Beacon Hill animator presents evening of short films

A still from Tess Martin's They Look Right Through You.
A still from Tess Martin’s They Look Right Through You.
Beacon Hill’s own Tess Martin, a multi-faceted animator who’s been featured at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), presents an evening of animated shorts on Saturday, August 3, at 4 p.m. at Capitol Hill’s Northwest Film Forum.

The show, curated by Martin and titled Strange Creatures: Contemporary Independent Animation From Seattle, features ten short subjects from seven local animators, all members of the Seattle Experimental Animation Team, and all focused — for the purposes of this show — on animal and/or nature themes.

The best-known artist in the show is probably Seattle native Bruce Bickford. Mr. Bickford made several clay animations for Frank Zappa and is featured in his own documentary, Monster Road, named for an actual road in his old neighborhood. A longtime master in clay, Bickford’s been working more recently in pencil animation. The show features an excerpt from a pencil-drawn work-in-progress, Dream Of A Beatnik Poet.

Ms. Martin included two of her own works: The Whale Story, animated on a 16-foot wall at Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park, and They Look Right Through You, a mediation on the difficulties of understanding house pets, shot using marker-on-glass animation.

Webster Crowell presents a coming-attraction teaser for his Rocketmen project, an old-style segmented movie serial about government sentinels left behind by a changing world, waiting for their chance to shine anew. Drew Christie’s Song Of The Spindle features a heated debate between a man and a whale on the subject of who’s really the smartest species on Earth.

Christie also contributes Hi! I’m A Nutria, shot for the New York Times, about a rodent who’s arrived and wants to go native. Britta Johnson’s Crashing Waves explores the psychological travails of two shipwreck survivors washed up on a desert island. Are they controlling nature, or are they losing their exhausted minds?

Clyde Petersen’s Harsh Tokes And Bong Jokes takes us back to the agony, the ecstasy, and the parts perhaps better forgotten, of young people growing up queer in 1990s Seattle. Stefan Gruber looks at slightly younger people in his Edible Rocks short, the story of the animator playing a prank on his baby brother.

Another Britta Johnson work, King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-Oh, concludes the program, using watercolors to depict the courtship of a frog and a mouse. The soundtrack song is by Laura Veirs, featuring the banjo of Bela Fleck.

Each guest will receive a zine program designed by Seattle cartoonist Marc Palm, featuring portraits of the filmmakers by comic artist Kelly Froh.

The screening takes place on Saturday, August 3, at 4:00 p.m. at the Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave. Tickets are $10 for the general public, $6 for Film Forum members, and $7 for seniors, children under 12 and students with valid photo ID. Tickets may be purchased online at the Film Forum website.

For more information, consult the Experimental Animation page.

2 thoughts on “Beacon Hill animator presents evening of short films”

Comments are closed.