Category Archives: Festival 2013

MinnAnimate II and Animation Station at Northrup King during Art-A-Whirl


Northeast Minneapolis animator John Akre will install his Stop Motion Animation Station in Northrup King Room 245 during Art-A-Whirl. He will be working on a stop motion animated film in the space and invites anybody dropping by to help create the film. Join him on Friday, May 16th from 5 to 7 pm, Saturday, May 17th from noon to 5 pm and Sunday, May 18th from noon to 3 pm.

After each day’s animation activities, stay and watch a great collection of animated films. On Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 3 pm, MinnAnimate II, a collection of animation from around the state of Minnesota (and Eastern South Dakota) will screen in the same space. Check out the MinnAnimate II program here.

Join John as he animates “North by Northeast,” a short poetic essay by Andy Waltzer.

For more information, visit or

John Akre is a fiscal year 2014 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is funded, in part, by the arts and cultural heritage fund as appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature with money from the Legacy Amendment vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

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MinnAnimate II photos!

David and Mary Sandberg at MinnAnimate II Trevor Adams heading in to MinnAnimate II The Ritz Theater The audience settles in John does the intro The long line of animators at the Q and A after the show. Animators mingle after the show. Mingling after the show.

MinnAnimate II at the Ritz Theater. What a fun night!

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MinnAnimate in l’etoile Weekend What’s What

MinnAnimate is in the l’etoile Weekend What’s What!

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MinnAnimate in Art Hounds!

MinnAnimate got a great write up in Art Hounds today!

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MinnAnimate in City Pages A List

MinnAnimate made the City Pages A List for this week!

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MinnAnimate II Bios

Here are bios of the animators featured in MinnAnimate II, September 12, 2013:


Trevor Adams

As an outsider artist, Trevor Adams is oblivious to most animation techniques analogue and digitial, and painfully aware of how hip his record- and comics collection is.  Despite barely graduating high school, he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for a year and managed to pay off his debts in 3 months after dropping out freshman year.  He was born the same year Nixon resigned and cites his birthplace the same as Bruce Conner and Moondog.

John Akre

John Akre is an animator, community video maker, and media teacher who lives in Northeast Minneapolis and organized the MinnAnimate Festival.

Greg Bro

Greg Bro is a Minneapolis writer/animator who makes silly cartoons and eats nachos for dinner.

Adina Cohen

Adina Cohen grew up in Santa Rosa, California where at a young age she became interested in Stop Motion animation. After making a couple of festival awarding films in high school, she went to study Stop Motion the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in Minnesota. During her studies she was able to produce 2 semi finalist Adobe Design Achievement Awarded films. As a recent graduate she has recently moved to the LA area to work in Stop Motion professionally as well as continue to make independent short films. Her other interests include spoken word, screenwriting, figure drawing, and making video blogs on YouTube.

Dane Cree and Claire Strautmanis

Keylime is a collaborative animation duo. Using the combined efforts of two local experimental animators. The duo includes Dane Cree, who is a recent 2013 graduate from MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design) and Claire Strautmanis, who is currently working toward the completion of her degree at MCAD as well. Both animators prefer to use hand drawn or stop motion techniques to develop their flow of images. 18˚N 65˚W is the first animated work that the duo has brought into fruition and was originally created for their Gallery 148 exhibit at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. There are plans to continue with the Keylime collaboration in the future once a new subject captures their interest.

Emily Fritze


Emily Fritze is a freelance animator and illustrator. She graduated from Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2012 and continues to live in Minneapolis.


Cable Hardin

Cable Hardin creates commercial and independent content for film, TV, festival and web venues in addition to teaching animation and production at South Dakota State University. Cable also specializes in special makeup effects for film and  television. Since developing the animation coursework in the Visual Arts department at South Dakota State University, Cable has also been promoting animation as an art form in Brookings, SD and the region with the establishment of the SDSU Animation Mini- Fest in 2007 and developing it into the SoDak Animation Festival in 2009, both of which showcase animation of all kinds to the public and also offer hands-on workshop to elementary school-age children.

Peter Kirschmann

Peter Kirschmann is a youth worker, media maker, and student studying technology and education, based in Cambridge, MA. He likes encouraging folks to tell their own stories through media, because who else will? He helps to organize MNKINO, a bimonthly film screening in Minneapolis which encourages folks to experiment with and create short videos.

Lora Madjar

Lora Madjar is a Bulgarian native and first generation New American. After graduating from Math High School specializing in graphic design and computer programing with French emphasis in 1998, she emigrated to the United States to pursue her bachelors (Boise State University, Boise, ID) and masters (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN) degrees in Fine Arts Studio in painting and drawing. Although she considers herself a painter, since 2004 she has combined the art of puppetry and short film to tell her stories. The themes and objects from her paintings serve as a starting point in the short stop-motion animations. “Snow” (2006), her first major short, was featured in “Women With Vision 2007: Filmmakers / Video makers” at the Walker Art Center. Since 2009 she has been working on “Finding (A)way” and with the help of the Artist Initiative grant FY 2012 from the Minnesota State Arts Board, she has been able to complete part one of her short film. She lives and works in Minneapolis, MN as a teaching artist and a mother of two little boys.

Mahieu and Levi Spaid

Mahieu Studios Productions uses animation to bring our hand drawn characters to life right here in Minneapolis, MN. Everything began with the creation of one curious kitten, Little Lucy, and her daily adventures. Since her arrival at the studio, a number of friends visit to share their stories with us. Mahieu Spaid, the resident artist and author, does her best to draw out their lives while Levi Spaid gives them movement in animations programs. Life Under the Dome is one of their first productions but only one of many projects. Our team couldn’t resist the challenge of trying to share all the studio characters in a way that was fun and more interesting than a flat sheet of paper. Audiences and art fans get a better sense of what personalities the drawings represent, or they get an inside look at what goes on inside the minds of an artist and animator.

Beth Peloff

Beth Peloff likes to make cartoons (still and moving), documentaries, music, cookies, and soup.

Lisa Rydin Erickson and Karen Kopacz

Lisa Rydin Erickson is an artist in Saint Paul. Primarily a 2D artist she draws daily on her ipad while on commute to work downtown. She also illustrates and paints both fine art and backdrops. Recently she painted large tent size paintings for the Flint Hills international Children’s Festival. Karen Kopacz is a designer, musician and artist. Creating music for more than 20 years, her vocals and guitar have appeared on a variety of obscure and avant-gard albums.

Dave and Mary Sandberg

Dave & Mary have worked commercially & independently in California and Minnesota. Dave currently teaches character animation and storyboard at MCAD.

Tom Schroeder

Tom has been making hand-drawn animated films since 1990.  His films have been broadcast on Independent Lens, the Sundance Channel, Canal + France, SBS in Australia and CBC in Canada and have screened at the American Cinematique in Los Angeles and Anthology Film Archives in New York.  The films have also played widely on the international festival circuit, including at Annecy, Rotterdam, Sundance, Ottawa, South by Southwest and Edinburgh, and have won over thirty festival awards.  Tom received Minnesota State Arts Board Grants in 1991, 1999 and 2006, Jerome Film and Video Grants in 2000 and 2004, McKnight Fellowships in 2006 and 2011 and Bush Fellowships in 1997 and 2008.  He has directed commercials for Kashi, Samsung and Hertz Car Rental and is currently represented as a director by Global Mechanic, Vancouver, Canada.

Oanh Vu

Oanh Vu is a youth worker at the Science Museum of MN and an artist with a Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art from the College of St. Benedict. When not working Oanh can be found making videos and organizing MNKINO a bi-montly video screening.


Scott Wenner


Scott Wenner has been animating since Christmas of 1986 when he received an “Etch A Sketch Animator” from Santa Claus. Exiting the dot com bubble in the late 90’s, Wenner moved from Interactive 2D Animation to Broadcast Design before landing as a Flame artist in 2003. Compositing and Effects work on music videos for Prince, Liz Phair, Low, and others followed. Now Creative Director at motion504, Wenner has directed live action and animation for clients such as Syfy, Target, and Starz, and has provided Visual Effects Supervision on spots for Nexxus, St. Ives, & The History Channel.


Wolfgang Wick


Wolfgang Wick is a Minneapolis teenager who has made over a dozen films utilizing Claymation/stopmotion techniques.


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MinnAnimate Profile: Tom Schroeder

tom_schroeder_director_marcel, king of tervuren
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your animation.

I have been making hand-drawn animated films since 1990.  My films have been broadcast on Independent Lens, the Sundance Channel, Canal + France and Spain, SBS in Australia and CBC in Canada and have screened at the American Cinematique in Los Angeles and Anthology Film Archives in New York.  The films have also played widely on the international festival circuit, including at Annecy, Rotterdam, Sundance, Ottawa, South by Southwest and Edinburgh, and have won over thirty festival awards.  I received Minnesota State Arts Board Grants in 1991, 1999 and 2006, Jerome Film and Video Grants in 2000 and 2004, McKnight Fellowships in 2006 and 2011, Bush Fellowships in 1997 and 2008 and a Rooftop Filmmakers Grant in 2013.  I have directed commercials for Kashi, Samsung and Hertz Car Rental and am currently represented as a director by Global Mechanic, Vancouver, Canada.

Why do you like animation?

Animation attracted me initially because it demands multi-disciplinary thinking. My educational background is in literature, so I first approach a film as a narrative form.  With a couple of exceptions my films are adaptations of short stories.  The stories are, of course, communicated through the language of film, translated into visual staging and sound design.  And because the films are conceived and executed one frame at a time, one really gets to explore the expressive relationship between the style of the animation and the content of the story.

Tell us about your short in this year’s festival.

Marcel is a rooster who belongs to a friend, Ann Berckmoes, in Tervuren, a suburb of Brussels, Belgium. During a bird flu scare in Europe a few years ago, the provincial government issued a requirement that domestically kept fowl be killed.  Ann initially tried to put Marcel to sleep with increasingly large doses of sedatives in his food, but every morning he was in his tree at dawn, vigorously calling out “cuculurucoo!”  She failed in multiple timid attempts to kill Marcel, the order was lifted and she celebrated by obtaining three chickens for Marcel.  He had a son who, when he grew, became territorial and fought his father.  Marcel was blinded in one eye and fled his kingdom.  He returned eventually, fought and killed his son to regain his territory.  Most recently, he survived an attack by a fox.  Marcel simply refuses to die.

During May of 2011 Ann visited my wife and me in St. Paul and I took the opportunity to record her telling Marcel’s story. She recorded the story in English, Dutch and French.   I licensed a piece of music composed by Phil Kline and recorded by the string quartet Ethel.  After editing the different language versions of the story to the music, as I’ve done with my other “documentary” animation projects (for example “Bike Race”), I then analyzed the audio track frame by frame and drew to this structure. Technically, it’s the first film I drew directly into the computer with a Cintiq, a computer screen upon which one can draw with a stylus.  And, somewhat ironically, the loose, painterly style of the film developed from working digitally rather than drawing on paper.  The animation was about half rotoscoping from live action footage I shot and half traditional character animation.

As for the abstract transitional sections, these came about as a formal expression of the main theme of the film.  When I initially heard Ann telling Marcel’s story, I though “ah, Greek tragedy enacted by Belgian roosters,” but I also remembered a line from Camus’ essay on Sisyphus.  I’m paraphrasing now, but it’s something to the effect “There is no fate that cannot be overcome by scorn.”  I wanted to give Marcel this willful defiance, but I also wanted to find a visual equivalent to his dilemma.  And so, as Marcel fights to stay alive, his representation in the film struggles to fight against the forms breaking into an abstraction of line and color.  Form and abstraction, life and death, matter and energy, etc.  I’ve always felt that the most successful animated films have an awareness of the relationship between the technical aspects of the production and the narrative content.

Do you do other kinds of art that inform your animation work?

I play and record music and that has led to doing the sound design for my films myself.  It’s pretty fun after working many long months on the animation for the film, at a point when the material has become a little bit dead to you, to bring it to life again with the sound.
Who are some of your favorite/inspirational animators?
Initially, Norman McClaren, Caroline Leaf and the Brothers Quay.  Recently, I’ve been really impressed by films from Daniel Sousa, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, Rosto and Jeremy Clapin.
Is Minnesota a good place to do animation? And what do we need here to make it a better place for animation?

I’ve lived in Minneapolis for 25 years or so and it’s been great for me.  Lots of arts grants available, relatively cheap to live.  Between Mn Film Arts, the festivals, the Walker Art Center, the Trylon, Landmark Cinema there are plenty of opportunities to see good independent/world films projected large in the dark.  I’ve been able to support myself through a combination of teaching and commercial work.  It’s worked well for me as an independent animator.  Obviously, if you want to work in mainstream television or movies, you probably don’t want to stay in Minneapolis.

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