February 4, 2023


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Oscar: ‘My Year of Dicks’ Creator on Teen Sexual Awakening Short Film

5 min read

About five minutes into the presentation of nominees for the 95th Academy Awards, Riz Ahmed announced the category for animated short film. When he read the fourth nominee, its title was so unexpected — “My Year of Dicks” — that Ahmed and co-presenter Alison Williams had to pause their presentation as the audience at the Academy’s headquarters in Beverly Hills worked through their laughter.

Elsewhere in Los Angeles, Pamela Ribbon, creator and writer of the film — on which her memoir “Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Won’t Share in Public)” is based — was celebrating the nomination with her mother, husband and child. By then, “My Year of Dicks” had played several film festivals, including its premiere at SXSW, and Ribbon had grown to enjoy the effect his film title had on unsuspecting audiences.

“I enjoy this collection of people I laud as ‘My Year of Dicks,'” says Ribon diversity. “It was a special treat, for sure.”

“My Year of Dicks” chronicles a 15-year-old Texas girl’s peripatetic journey to lose her virginity in 1991, through the prism of five men — in both senses of the word “dicks” in the title — who make the experience full of deeply awkward teenage anguish. Ribon, a writer who has worked in animation (“Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “Moana”) and live-action (“Samantha Who?”), teamed up with Icelandic filmmaker Sara Gunnarsdóttir (“The Diary of a Teenage Girl”). Worked in animation for his somewhat fictional experience. Originally on Zoom, Gunnarsdóttir and Ribbon shot live actors performing the script as reference for the animators, who then loosely rotoscoped their artwork, creating an imaginative, kaleidoscopic view of a teenage girl’s inner life.

Originally, the 25-minute short was meant to be part of FXX’s animation anthology series “Cake,” but the network allowed Gunnarsdóttir and Ribbon to take it to the film festival instead. “My Year of Dicks” has been available for viewing on Vimeo for the past three weeks, and by the time Ahmed announced his nomination, the film had already garnered more than 14,000 views — a fact that had Ribbon still spinning when he spoke to him. diversity.

“It really feels like some younger version of me is sitting here for all of this,” he said. “I wrote something here when I was 15 years old! Isn’t that crazy?!”

My Year of Dicks

First of all, congratulations! how do you feel

Thank you. It must be like Christmas morning. You know what I mean? Where you’re just like, “Santa’s here!”

Did you watch the nominations live?

Of course, yes, I did too. My mother used to watch them with me. My cousin zooms in. My sister was on the phone, and my baby was next to me. My husband was by my side. It was a real family affair, which made it even more special. Being all over Iceland we are also in different time zones. So he had to wait all day. I was just awake. It was hard for him, I think.

How did it go from being a project for FXX and its “cake” show to its own thing?

They were very supportive of us taking it to a festival from the start. I don’t think this is a story you see very often, especially in adult animation. I think animation is not a genre, it’s a tool. It can be inviting to people who might have thought adult animation wasn’t made for them. This includes fantastic. It’s a long answer to say that they’ve been very supportive of seeing where it could go from the start and they believed in it.

This film is based on your memoirs. How close was Pam’s experience of it with your own?

Well, I would say that this is my high school footage. My house was like that. My cousin plays my dad, because he’s the spitting image. My friends that I’ve come to comedy in Austin are a lot of adults and playing some dicks. It’s 30 years in the making. There is much in it that is real. It is emotionally very close to the truth.

There is a scene where Pam has a terrible conversation with her father about sex. Was it something drawn from life?

yes I shortened it for the film. But yes, it is quite accurate. I know where I was sitting on my skateboard when it happened. You don’t forget something like that easily. My father wrote it in a short story [for] He was doing a night class when I was in high school. She said the teacher said, “It was supposed to be nonfiction.” And he said, “No, no, it happened. I told my daughter that recently.” Someone in the classroom said, “Can I please be the first to volunteer for your daughter’s therapy someday?”

So I felt it was open season on the story, if he could share it with peers. When I was first doing comedy I did a little bit of it in a one-man show in Austin. What was interesting about the Sex Talk story was that over the years it changed from a story where people were laughing at me to feeling with me. I felt that the audience had shifted 20 years of comedy, not having to be the butt of a joke, to tell what happened to you, or to share all the trauma for it to be valid.

I’m just—yeah, I can’t—I’m still very new to the overwhelmingness of it, you see!

I was going to say, because of this nomination, now a lot more people are going to see this film and know that story.

Yes, my mother likes to point out to me that this is a complete work of fiction. He doesn’t want any of it to be true – from start to finish. But he’s very proud of getting the whole story where it is. He came to see the nomination papers this morning, it’s really special. If my father were alive, he would be quite jealous right now. And he must have some notes.

Two films you worked on in feature animation were nominated for Oscars: “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and “Moana.” Did you go to that movie?

No, it will be my first time. Another time I even came close to seeing Oprah do an interview the next day, the first time she was at Kodak. I don’t even remember who won that year, because I was just looking at Oprah the whole time. This is equally exciting! I’m Oprah next door again. It’s all I ever do it for.

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