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Moving Image Design

Molly Hellman

Molly Hellman is a materials-led animator based in London whose work is known for its playful style of storytelling. Studying her undergraduate in Illustration with Animation at the Manchester School of Art in 2018, she fell in love with stop-frame animation. After graduation, she worked as a freelance artist in London before returning to her studies to refine and develop her practice at the Royal College of Art. 

She likes to find individual ways of portraying ideas and topics through different processes of animation. Whether that be through drawn animation, stop-frame or collage, she enjoys working with different tactile materials to reach her outcome.  

Molly’s previous animated films have been selected and screened in various independent film festivals such as British Animation Film Festival, Oz Indie Film Festival, Student Animated Short, Sydney's Short Film Festival, and Lift-Off Global Network.   

Show Location: Battersea campus: Studio Building, Ground floor

Throughout my MA studies I have been drawn to using animation as a tool to communicate topics and emotions. As a material-led maker, I like to explore different tactile materials for each project taking time and consideration over what aesthetic would be appropriate for each narrative, story and audience.  

I have chosen to base my project on one of the five senses, smell. Having the unusual condition of being born without a sense of smell, I wanted to explore the quirks of living in an odorless world. I find animation the best way of communicating what I am thinking, experiencing and feeling so I have made a short animated film to show an insight into a world living with congenital anosmia.  

My film gives an insight into the everyday mishaps about living without smell. Keeping to a playful humorous style, I aim to create an understanding and awareness of this little-known condition.

Who Nose - Still
Who Nose - Still
Who Nose - Trailer

“I was maybe five and I could feel the petals on my face. It was a really nice feeling, and I thought that's what they meant. I thought that's what smelling was, to have my face in the flowers or the feeling of flower petals on my face.”   Lori, USA interviewee. 

What would life be like if you lived in an odorless world? People with congenital anosmia like me never get to experience what smell is. I have had many conversations throughout my life about smell, or lack of. My aim was to create understanding, education and humour to open up a conversation about this condition.

I wanted to collect primary and secondary research to gain a deeper and broader understanding of my subject matter. I went about this by seeking out online groups of people with this condition. These led to conversations and interviews where I discovered that many people only realize they have anosmia around the age of 7 to 11 when they reach self-awareness. This developed into my film’s narrative seen through the eyes of a young heroine, experiencing the quirks and mishaps of living in an odorless world. I intentionally used the medium of stop motion animation and felt needling as a tool to communicate these stories.  

My animation practice is research and social issue-focused, using interviews and experiences from other people’s stories which informs my story’s narrative. I like to infuse these stories and topics with humour and kindness to make them more digestible. My style of animation softens these narratives and allows them to retain the impact that I want the stories to have.  


Stop Motion


Lori - Boston, USA