Animovies 2013

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LIGHT-TIME VIEWING Animators, and light waves, are made visible by the effect they have on some object. We observe light as it shines on a ball, and we are made aware of the presence of an animator when that ball moves magically around the screen (It doesn’t have to be a ball, it could be a bagel, say, or maybe even a plastic soldier). The films selected for the Animovies program employ different animation forms and approaches: stop-motion, hand-drawn, cut-out and live-action. “Light” is this year’s theme. Light is of course an integral element in the making and presentation of any film, but it could also refer more generally to the illumination of ideas and enlightenment of audiences. In stop-motion animation, the frame-based filming process is incredibly timeconsuming, as is the creation, in advance, of puppets and sets. Sleight of Hand is technically amazing. Frame-by-frame, the camera, the ‘actors’, the set and the lighting is incrementally repositioned by hand. The subtlety of motion that is achieved in El Delerio del pez Leòn is stunning. A kingfish gently caresses his golden seashell, and the fluid movement of fabric brilliantly brings the underwater set to life. In other films, objects or settings are removed from their normal contexts. Choreography for Plastic Army Men transforms a legion of toy soldiers into a chorus-line. Their rigid plastic postures are completely de-militarized by the incongruous music track. An office workspace is the setting for Distraction of a Stationary Nature, where procrastination and imagination turn the desktop and its stationery supplies into one of nature’s ecosystems, with white-out snails, paperclip bees and a sticky-note ocean. Keep an eye out for the tiny elephants in the bushes and the butler wearing a burglar’s mask in the incredibly detailed sets and characters of Hinterland. Like voyeurs outside a multi-room multilevel house or apartment, we try to follow the activity unfolding in Neighbors, an entirely improvised set of films presented in a split-screen format that is so visually stimulating it’s hard to focus on any one element. With hand-drawn animation, each frame or cell is a slightly adjusted but distinct image, which, when put in sequence, creates time and motion. Most visual artists can make adequate drawings of figures and structures, but animators take it further, replicating and modifying these images according to different angles and settings, perspectives and scale. Any kind of mark making and colouring tools and techniques can be used to achieve various graphic, textural, tonal options and styles, which in turn, serve to make mood, expression and meaning. The drawing of the main characters in Me, My Wife

and Our Cow is breathtakingly beautiful in its detail: the old woman’s hair and old man’s beard are especially captivating. And, just under the surface of this imagery, are messages and contemplations, as there is in all of these films. The personal journey of identity and place in Jamón unfolds against silkscreened backgrounds. Fantastical pastel drawings on sandpaper in Double Fikret transport us to a surreal world. Cut-out animation is used to create a rich visual collage in Under Cold Bright Stars where drawings and cuttings, critique and expression are superimposed on archival photos. In the sole live-action animated piece, Elvis: The Lonely Hunter of Circle Beach, the narrator’s voice is used to animate its primary subject/object, the bagel. Elegant simplicity and commentary in this post-apocalyptic Hinterland Who’s Who. In these program notes we describe forms and process. Our program selections stand to illustrate and illuminate our thoughts and criteria. You’ll get a glimpse of the light—energy and innovation—of the unseen animator at work in between the frames. Sit back and enjoy some Light-Time Viewing. - Lyle Pisio, Animovies Programmer

Lyle Pisio is a Calgary based artist, musician and animator. A founding member of the free-improvisational bands ‘Street of Crocodiles’ and ‘tokyosexwhale’, Lyle has been making films and animation since 2000. They include The Unholy (2004), Another Lost Soul (2006), Visages (2008), The Empress (2009), and Wrecking Ball (2010). His films have been screened worldwide in over 100 festivals and have received awards for animation, music, and artistic design.

Photo credit: Sean Dennie

SCREENING PROGRAM Sleight of Hand Michael Cusack (Australia) Stop-motion, 10:00 min. A set of techniques used by someone to manipulate objects secretly to deceive. This is a stop-motion film about illusions. A Man yearns to know his place in the world and how he fits in, when sometimes it’s better not to know.

Jamón Iria Lopez (Spain) Hand-drawn, 6:40 min. José is a teenage pig living in a Spanish town, and he is the only pig in his family. One day a new neighbour moves in next door, and José starts to come to terms with who he really is.

Under Cold Bright Stars Jeremy Rourke (USA) Cut-outs/drawing on photos, 3:10 min. Under Cold Bright Stars is an animated video made for a song of the same title. The musician is also the animator. The film uses archival imagery, paint, light, photographs and time to create a world for the song. The lyrical words materialize and evaporate, the sun rises, the moon sets, we go into the woods, go deeper into them, come out of them, go into a stone house and see the faces of folks eighty years in the past. Birds,

violins, backyards, rain, redwoods, alleys, and strangers all come together for a few minutes. The imagery is suggested by the lyrics, but is free to move on its own two feet. The artist recorded the song in 2009 and now, three years later, the moving imagery has been placed by its side.

Distraction of a Stationary Nature Shyra De Souza (Calgary) Stop-motion, 9:37 min. The protagonist in this short animated film is caught in a constructed environment built on spectacle and convenience. A colourful world of simulation emerges, and promises to pass the time, but things take a dark turn. Simple tasks become impossible.

El Delerio Del Pez Le贸n Quique Rivera (Puerto Rico) Stop-motion, 3:54 min. Inspired by the Lionfish invasion, this underwater neo-noir tells a story about greed and hierarchy in the Caribbean reefs.

Me, My Wife and Our Cow Azadeh Moezzi (Iran) Hand-drawn, 7:10 min. A patient old woman, an old man in love, and their cow, this is the story of how far a lover will go to heal his beloved.

Hinterland Linda McCarthy (UK) Stop-motion, 2:00 min. The pile of plastic bottles is building up at Small Birds Singing, and there are so many of them lying around it’s starting to interfere with the croquet.

Neighbors Frederic Chagnard (France) Stop-motion, 7:08 min. Between 2008 and 2011, Frederic Chagnard and Agnès Hardy worked on a series of twelve homemade short animations called Boxes. Hardy made the puppets and gave her own voice to some of them, while Chagnard animated, filmed and edited them, and they created their soundtracks together. Each one of these boxes contains one or two characters locked in a wooden box, inspired by the theatre of the absurd. Neighbors gathered nine of these twelve boxes, like a fresh section of a building, where each occupant, sometimes senselessly hysterical, or sometimes quiet or busy, lives his own loneliness.

Choreography For Plastic Army Men David Fain (USA) Stop-motion, 4:47 min. A stop-motion animated piece starring a variety of plastic army men strutting their stuff to the instrumental track, Ohayoo Ohio, by the band Pink Martini.

Double Fikret Haiyang Wang (China) Hand-drawn, 3:27 min. This animation was drawn using pastels and erasers over 1200 times on two pieces of sandpaper, each only 110 cm long and 110 cm wide.

Elvis: The Lonely Hunter Of Circle Beach by Matt Hulse (USA) Live-action puppets, 4:50 min. Circle Beach: a God-forsaken corner off the coast of the once-great city of New York. Only the toughest can survive an environment this unforgiving.

EMMEDIA is pleased to support Animovies 2013 and the Calgary International Festival of Animated Objects through the EMMEDIA Homegrown Curatorial Program. Special thanks to Grant Poier and Xstine Cook for their mentorship.


ABOUT EMMEDIA: EMMEDIA is a Calgary-based organization that promotes and advances video, audio, and time-based media arts production. We work within the artistic, social and cultural community to provide video and audio production, and post-production facilities. The centre also maintains a public exhibition program year-round, and offer an array of workshops, residencies, commissions and access programs in the media arts. EMMEDIA has been a voice and a venue for the media arts in Alberta since 1979. For more information, please visit us at

ABOUT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF ANIMATED OBJECTS: A celebration of masks, puppets and all things animated. The festival is built on a bit of primordial magic, the ability for humans to believe something inanimate lives. Calgary Animated Objects Society, or CAOS, is the producer of the Festival and has been ruffling feathers since 2003, creating original art like The Device to Root Out Stink, a giant flame-throwing dead chicken, Spirit of the Bluebird, an award-winning spray-paint animation, and Spirit of White Buffalo, a giant bison puppet built in Jail. Check out CAOS in the House, a media art residency for all ages at


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