Dir: Let Me Feel Your Finger First

3 mins 36 secs, Digital Betacam, stereo


Francis: Will Eaton

Narrator: Gary Mackay

Producer: Animate Projects

Additional Animation: Elroy Simmons

Camera: David Raedeker

Sound Design: Byron Blake

Editor: Todd Downing

An Animate Projects commission for Channel 4 in association with Arts Council England

FRANCIS is an account of the creation of a 9-year old ‘defective’ animated character. As the draughtsman’s hand goes to work and Francis attains animated consciousness, his behaviour is observed and assessed by a child psychologist. The boy’s responses – initially slow and apparently flawed – develop in unusual comic directions as the examination progresses. As his vocalisations begin to address the nature of his animated world and the psychologist continues to try and interpret his actions, it appears that Francis may ‘break out’ once and for all and become a ‘real’ animated character.

In an animated world populated by impressionable idiot figures, mischief-makers and oddballs with strange vocal mannerisms, FRANCIS puts the cute but ‘simple’ cartoon character into therapy for a case study of ‘animated behaviour.’

FRANCIS was broadcast on Animate TV on Channel 4 Television (UK) 2007. It was shortlisted for the Jerwood Moving Image Awards, 2008. The film screened at numerous festivals including Encounters Short Film Festival; London Short Film Festival; Aurora; BilBOlbul International Comic Festival, Bologna; London International Animation Festival; Abandon Normal Devices; Cream Festival Yokohama, Japan; Shoot Me! Holland; Festival Internacional de Arte em Mídias Móveis em Salvador, Brazil and Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival, South Korea.

In January 2008, Francis was refused entry to Disneyland, California.

FRANCIS is featured in Drawing for Animation by Paul Wells & Joanna Quinn.

Distribution Lux

Distribution Light Cone

Francis by Esther Leslie

“Highly original and imaginative… a compelling account of the creation of a nine year-old disturbed animated character”

Jerwood Moving Image Awards Press Release

“FRANCIS is a challenging film because of its juxtaposed image of the dysfunctional boy and the psychobabble rhetoric that seeks to define, manage and control him… LMFYFF has embraced drawing not merely as a tool of expression but as a set of codes that fix certain things and require challenge.

Drawing for Animation Paul Wells

“As we, the cartoon fans, might note gleefully, animation, an art of involuntary movement, has used behavioural disturbance, a subjection to involuntary movement, to win out over psychology, a technique of involuntary assessment and treatment.”

Francis Esther Leslie