#52filmsbywomen

Mountain (2017)

My husband put this on in the background while he worked, and I was so intrigued by its experimental nature that I ended up watching the entire film. When the credits rolled, I saw that this film was directed by a woman.

Jennifer Peedom is a BAFTA nominated filmmaker from Australia. Judging by her other films (neither of which I’ve seen but would like to), she is dedicated to making films about the outdoor community. Her other films, 2008’s Solo and 2015’s Sherpa appear to be more traditional documentaries when compared to Mountain.

This is part of my #52FilmsByWomen challenge.

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The Cartoon Brew Podcast

This week, animation news site Cartoon Brew launched their new podcast.

Hosted by…me!

I remember being a college student, checking Cartoon Brew daily, grasping for anything I could about this elusive industry, to being in the industry, understanding the news I was reading on a deeper level having gone through some of it myself. It was surreal when my first pieces went up on the site, and when I’ve gotten to go to amazing places for the site, because in every situation it’s been a chance for me to meet people excited about the work they do and me getting to share that.

It’s been chances for me to get to learn more about a thing I love, and I’m grateful.

This podcast hopefully will follow suit.

Our first episode can be found here.

We’re working to get on places like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

The first episode is about the pandemic’s effects on the animation industry. It’s a LOT of info (and I know, I talk fast, it’s a very valid note!), and I’m sure there are people who are sick of hearing about it. I even wasn’t sure about it, but I also felt it would be weird to not acknowledge it. As a news site, this is literally the biggest story, and the longest, most widespread story. How could we not create this snapshot of this moment? This is the event people will refer back to during this time. I feel like when you’re a kid and you’re in history class, it all feels so aptly distant. This is one of the few times (and sadly none of them have ever been good) that I’ve felt I was living through history, that I knew this was a literal textbook moment.

So I took a snapshot.

And now, I can start taking more.

However long it lasts, I’m happy I could contribute to our understanding of this moment.

The Past and the Future are Our Now: A Look at Environmentalism in Princess Mononoke & Wall-E

Wall-E (2008) is one of the strongest films to come out of the big US feature animation studios. I would argue that it might be one of if not the most important animated feature to come out that decade, including internationally.

Even with the leaps and bounds we’ve made with animation in the last decade, I still feel like if an animated feature at a major US studio with no dialog and a slow, meditative pace for the first 30-ish minutes was pitched it would get turned down immediately or green lit until it drowned in notes and was averaged out to look more like the gag or dialogue driven, quick paced snappy visuals we’re used to. While those are not inherently bad things, their complete takeover of the medium at large just makes Wall-E stand out that much more. (Honestly I’d love to go back to opening weekend now and watch people watch this film in theaters. Did kids get impatient? Or were they fixated on the screen? Were parents confused? Who knows!)

There are so many factors that are out of a director’s control, especially at a big studio, that it’s a miracle when any film gets made, full stop. That Andrew Stanton’s film seems to have come out relatively unscathed and different from any film before (or after) it is a testament to how unique and thematically strong it is.


This post will contain full spoilers for Wall-E and Princess Mononoke.

It will contain slight spoilers for Nausicaa.

You can listen to this article if you want! Click here to jump to the recording.


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Short Stack 2

In honor of Earth Week (which includes Earth Day and Arbor Day), I opted for three shorts that have messages about conversation.

Before I started working towards a career in animation, I wanted to be a zoologist and make documentaries for Animal Planet and National Geographic. Only recently, so many years later, am I understanding that I can still honor those wishes in some way–I can use my platform as a filmmaker to make the kind of movies that affect people and get people to care about the environment and wildlife.

I hope these films do just that.


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Short Stack 1

It finally happened. Somehow, I’ve missed making weekly videos. The last of my 40 weekly thesis film production vlogs went up last July, and I’ve had a nice break from that particular brand of chaos ever since. But now I wanted to start another one I could do that was fun, won’t be as demanding in terms of production and research as some of the other videos I’m planning, and I can help spotlight other creators. So I’d like to introduce Short Stack episode 1:

As mentioned, it’ll be a weekly series where I spotlight three short films you can immediately watch right after my video.

And here are the films mentioned:

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My Thoughts as an Animation Educator

I started teaching storyboarding in a university’s animation program last fall, and am teaching a second class this spring semester. And now my time with my students together in person was unceremoniously cut short. With classes online (which I agree with) for the rest of the semester, here are my personal thoughts as an animation educator during the pandemic.

Again, these are my thoughts and opinions–not my schools or anyone else’s.

If you want to LISTEN to this article, I have a recording you can listen to by jumping to the end of the article.

Transitioning Classes Online

Of course, the big challenge school-wise has been transitioning all classes online. My school in particular had been very on-top of things, sending out emails encouraging teachers to start brainstorming and preparing for remote learning weeks before things started picking up. Of course, being in the NY area put us at the probable (and then actual) epicenter of the US outbreak, and so we had to take it more seriously sooner than the rest of the country. Even with a few extra weeks to brainstorm and prep, it still felt abrupt when the switch happened.

There are two types of classes that are being transitioned for remote learning: those that can and those that cannot be smoothly updated.

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Animation Complex Newsletter #1

Last week I sent out my first Animation Complex newsletter.

You can read it in full here.

They’ll come out monthly, and be one part blog roundup and one part general thoughts about what’s going on that month.

If you’re interested in subscribing you can do so here.

This first newsletter is especially good to look over if you’re new to my site and are looking for a starting point.

#52filmsbywomen

Hail Satan? (2019)

Hail Satan?

Hail Satan.

I’ve been a fan of The Satanic Temple for a few years now after learning about them in the book Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive by Kristen J. Sollee. The Satanic Temple (TST) advocates for religious freedom, as well as other social issues like women’s rights. They use their religious namesake as a counterpoint to the ever-growing permissiveness of Christianity in the United States government. They’re an activist group–not to be confused with the Church of Satan, which is a religious group.

When our elected officials forget that separation of church and state is a thing, The Satanic Temple is there to remind them.

When conservative leaders want to erect a monument of the ten commandments on government property, TST argues that, for the sake of religious equality, they too should be allowed to erect a monument representing their religion–Satan! Well, technically, Baphomet. And while we’re at it, every other religious should have a statue too. If you’re going to break the rules for one, you gotta do it for them all.

They’re hilarious on Twitter, too.

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