Girls Night Out won three awards at Annecy ‘87. Joanna Quinn tells the story behind the film.
Girls Night Out took approximately three years to make and was started when I was still a student at Middlesex Polytechnic. When I left the college the film existed as a simple line test with a rough soundtrack. I didn’t have much more to do on the film, but because of the pressures of earning a living, finishing the film became a real problem. The film was eventually completed early in 1987, two years after I’d left college. During this period my drawing style had changed so much that I virtually redrew the entire film before it was finally completed. Similarly, dissatisfaction with the original soundtrack led to me rerecording and dubbing at least twice before I was completely satisfied with it. Channel 4 and S4C (the Welsh speaking television station), both paid for the final dub and the film now exists in both English and Welsh.
The idea for Girls Night Out came from a strip’ cartoon that I drew about four women going to a Hen Night in a seedy club. I decided it would be a great challenge to animate so I started to collect reference straight away. First stop was a hen night at the Rock, a pub in the Elephant and Castle. I went armed with a tape recorder, sketch book, camera and a car load of women friends. That night we saw two drag queens and three strippers, who were all great performers, but not half as entertaining as the women in the audience. It was wonderful to see women of all ages, sitting together, being totally uninhibited about whatever they said or did. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much in my life and it was this humour of the women that I wanted to recreate in my animation. The stripper I drew in the film was more or less like one of the strippers who performed that night – except that the real stripper had two plastic cut-out hands stuck to his bum.