Lost And Found | Joan C. Gratz
There’s something pretty special about
Portland. Bill Plympton and Matt Groening hail from there,
as does Gus Van Sant. Claymation pioneering maestro Will Vinton
established himself there and master animators such Joanna
Priestley, Joan Gratz and Jim Blashfield all call it home.
It’s even home to the rising giant-killer Studio Laika,
which has given us Coraline and ParaNorman. So … wassup
in Portland? The locals will tell you this animating phenomenon
is a result of unrelenting rain but who knows? Whatever the
cause, we are richer for it. This program showcases some great
films and a history of one of the true animating capitals
of the world, which, for a city not much bigger than Newcastle
or less than half the size of Adelaide, has been punching
WAY above its weight for 40 years.
Will Vinton, Bob Gardiner
USA, 7'39, 1974
The film that started the iconic Will Vinton
Studio – their student film that won an Oscar. Beginnings
don’t get much more auspicious than that.
USA, 4'11, 1985
An early work by one of the true Portland
masters. An honest and open film exploring the fundamental motivations
and fears of any great filmmaker.
For Copy Machine (Photocopy Cha Cha)
USA, 3'37, 1991
Chel White was a driving force behind the
important Portland studio Bent Image. Created using a plethora
of photocopier images, Photocopy Cha Cha is regarded as his
most important and influential auteur work.
USA, 3'15, 1981
As the Will Vinton Studio locked in its
position as America’s pre-eminent claymation studio, it
set higher and higher benchmarks for the technique, as evidenced
by this joyous little wonder.
USA, 4'38, 1997
Increasingly, Joanna Priestley’s work
explored abstract, experimental and even sculptural themes.
Utopia Parkway is a fascinating example of one of her most renowned
works created during a period of transition in her style, technique
USA, 6'22, 2001
Marilyn Zornado is another of the influential
animators immersed in the Portland animation scene. From the
early period of her career, Insect Poetry captures beautifully
her innate sense of timing and her uncanny ability to create
an immensely entertaining aura within every frame.
USA, 5'13, 2007
Jim Blashfield has been animating moving-image
work of one kind or another longer than he usually cares to
say. His music video roster in the 70s and 80s reads like a
who’s who of pop and rock royalty. In the last 20 years,
he has created some of the more inspired experimental gallery
and installation-style moving-image artworks. And Bunnyheads
remains a festival stalwart, which always seems to be screening
USA, 5'13, 2009
Originally a graduate of the Philadelphia
University of the Arts, Rob Shaw joined Bent Image Studio in
2006. Primarily an animator of commercial work, he nevertheless
is revered (at least in the US) as the man behind the quirky
Saturday Night Live version of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.
Less known for his auteur work, The Machine showcases his skewed
eye as a director and his mastery of the stop-motion technique.
USA, 8'43, 2008
In 2007, Portland hosted Platform, an event
which turned out to be one of the best animation festivals ever
staged, taking animation well beyond its purely cinematic confines.
One of the most talked about pieces – ElectroFlux –
was a specially commissioned animation mural created by Rose
Bond that inhabited the entire top floor of a down town building.
Andy Collen, Amy Blumenstein-Collen
USA, 5'52, 2004
Animators, entrepreneurs, impresarios, tireless
supporters of all manner of animation initiatives, part-time
brewers of outstanding flavoured meads (except for the jalapeno),
and providers of MIAF’s home-away-from-home in the Pacific
North West, Andy and Amy Collen established the Happy Trails
Animation studio, which continues to turn out an exciting mix
of commercial and purely creative work.
USA, 1'00, 2011
Adam Fisher’s films are starting to
turn up at an increasing number of festivals and many of them
have the short, sharp, hand-made aesthetic typical of a dedicated
animator on the rise.
USA, 6'32, 2008
Portland is one of the world’s great
coffee and café capitals and much of the unquantifiable
cultural aura that Portland exudes is generated from within
its array of laid back, spacious and welcoming cafes. This film
beautifully captures a convergence of mindsets that this diverse
USA, 3'46, 2010
In the wake of Platform not securing resources
to continue, Sven Bonnichsen founded the North West Animation
Festival. Too modest to formally enter his latest film Mutate,
we took it upon ourselves to include it in the line up anyway.
Rocket, Private Detective
Sam Niemann, Stacey Hallal
USA, 3'18, 2012
The gritty, poorly lit path of hard-boiled,
parody animation is littered with the corpses of those that
just never saw the fatal bullet coming. But these guys have
absolutely nailed it – and with a twist for good measure.
USA, 4'15, 2012
One of Joanna Priestley’s most recent
works and an example of the digital animation style she has
lately been using. Many of her new films contain wisps of her
abstract work interwoven with a more accessible, often lighthearted,
narrative structure with bright, vibrant colours multiplying
the overall impact.
USA, 3’35, 2013
AND … hot off the press. Priestley’s
very latest film showing she has lost none of her passion and
eye for purely abstract work as she further embraces and masters
the tools of the digital animation age.
Joan C. Gratz
USA, 3'45, 2012
Joan Gratz is universally acclaimed as one
of the living masters of auteur animation. Her graceful coloured-clay
films are rightly considered classics. For many years, she and
Joanna Priestley worked under the Will Vinton Studio umbrella
and even today have studios in the same building. Her latest
film, Lost And Found, was invited on the spot after a single
viewing on a smart phone in a café around the corner
from the Northwest Film Center. It is a masterclass of the technique,
plain and simple.
Lisa Descending A Staircase
Joan C. Gratz
USA, 6'58, 1991
The big one! We’ve screened it before
– but not for a while. It’s just not possible to
tell the story of animating in Portland without including this
no dialogue / S = subtitles