Category Archives: Profiles

MinnAnimate 5 Biographies

Trevor Adams

Trevor Adams re-writes cinema history by cutting the film emulsion off the film base with sharp objects, subjects it all to pen and paint and flashes it all before our eyes. He is a magician who reveals infinity with the tiniest movements. Which is another way to say that he works directly on film, animating dreamlike stories of the lives around him.

John Akre

John Akre is an animator and videomaker who lives in Minneapolis. He co-owns Green Jeans Media with Beth Peloff and has made three animated features and something like 100 animated shorts that have screened around the world. He likes to take stop motion animation to the streets with his Sloppy Films Animation Station. He teaches animation to young people at schools, after school programs and summer camps, and to slightly less young people at Hamline University.

Lukas Anderson

Lukas is from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is currently studying animation.

Misha Ardichvili

Misha Ardichvili is a film-maker from Roseville, MN. He recently graduated high school and spends his time film-making at a local television station (CTV North Suburbs). He made Deadringer last summer as a part of his internship and finished animating in the fall.

Brian Barber

Brian Barber is an animator, illustrator and designer in Duluth, MN. He works on TV Ads, music videos, corporate videos and more. You can see his work at http://brianbarber.tv and at http://brianbarber.com

Susan Shay Brugger

Susan has been animating in Flash/Animate for a number of years, focusing on non-humans relating to other non-humans. When she’s not animating, she designs motion graphics and supervises CGI and 3d production at Theory Studios.

Adam Dargan

Adam Dargan is an experimental animator and filmmaker working to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary art-making practices. He works primarily with analog film to explore texture and movement of the medium. Then uses his knowledge of 3D software to manipulate these analog images into 3D environments. The combination of analog and digital mediums allows him to create imagery that highlights new perspectives on the media we are typically exposed to.

Cody Greene

Cody Greene is an independent animator who deals in simple shapes and color to deliver short, but poignant stories.

Cable Hardin

Cable Hardin has been making films and animation for tv, film, and web for decades. He also teaches film and animation at South Dakota State University as well as organizing animation and film exhibition (SoDak Motion/SoDak Animation Festival, 2008-present). Cable has also specialized in makeup special effects for film and tv. Other titles in his filmography include White Out (2015), The Uncle Mike Show (2013), Look to the Sea (2010), Beard and Moustache Experiments (2008) and Ancestors (2006).

Ed Heyl

Ed Heyl is an animator, artist and fool who lives in Minneapolis.

Robert Jersak

Robert Jersak is a full-time faculty member at Century College and a part-time animator on his own time. He still doesn’t know what he’s doing. He’s taking it all one frame at a time.

Eric Kreidler

Eric Kreidler is a Minneapolis-based motion designer and animator. He is co-owner with his wife Gretchen Blase Kreidler of eg design, a creative studio specializing in graphic design, motion design, illustration, and animation. Eric has directed children’s music videos for Sesame Street, Danny Weinkauf, and The Bazillions.

Marcie LaCerte

Marcie LaCerte is an animation student in Minneapolis. She’s interested in experimental media art and spends most of her free time watching videos on the Internet. She also likes psychology, podcasts, sleeping, and eating.

Olubukola Laditan

Olubukola Laditan has been in the entertainment industry for over 7 years. He is an independent animator who lives in Minneapolis Minnesota.

Noah Lawrence-Holder

Noah Lawrence-Holder is an illustrator and animator from Madison, Wisconsin. He began attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2013. He has a penchant for cheese and small dogs.

Adam Loomis

Adam Loomis is a Minneapolis resident and self-taught animator.

Ian Lueck

Ian Lueck, a Wisconsin native, has been an independent filmmaker and animator for almost two decades. His work has been featured at the Los Angeles Film Studies Center and the Trylon Microcinema in Minneapolis, as well as numerous video sharing sites on the web.

Wayne Nelsen

Wayne Nelsen has currently made 47 animated videos.

Beth Peloff

Beth Peloff is a video maker and teacher who works in both documentary and animation. Her films have played at film festivals both locally and nationally, including the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival and the Sodak Animation Festival.

Margaret Polzine

Polzine is an experimental animator with a BFA from MCAD. She currently continues to make experimental animations, and looks forward to a teaching position at Perpich in the fall.

Jack Quincey

I’ve been creating stop-motion animated films since I was a little boy and I’d like to think I have a bit of a knack for it. I’m hoping it will get me through the rest of my life.

Lea Redding

I am a local animator from Minneapolis, I graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree. I love working in character animation, it’s definitely my favorite kind of animation. I find people in general fascinating, how different everyone is. I’m a very observant person and people watching is one of my favorite pastimes.

Tom Schroeder

Tom’s been making animated films since 1990.

Josh Stifter

Josh Stifter has animated for longer than he can probably remember. He’s created animation for Kevin Smith, CNN, Sparkhouse, and runs his media company Flush Studios out of his basement. He also is a dad on occasion.

Anna Taberko

Anna Taberko is a Minnesota based animator. Her focus is the abstractness created in the natural environment, whether through color or form.

Leo Winstead

Leo Winstead is an illustrator and filmmaker based out of the Twin Cities. Leo has been involved with various film projects over the last 20 years, starting with short stopmotion vignettes shot on super-8 which then lead to 16mm film and video production during college. He produced the storyboards for the film The Quiet Storm (2000) about domestic violence, while an undergraduate at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Other projects have included This Is My Body (2008), where he worked as storyboard artist, animator, and 2nd unit director and more recently Akello & the Lion (2010), an animated film dealing with the effects of the conflict in Uganda involving the LRA.

Mara Zoltners

I am a multi-media artist, born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. I received a Bachelors of Science in Art from University of WI-Stout, and an MFA from University of MN. I have a PhD from University of Leeds. I have exhibited my work nationally and internationally, and have participated in film and video screenings at the Walker Art Center and Weisman Art Museum on Minneapolis, MN, and the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television, Bradford, England. I have participated in numerous artist residencies, including at Art in General, NY. I am a recipient of the McKnight Foundation visual arts Fellowship and the Bush Foundation Fellowship in art. My work is concerned with notions of place, identity and the ubiquitous everyday, and how disparate information can come together to create new meaning.

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Filed under Festival 2016, Profiles

Trevor Adams at Cellular Cinema

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I saw and heard the Trevor Adams screening at Cellular Cinema on October 18th, and am still seeing so much of it. Cellular Cinema, curated by Kevin Obsatz, has been featuring Experimental Film at the Bryant Lake Bowl for a year now, and the Adams show was the first time that it featured the work of one filmmaker.

Adams laboriously hand-scratches, draws and paints over 16mm film, most of which already has other images on it. Some of these images he himself has filmed, others are found footage. He cuts them together to create a vibrating Cultural Anthropology of the inside and outside lives of the community he is in, and of himself.

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He works on 16mm film, and the whole program was projected from two reels, with an intermission to allow for the reel change. Some soundtrack elements were created in advance from found and recorded sound and music, some played directly from the film projector, other soundtrack sounds and music were created on the spot by audio artist Mike Hallenbeck, a frequent Adams collaborator, from his perch in the high back row of the BLB theater.

Adams’ work of the last five years, separate films, were edited together with film leader countdowns between some of the pieces, but it read as one unified movie, a tour of his life and thought from the last five years, from his home in downtown Minneapolis to the places he visited and the people whose community he shares.

It ended with a trip to Colorado to visit the film lab that processes and prints his films. He took the trip with a friend and Adams’ skeptical conversations with his friend about the lost world of Atlantis play on the audio as the image tours the very real Colorado landscape of craggy rocks and trees. From the non-existent past of Atlantis, Adams’ camera sweeps across the film processing equipment at the Cinema Lab, and his stylus pen scratches the films he will make next as they crazily jump and wind their phantom way through the equipment to final print, if this rare film lab is still around for that.

In Adams’ work you see both the smooth time and particle stillness of film. Film is 24 still pictures every second projected to look like one continuous moving picture, and the films that Adams shot or found languidly reveal the people and landscapes that he encounters and thinks about. He often creates multiple exposures, hand-masking out parts of the frame to create handmade instantaneous edits that sometimes make a point, or a visual pun, or beauty itself.

But then he scratches and draws on the individual frames of film. He animates in a thumbnail-sized space the ghosts, skeletons, spirits and outlines that are within and without the world. He points out elements of death – sketching out the skeleton of a friend walking over a freeway bridge in a landscape of silent traffic honks and danger – and also possibility and hope – rays of light beaming out of the heads of people. He animates scenes on top of scenes, auras and ghosts alive in the deathwalk of zombie office workers in the downtown Minneapolis skyways, but also celebrates the people at a Wisconsin dance by turning them into long-exposure swirls of spirit.

Adams photographs people when they are becoming something else, when they are behind masks and puppets in the May Day Parade, when they are staring at the camera because they are puzzled by his noisy Bolex in an age of silent phone-cameras. He etches out the person, the glow within, always dancing, always jumping up and down with life to counteract the death that photography forces when it freezes the moment.

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Adams’ work reveals to us that the photographic image always captures surface and performance, even and especially of people who don’t want to be photographed. It takes his scratched-out field notes to reveal the underlying crazy dance of chance, coincidence and stubbornness that underlies it all.

He also embeds his films with his poetry. He scratches or double exposes words that interact with the image, uses puns and jokes and references that might only carry meaning to certain friends of his. The text, often jumping up and down, revealing itself letter by letter, forces you back into the flat plane of the film image that his drawings and images leave behind in their hypnotic depth. The words prevent you from falling too far, both distance you from the filmic dreamscape and return you deep into your own mind.

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Adams’ films are pretty much impossible to describe. They must be seen, or dreamed in the presence of others, but as Adams himself pointed out at the end of the screening, this is a one time thing, a comet brought to you by Cellular Cinema. To see his films on film, with the projector going in and out of focus, with the sound of jumping splices, with Mike Hallenbeck looming over everything splashing our backs with waves of sound, is the only way to experience his mind, his visions, his observations, his amazing fidgeting Cultural Anthopology of sun and air.

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MinnAnimate IV Contributor bios

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Here are the people who made some of the films in MinnAnimate IV.

Trevor Adams has been working with 16mm film since 1992, and was recently evicted from his loft so that downtown could make way for more condos.

John Akre is an animator, videomaker and teaching artist who lives in Minneapolis and founded MinnAnimate. http://www.johnakre.com

Kirk Anderson is a political cartoonist, animator, and designer in the Twin Cities.

Brian Barber is a designer, illustrator, animator and motion graphics artist in Duluth MN. His work can be seen in TV commercials, corporate videos, music videos, and strange little projects scattered all around the world.
http://brianbarber.tv
http://brianbarber.com

Greg Bro is an award-winning filmmaker from Minneapolis, MN who writes, voices, and animates comedic short films for his website TheBroShow.com. Bro’s work has screened at various film festival across the country and he is currently working on a project he created for DreamWorks TV. When not tooning, Bro enjoys eating sandwiches and shaving exclamation points into his beard.

After nearly a lifetime of playing with flip books, Susan Brugger discovered computer animation a few years ago and hasn’t looked back. She works primarily in 2d mixed media character animation. She also contributes as a motion graphics artist on the Ray ‘n’ Clovis Show animations created and produced by Theory Animation.

Adam Dargan was raised in Duluth, MN and currently resides in Minneapolis. He enjoys exploring the combination of physical and digital animation. Adam is currently in his final year at MCAD studying a degree in animation.

Lisa Erickson has a history of working and collaborating with other artists from painting and mural work to sumi-e style illustration and stop-motion animation.

Sue Grant is a retired little old lady who can’t seem to get enough animation in her life.

Cable Hardin has been making films and animation for tv, film, and web for decades. He also teaches film and animation at South Dakota State University. Cable has also specialized in makeup special effects for film and tv. Other titles in his filmography include The Uncle Mike Show (2013), Look to the Sea (2010), Beard and Moustache Experiments (2008) and Ancestors (2006).

Edward Heyl was born at a very young age to a group of free-range Minnesotans. He received his BFA from the U of M in 2010 and has dedicated his life to making surreal nonsensery. He currently lives in Northeast Minneapolis with his three cats and human wife.

Robert Jersak is a community college Communication instructor, an audio documentarian and a part-time artist wannabe. These are his first animated films.

David Koesters used to be a JAG officer in the army. He has two cats.

Andy Lefton is a veteran CG animator and VFX artist with over 12 years in the industry. Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Andy has worn many hats, from artist to producer to creative director. Visit his portfolio at http://www.andylefton.com

Isaac Leonhardi is a high school student who enjoys creating stories and digital art forms.

Keith Mullin is a graduate of Metropolitan State University with a degree in screenwriting. He has been making short films for the last 7 years. This is his first animation.

Wayne Nelsen lives in Minneapolis and teaches ELL.

Beth Peloff is an animator and documentary filmmaker and editor. Her animations have played in film festivals locally and nationally.

Tom Schroeder has been making generally hand-drawn animated films since 1990.

Leo Winstead is an illustrator and filmmaker based out of the Twin Cities. Leo has been involved with various film projects over the last 20 years. Live-action projects have included work on “The Quiet Storm” (2000) and “This Is My Body” (2008). Recent animated films include “Akello & the Lion” (2010) and “Aurora” (2013).

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MinnAnimate 3 bios

MinnAnimate 3 bios

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.

Alexa Akre and Kyle Ward are both in high school in the Twin Cities area, and are possibly interested in pursuing careers in the film world. This is their first animation.

John Akre is an animator, documentary video maker and youth worker who lives in Minneapolis and organizes the MinnAnimate festival.

Kirk Anderson is a Twin Cities cartoonist.

Greg Bro operates thebroshow.com, where his irreverent shorts — including the miniseries “Stuper Powers” and “The Crazy Misadventures of Christ” — can be viewed. When not making animated shorts, Bro spends his time wearing jean shorts.

Susan Shay Brugger works primarily in 2d animation, usually combining watercolor backgrounds with computer animation. Susan is strongly influenced by the Saturday morning cartoons and the pre-feature film animations of her well-spent youth as well as the crazy antics of her family’s pets. Her early interest in animation started with creating character voices, but quickly developed into creating and drawing the characters themselves. Susan grew up in Minneapolis and currently lives with her family in eastern South Dakota. She is also an accomplished fiber artist, creating yarns, textiles and clothing.

Adina Cohen is a Stop Motion Animator who is currently working in the Los Angeles and Burbank area. Mostly known for her animation work on Robot Chicken season 7, Adina uses her spare time to create short films. Her Senior Thesis “The Trip” was the official selection in the Square lake Festival and MinnAnimate 2013. Fork and Knife is her most recent short film. Her other interests include spoken word, figure drawing and going on adventures. To find out more visit http://www.adinacohen.com

Lisa Rydin Erickson is a Saint Paul artist and lives on the same block with the writer Lisa Sackreiter. They created this animation in a weeks time. Lisa filmed by candlelight during an early morning window when the light was just right to make the gold pastel powder flicker and painted puppets and backgrounds while Lisa Sackreiter embellished and formed the story stirring luck into the nisses nightly travels.

Sue Grant– As a retired person in my 70s I am probably the oldest animator who is submitting work to your festival. Aren’t too many animators my age around. Perhaps I provide a different point of view?

Mike Hallenbeck is a composer and sound designer active in film, animation, games, branding, and performing arts. He is bald. Home page: http://juniorbirdman.com

Peter Kirschmann – Peter is a youth worker and media maker from the midwest, currently living in Chicago. He likes using paper cut animations to illustrate other people’s stories.

David Koesters. David recently transplanted to Minneapolis from Nebraska. He has two cats.

Editor and Animator, Leah Mann, recently graduated from UW-Stout in 2013 with a degree in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. She’s dabbled in a bit of everything, but is happiest when her design projects contribute to making the world a better place.

Jane Nelson Meyer works in many mediums outside of animation. The result is much cross-over between painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, and creative writing. ‘Navel Gazing’ is no exception. While working as an intern at High Point Center for Printmaking, Jane made the illustrations through the process of drypoint intaglio. She now is working at Franconia Sculpture Park. In 2011, she graduated as a studio art major from St. Olaf College.

Shelby Pearson is an animator/illustrator residing and working in Minneapolis.

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

Josh Stifter makes toons. But don’t laugh, you’ll just encourage him.

Jordan Studanski, etc. – A group of South Dakota State University students got together to make this short film so a bio on just one of us doesn’t seem sufficient. We’re all from different corners of the globe but we all have one thing in common, we love animation. The group of us really worked well together and we had a blast making the short film. Of course we had our ups and downs but in the end it was all totally worth it.

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.

Leo Winstead is an illustrator and filmmaker based out of the Twin Cities. Leo has been involved with various film projects over the last 20 years, starting with short stopmotion vignettes shot on super-8 which then lead to 16mm film and video production during college. He produced the storyboards for the film The Quiet Storm (2000) about domestic violence, while an undergraduate at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design. Other projects have included This Is My Body (2008), where he worked as storyboard artist, animator, and 2nd unit director and more recently Akello & the Lion (2010), an animated film dealing with the effects of the conflict in Uganda involving the LRA.

Caleb Wood is an animation artist. He is most interested in the dynamism of the mundane and overlooked, abstract, and all things moving. He incorporates several different mediums in his work, and aims to expand upon the possibilities of animation. He received a BFA in Film/Animation/Video at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011, and has since gone on to show work internationally and continue making films independently.

 

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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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Filed under Festival 2013, Profiles

MinnAnimate Profile: Tom Schroeder

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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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MinnAnimate Profile: Lora Madjar

lora madjar

About me and my animation

 

In 1998 after I finished math high school where I specialized in French, computer graphics and basic programing, I came to America to pursue “the dream.” I followed my foolish passion for all things art, literature, and philosophy. By 2007 I have completed my Bachelors (Boise State University, Boise, ID) and Masters degrees in Fine Arts Studio Painting and Drawing. You may ask yourselves, how this hardcore oil painter, in love with technology and all things moving, turned into an animator? I am immensely grateful to the Fine Arts Program at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) that nurtured my new venture. My films would never have been materialized had I missed the opportunity to take all at the same time “Puppetry in Theater” class with Michael Sommers, “Narrative Video” with Lynn Lucas, and “Sound Art” workshop with Abinadi Meza.

 

Finding (A)way­’s story is not far from the themes of my paintings. My work stems from my life experiences and the stories we share with each other every day – the ones full of joy and the ones we find ourselves wallowing in sorrow – yearning, dreaming, hoping, remembering, and indulging in bouts nostalgia.

 

The world of animation I found to be a great place to tell a story. I don’t think of the work as animation as much as a series of moving paintings, rich in color and textures. The importance of mark making and surface (mis)treatment is evident in my paintings. I try to translate that tactile experience in the flatness of the digital projections.

 

Why do you like animation?

 

Making things move that other wisely are static is magical. Anything becomes possible. Art making, creating, bringing things to life – what else is there?

 

Other arts I do that inform my animation?

 

I will always will be a painter and that is why color and texture and very important elements in my films. I don’t perform in figure theater, although what I learned in shadow puppetry finds its way in the picture as well. I grew up around puppeteers, actors, filmmakers, and artists of all kinds, so I take advantage of any chance I have to see live theater and art in person. I am an avid reader and for the last few years I have been experimenting with writing; have been very self-conscious about my “words” but that is an element I want to add to my animations to strengthen the story. Before I was introduced to oil painting, I worked extensively with dry and wet media, collage, pastels, incorporating fabrics, found objects, and sand so there is a connection between that experience and building the sets, painting them, sculpting heads and dressing the puppets. Plus I always wanted to have a doll house as a kid and perhaps creating all these environments is making up for it.

 

 

About my short

 

Finding (A)way tells a story about a female character that escapes her oppressive home country to find herself in a similar version of her past hell in the land of her dreams. In the begging she is gutting fish and when she lands in her new world she ends up selling that fish, working in a fast food fish shack. There is a next chapter in the works. Ending on a nihilistic note was bugging me so I have plans to continue working on the film by adding spoken and written word along the new ending.

 

Animators:

Jan Švankmajer, The Brothers Quay, Jirí Barta (Toys in the Attic), Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Team America), Donyo Donev along with other Bulgarian animators, the artists behind Madame Tutli-Putli, Peter and the Wolf. Along with raising my little boys I am constantly exposed to the latest animation on Sprout network where life footage, computer animation often blends such as the work by the Henson Digital Puppetry Studio.

 

Minnesota and Animation

 

I am not part of the professional animation world so the answer to this question comes from the point of view of a young mother – all I need to animate is free time and enough sleep. Minnesota has great schools and more financial support for artists than other places. Big part of this short has been supported by an Artist Initiative State Arts Board Grant. My film studio is in my basement so I will stick around these lands for a bit longer because of the above reasons. I would love to also connect with other local film/animating creatives in my area, talk shop and learn more.

 

 

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Filed under Festival 2013, Profiles