: Catherine Hois

Photographer, Technical Director: Ratul Debnath

Heart House Trailer