In May 2015, Chocolate Films teamed up with The Enheduanna Society to run a project with a variety of opportunities to hear, interpret, explore, renew and pass on to others the 3000 year old Gilgamesh epic. The epic of Gilgamesh is a narrative poem from ancient Mesopotamia and is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. The participants of the project took part in many activities, including story-listening, story-telling, learning to write cuneiform signs, and creating pictures, poems, animations and videos of the people, places and episodes in the Gilgamesh epic.
As well as documenting the main events throughout the year long project, Chocolate Films also provided monthly animation workshops where the participants would have the opportunity to bring the story of Gilgamesh to life from start to finish, through the medium of animation. We split the story into 22 parts and the group animated each part over the course of 8 sessions using beautiful cardboard cut-out style animation. The animations are all now online and can be viewed here.
The project culminated with a screening of a documentary that we made, showing all the highlights from the last year of activities. All the participants were presented with certificates to acknowledge their amazing work and involvement in the project. Everyone was delighted to have come away with experience in storytelling and animating as well as having made new friends throughout the course of the year. In honour of the story’s roots in ancient Iraq, the screening finished with a celebratory feast with lots of traditional Iraqi food. It’s been a huge pleasure to be part of such a long-term project, dedicated to develop both a shared appreciation of Mesopotamian literature and a deeper understanding into the art of storytelling.