New Animation From Around the World


On Sunday May 22, 2011, 7:30 pm, at the Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian Los Angeles Filmforum presents an amazing selection from around the world of recent animation made for thinking adults, exploring techniques, landscapes, histories, physiology, and the animal kingdom in any number of insightful, beautiful, and amusing ways.  Three of the filmmakers, including one who curated the show, will be present to discuss their work.  A great way to catch up with the possibilities of animation today! Curated by Eric Leiser. Eric Leiser, Alice Cohen, and Gina Marie Napolitan in person! Los Angeles premieres!

“These Hammers Don’t Hurt Us”, by Michael Robinson (2010, USA, 13m. DV, color, sound) Tired of underworld and over world alike, Isis escorts her favorite son on their final curtain call down the Nile, leaving a neon wake of shattered tombs and sparkling sarcophagi.

“The External World” by David O’Reilly (2011, Ireland, 17m. HD, color, sound) A boy leans to play the piano
“Triumph of the Wild” by Martha Colburn (2009, USA, 10m. 35mm, color, sound) America beginning with the American Revolution, and WW1 & 2. (the film following covering Vietnam and the Middle East).
‘The hunting impulse as a primary force, the impotence of man in the face of nature, the senseless dominance of weapons, and destructive violence – all with an imagined ideal state of affairs in mind – represent major motifs’. – Birgid Uccia- Galerie Bob Van Orsouw
“Battery Cage” by Studio Smack (2009, Netherlands, 4m. HD, color, sound) Chickens interact in incredibly defined manners and form complicated social structures. Contrary to popular believe, scientific research at the University of Sidney pointed out that chickens living in a battery cage are happier. Their free-range sisters suffer from more stress, constantly living in fear of predators.
“Mirror Moves for Private Eyes” by Alice Cohen (2010, USA, 13m. DV, color, sound) “Mirror Moves for Private Eyes” explores the idea of The Mirror as a psychic receptor; a magical portal to visionary and ecstatic states, through self-reflection and visualization. The ritual use of beauty tools such as make-up, hair brushes, perfume, and other transformative implements, infuses these objects with a symbolic charge. Spaces such as movie theaters with lit-up marquees, and boudoirs with mysterious dressing tables, act as portals as well – power sites where time is fluid, and past and future co-exist. Auras of glamour, artifice and fantasy are used in a hypnotic, meditative way, creating pathways towards transcendence and personal gnosis.
“Mastering Bambi” by Persijn Broerson and Margit Luckas (2011, USA/Netherlands, 13m. HD, color, sound) Walt Disney’s 1942 classic animation film ‘Bambi’ is well known for its distinct main characters – a variety of cute, anthropomorphic animals – and for its explicitly environmental theme. However, an important but often overlooked protagonist in the movie is nature itself: the pristine wilderness as the main grid on which Disney structured his ‘Bambi’.  Broersen and Lukács recreate the model of Disney’s pristine vision, but they strip the forest of its harmonious inhabitants, the animals. What remains is another reality, a constructed and living wilderness, where nature becomes a mirror for reflecting upon ourselves.  The soundtrack is made by Berend Dubbe and Gwendolyn Thomas.

“Remisequenz” by Xenia Lesniewski (2010, Germany, 3m. Digibeta)
Remisequenz guides the audience through a seemingly recognizable world, which repeatedly slips into obscurity. The viewers determine what they see or want to see, and the experience is reinforced by the slightly disturbing soundtrack.
“City of Progress” by Justine Bennet (2008, Netherlands, 11m. HD, black and white, sound) “A city could start like this drawing:
first there’s an empty space and then an event: a dot on the paper.”
The animated film ’City of Progress’ traces the growth of an imaginary city as it expands from a single dot into a proliferation of lines and geometric forms, representing the physical development of a city. As Bennett points out in the accompanying voice-over  commentary, organic urban growth is soon curbed by laws and regulations, reshaped  by project developers or armed conflicts. The creative act of drawing, as well as that of founding a city, is put under the magnifying glass – resulting in a reflection on the in- exorable expansion of our urban areas. ’City of Progress’ embodies our quest for utopia, while attesting to the difficulty of attaining it.
“Forest” by Eric Leiser (2008, USA, 3m. HD, color, sound) Nature is an eternal source of motives, shapes and laws. Reinventing or recomposing it is a tempting exercise, maybe unavoidable in the animate world. In some cases, the natural is mysterious and primitive. Forces and rare creatures inhabit this hypnotic and disturbing forest.           
“Demons and Cathedrals” by Gina Marie Napolitan  (2010, USA, 5m. 16mm, color, sound) Amnesia and childhood, spooky synthesizers, pod people. A strange old almanac and a rose garden in the ruins of the world.
Alice Cohen is an animator and musician living in Brooklyn, NY. Prior to working in animation, she composed and released recordings in a variety of group and solo projects. Her visual work is informed by her involvement with music, and her collage work draws on pop culture sensibilities, recycling vividly colored found imagery from old books and magazines to create surreal dreamscapes combining different eras. She often composes the music for her stop motion videos, and has created music videos for bands, as well as purely art-based videos.
Eric Leiser is an award-winning filmmaker, animator, puppeteer, writer, holographer and multi-media artist who graduated from CalArts experimental animation program. He creates animated feature films and shorts as well as works that integrate animation, puppetry, holography, sound and live performance/installation. Leiser is interested in how animation transforms perception when it is combined with live action space creating a fantastical/spiritually surrealistic quality.  His animation/live action feature/ shorts have been shown at MASS MoCA, (BFI) British Film Institute, (V & A) Victoria and Albert Museum, The Istanbul Modern Museum of Art, The Ruben H. Fleet Space Museum, Thessaloniki Center of Contemporary Art, Anthology Film Archives, among others. Eric’s fine art holographic paintings have exhibited at Fringe Exhibitions in Los Angeles, California; Goldsmiths, University of London; School of the Arts Institute of Chicago; and the Ruben H. Fleet Space Center in San Diego, California, and Live With Animals in New York City.
Gina Marie Napolitan is a filmmaker/animator originally from the former industrial metropolis of Brockton, Massachusetts.  Inspired largely by found objects and the landscape of her native city, Napolitan’s work utilizes puppetry and collage to address themes of memory, history, and forgetting. Her films have screened in the Boston Underground Film Festival, and her paintings and collages have been exhibited throughout the Greater Boston area. Napolitan received her BFA in Film/Video from Massachusetts College of Art in 2003 and is currently an MFA candidate in the Experimental Animation program at California Institute of the Arts.
Los Angeles Filmforum is the city’s longest-running organization screening experimental and avant-garde film and video art, documentaries, and experimental animation.  2011 is our 36th year.

This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Additional support generously provided by American Cinematheque.

For Screenings at the Egyptian Theater:
Parking is easiest at the Hollywood & Highland complex. Bring your ticket for validation. Parking is $2 for 4 hours with validation. Enter that complex on Highland or Hollywood. The theater is 1.5 blocks east.

The Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Blvd. (at Las Palmas), Los Angeles CA 90028
More information at  
Admission $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members
Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets:


About Author

Robin Menken

Robin Menken Robin Menken lives in Los Angeles. She was the Artistic Director of the Second City Workshops, taught at UC Berkeley, USC, Barcelona\'s Ateneu and the Esalin Institute. She was Roberto Rossellini\'s assistant, and worked with Yevgeny Vevteshenku, Glauber Rocha and Eugene Ionesco. She sold numerous screenplays and wrote the OBIE winning The FTA SHow (touring with Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland and Ben Vereen.) She was a programming consultant and Special Events co-ordinator for numerous film festivals, including the SF, Rio, Havana and N.Y Film Festivals. Her first news outlet was the historic East Village Other.

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