The second MANIPULATE event to showcase the wonders of animation, Animated Womxn is a celebration of some of the exceptional womxn working in the visual arts industry. Through a programme of 12 VFX and stop-motion shorts, Puppet Animation Scotland have curated an evening spotlighting a group of extremely skilled animators and storytellers from all over the world (including some home-grown talent).
The versatility of the animations presented – their movements, textures, and tones – is a marvel to take in. Each animation has its own signature, its own mode of storytelling. Equally diverse are the themes presented throughout the evening; there are animations exploring love and loss, friendship, womxnhood, and loneliness – just to list a few.
Though there is something to be admired in all of the excellent animations presented, there are a few standouts. The evening opens strongly with ‘Wild Woman’ by Vanessa Sweet, whose poem about motherhood is beautifully illustrated through vibrant yet still soft watercolours. Another unique short is Ali Aschman’s ‘Body Echo’, which uses porcelain figurines to explore a young woman’s fragility. The exposure of the joints and incorporation of the porcelain’s sound into the sound design presents a fascinating exploration of identity and mental health – which is all the more impressive given the challenges Aschman faced when experimenting with the new material (as she explained in the following Q&A session). Finally, Camila Kater’s ‘CARNE’ demonstrates why the Brazilian animator has made the longlist for the 2021 Oscars. Exploring womxn’s relationships with their bodies as they age, Kater takes advantage of the five different anecdotes featured to experiment with various visual techniques – presenting us with a visual feast.
The only drawback to the evening is the seeming lack of structure and rapid pace. There is no pause between each film, and so occasionally the abrupt change in tone can be quite jarring. The films also all vary in length, and so the shorter pieces regrettably get lost among the longer pieces. Had they been presented thematically rather than a random mix, with a slide to recognise whose work we’re about to see, perhaps the pieces could’ve been savoured more.
Still, these structural issues take little away from what is a captivating evening of film. Animated Womxn proves that womxn in the film industry should not be underestimated and their work deserves to be seen and shared.
MANIPULATE runs from 27 Jan – 7 Feb 2021