As Theo and Celeste play a game of ‘would you still be my friend if’ to test their new friendship, their hypothetical questions become reality, forcing them to confront their deepest fears and strongest yearnings.

On a sunny day with the clearest of skies, new friends Theo and Celeste are playing on a seesaw in a park on the top of a hill. After a while, an idea occurs to Celeste. She covers her mouth, afraid to share it. Theo notices, and the seesaw gradually comes to a stop. Celeste asks: ‘Theo, would you still be my friend if every time I coughed spiders came out of my mouth?’ We see the scenario being played out, where Theo tells a joke and a large black spider crawls out of Celeste’s mouth. Taken aback, Theo finally says ‘yes’, and the see-sawing resumes. Gradually, a new thought occurs to Theo, and he asks: ‘Celeste, would you still be my friend if I had daymares?’

Over the course of the film, these scenarios are played out on screen. Each time Theo and Celeste accept each other in all their grotesquerie, urging them to confess their deepest fears and test the boundaries of their new friendship. The seesaw hurls them higher and higher as these fears begin to manifest in their bodies: animal parts and tangible trauma, spiders and phlegm and terrible faux pas, forcing them to confront their deepest fears and strongest yearnings.

Theo & Celeste is a mixture of stop motion and live action, it was made with a minimal budget on a miniature set with puppets and hand painted backdrops. The live action featured hand painted humans to replicate the visual style and environment that the puppets live in. The film was designed to look like a two dimensional painting in a three dimensional world. The film was selected to be made for TEDx Sydney 2018 as part of the film program featuring shorts based on the theme Humankind.

Theo and Celeste‘ is a fun, colorful and unsuspectingly emotional little film. The mix of styles really made this as surreal as it could be, yet so real on an emotional level, falling quite close to a Michel Gondry-esque film.