Frame by Frame: Films by Toronto Animators

Frame by Frame: Films by Toronto Animators

Curated by Patrick Jenkins

Ed Video, June 2000

Toronto animators are by nature a delightfully eclectic bunch who work in a wide variety of mediums and styles from Jonathan Amitay’s meticulous manipulation of sand and gold chains in Oh Dad! To the painstaking artistry of Arnie Lipsey’s classically animated hand-coloured paper sketches in Almonds and Wine, to Elizabeth Lewis’s elegant pencil crayon drawings in her film Villanelle.

Their sensibilities range from the bittersweet sorrow of Bronwen Kyffin’s heart-broken sock puppet in Cecile’s Insomnia to the absurd humour of two imbecilic tough guys in Gerry Lagendyk’s hand-drawn computer-animated film Real Man.

Social concerns emerge time and again in this package from the social satire of Janice Schulman’s The Ultraviolets, which pokes fun of human being’s self-centredness, to Jonathan Amitay’s delightful and thought provoking depiction of a boy’s frustration with his father and the adult world in Oh Dad! To Mike Constable’s concise, biting satires on the “common sense revolution” and the “trickle down economy” in his 3 Shorts. Social protest reaches a fever pitch with Peeter Sepp and Margus Jukkum’s CUTS, a shocking outlash against censorship in all its’ forms while in Iris Paabo’s films political concerns are more poetically expressed. Her film Leaving The Poisons Behind is an elegant meditation on the poisons affecting our environment, and her earlier film Wake Up, Wake Up depicts angels whose paradise is disturbed by pollution and man-made technology.

Due to the explosion in digital computer technology, artists from all disciplines now have the tools to work in animation. Digital technology has also been the inspiration for some intriguing media hybrids, seen most notably in the dramatic pastiche of Jason Brown’s The High King, where a quasi-medieval story (with flying bombers!) is rendered with all the pomp of an Arthurian legend but with cheap special effects that challenge the veracity of the film image. For artists like Jason Brown, animation is only one of a number of tools in a rapidly expanding digital toolbox.

Cut out collage animation, because of its’ relative ease of use and satiric potential, is an animation technique that is widely used by Toronto’s independent animation community and can be found in Kim Thompson’s All the Great Operas (in 10 minutes), a romp through the history of Opera; as well as in Sue Riedl’s Salami Heaven, one woman’s meditation on the role of salami in her life, and in Chris Gehman and Roberto Ariganello’s Contrafacta, an exploration of the imagery of the medieval world.

Puppets, cut-outs, computers!!!… Toronto animators will use anything at hand to make animated films that express whatever concerns them. It is this diversity in both their approaches and preoccupations that I have attempted to highlight in these two packages of animated films from Toronto.

Friday, June 15 9pm

Part 1/Warning: Adult Content

All the Great Operas (in 10 minutes) by Kim Thompson

10 minutes 1992, collage animation

3 Shorts by Mike Constable

1 minute 2000, Hand drawn and computer

Salami Heaven by Sue Riedl

10 minutes 1998, cut-out animation

Real Man by Gerry Lagendyk

2.5 minutes 1998, computer animation

Villanelle by Elizabeth Lewis

4.5 minutes 1988, pencil crayon on paper

The Ultraviolets by Janice Schulman

5 minutes 1995, classical animation

CUTS – a view of censorship by Markus Jukkum and Peeter Sepp

2 minutes 1996, stop motion puppet animation

The High King by Jason Brown

11 minutes 1999, computer animation and live action

Contrafacta by Chris Gehman and Roberto Ariganello

15 minutes 2000, collage animation

Fruitful Sex by Michelle Messina

2.5 minutes 1998, stop motion fruit animation

Saturday June 16, 9pm

Part 2/Family Show

Almonds and Wine by Arnie Lipsey

5 minutes 1999, classical animation (ink on paper cels)

Primiti Too Taa by Ed Ackerman and Colin Morton

3 minutes 1986, typewriter on paper animation

Hello by John Fraser

3 minutes 1999, hand drawn and computer animation

Wake Up Wake Up by Iris Paabo

10 minutes 1990, stoop motion puppet animation

Cecil’s Insomnia by Brownwen Kyffin

2 minutes 2000, stock motion sock animation

The Avocado Vegetarian Turtle by Kaspar Saxena

3.5 minutes 1988, stop motion animation

The Crow and the Canary by Arnie Lipsey

7 minutes 1988, classical cel animation

Leaving the Poisons Behind by Iris Paabo

7 minutes 1991, drawn animation

The Goatee Club by Patrick Jenkins

1 minute 1999, computer

Oh Dad! By Jonathan Amitay

4 minutes 1986, stop motion animation (sand and gold chains)