The Global Search for Education: Betterave & The Dragon: Exploring Loss, Hope, and Animation with Director Orane Delongeas

C. M. Rubin
4 min readAug 11, 2023

This month, audiences can screen Betterave & The Dragon on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.

Betterave & the Dragon, an animated short film by Orane Delongeas, takes viewers on a captivating journey of loss, grief, and acceptance. A young teenage girl ventures into the unknown, offering a precious item to the legendary dragon in exchange for the return of a deceased pet. With unique animation, a heartfelt storyline, and a mesmerizing conclusion, this film delivers an enchanting experience that explores the power of letting go.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Director Orane Delongeas.

Orane, what was the inspiration behind the unique storyline of Betterave & the Dragon? Can you share any personal experiences or influences that contributed to the creation of this heartfelt narrative?

In Betterave & the Dragon, I wanted to show a young character confronting the inevitability of changing times. She is at a point in her life where it is the end of an era that she doesn’t want to leave. It is a sentiment I’ve often had moving through adolescence and adulthood, and I think many people can relate to this feeling. I also got a lot of inspiration for my film from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker and The Extraordinary Voyage of Marona, and more generally from various documentaries and European fairy tales and legends.

What feedback or reactions from viewers have stood out to you the most? How do you hope the film will resonate with audiences?

The reactions were primarily regarding the visuals of my film. It is made traditionally, which is not the technique that most authors turn to these days, so it stands out because of this. The other thing that leaves a strong impression is the revelation of why Betterave goes through her journey, and when the true meaning behind the film is revealed. I like to use strong visual elements to support stories with a clear theme. I am happy that my film is remembered both for its illustrations and its narration.

Betterave & the Dragon touches on themes of loss, grief, and letting go. What messages or emotions were you hoping to evoke in the audience through the story? And how did you navigate balancing the emotional depth with the animated format?

In my film, Betterave is stuck in a situation she cannot go against, no matter how much she wants to. Still, the story is full of hope. It is the end of one thing but also the start of something else. She doesn’t get what she wants, but what she needs. In the end, she has to work with her situation, not against it. I didn’t want to minimize the significance of what Betterave goes through, but instead show her accepting it and finding relief.

I wanted to make an animated film aimed at children that still dealt with something serious. I kept the narrative fantastic, the designs simple, and the visuals colorful and dynamic to suit the audience and lighten the gravity of the subject. The story starts light-heartedly, on the premises of a valiant quest, and progressively becomes deeper in its meaning so that younger viewers could adapt smoothly to the change in message.

The animation in Betterave & the Dragon is unique. Can you elaborate on the artistic choices made and the techniques used to bring the story to life? How did you approach creating the visual style of your film?

Betterave & the Dragon is made traditionally, which means it was drawn on paper frame by frame. This takes more time and energy than drawing digitally, but this technique has a certain grain and rendition that I believe is charming. The backgrounds are created using soft pastels, and the animation is made with colored pencils. The visuals are a tool to further the themes explored in the film, and through their vibrancy and sensitivity, the techniques used deepen the feeling of wonder and magic that I wanted to create.

Thank you Orane!

C. M. Rubin and Orane Delongeas

Don’t miss Betterave & The Dragon, now streaming on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for the Planet Classroom Network by KIDS FIRST! Film Festival.