Is LGBTQ+ A Genre?

Written by Teen Writers Kyle Gerstel and Anna Martin and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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Well, what makes a film a western: the tone, or the cowboys? There is a specific procedure followed by most cowboy movies to effectively portray the (glorified) joys and hardships of cowboy life, with subject and style aligning to form the western genre. However, LGBTQ+ cinema has much broader potential, since a character’s gender and sexuality can be explored in multitudes of ways and don’t dictate every aspect of a story. This suggests that LGBTQ+ should not be considered a genre, but rather a categorization.

However, is that useful to queer people? Due to the inaccessibility of arthouse films, many young LGBTQ+ folks are forced to navigate mainstream entertainment giants like Netflix for crumbs of representation, which can be exhausting. According to GLAAD, a media organization dedicated to LGBTQ+ coverage, less than 20% of films from major studios in 2019 had a character that explicitly identified as LGBTQ+. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in popular media, so streaming platforms having a category to make finding such stories easier can make the experience much less isolating. One Day at a Time cast. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer - © 2018 Getty Images

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Liminale: The Art of Transition and Resilience

Review of Liminale at Cornish College of the Arts

Written by Teen Writer Disha Cattamanchi and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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Even after eight months of a pandemic and the constant quarantine and mask protocols, the reality of COVID-19 and its predicaments has yet to set in for many. We are in a suspended limbo where events around the world pass through us like the wind, all left in our rooms peering at our computer screens for work or school. It’s exhausting, to say the very least, and without the reprieve of art or performance to look forward to, it seems even more hopeless. This very feeling of entrapment is thoughtfully explored through Liminale, a Zoom-adapted dance performance at the Cornish College of Arts, which escapes the boundaries of our homes as it transforms living spaces into a blank canvas. Performed by students Margaux Gex, Ashley Glen, Vivian Larsen, Lola Mahaney, Hannah Owens, Alexandra Pelzer, Kennedy Polovich, Madeleine Selby, Kristin Skelley, and Audrey Wright of Alice Gosti’s Dance 257-Creative Process for Remote Spaces, it utilizes the Zoom platform, altering our perceptions of proper creative spaces into something new and interesting in this transitional period of COVID-19. Liminale by Alice Gosti. Photo credit: Sarah Haskell

Critically acclaimed and award-winning choreographer Alice Gosti sought to transform the boundaries of Zoom into new horizons by expanding the reach that dancers had in their own homes. As viewers, we experimented with Zoom’s multitude of features, switching back and forth between viewing the dancers through gallery or single speaker mode. It was interesting to play around with these features and to see where I wanted to focus my attention the most. I found that I liked the gallery more, as I could draw parallels on all the dancers and their synchronous movements all at once.

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Spontaneous Starts Off With a Bang and Ends With A Letdown

Review of Spontaneous

Written by Teen Writer Valentine Wulf and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson

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Paramount Pictures’ Spontaneous (2020), directed by Brian Duffield, starts off with a bang. Mara Carlyle (Katherine Langford), a high school senior, is in class when the girl sitting in front of her explodes. Not like a bomb, but “like a balloon,” Mara explains later to her friend Tess McNulty (Hayley Law). Soon, more and more students begin exploding out of nowhere and the phenomenon is dubbed, after the high school where it occurred, “the Covington curse.”

Only a few days after the explosion, a boy named Dylan Hovemeyer (Charlie Plummer) suddenly confesses that he has a crush on Mara, and just as spontaneously as children began exploding, the movie takes a jarring shift from a blend of dark comedy, horror, and mystery into coming-of-age rom-com territory. This isn’t the first shift in genres, as the movie swings between horror movie, science fiction, action, and teen drama in a truly bizarre mashup that doesn’t work with the plot.

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It Can’t Happen Here Celebrates the Struggle

Review of It Can’t Happen Here at Berkeley Rep via ACT Theater

Written by Teen Writer Rosemary Sissel and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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Berkeley Rep's It Can't Happen Here is a celebration of hope amidst dark times. Fighting through the pandemic and revitalising an old form of storytelling, this radio show sends out a message to uplift our spirits.

Based on a 1935 novel written by Sinclair Lewis to warn about a possible American Hitler, this radio show centers around the authoritarian rise to power that we’re all very tired of by now. The first episode pelts listeners with nameless voices, all spouting different, but equally divisive, views of the (arguably) charismatic populist, Buzz Windrip. Revered by some, mocked by others, feared by the smartest, Windrip (played by David Kelly) cavorts into the Oval Office through a series of lies and mirage-like promises. But we are told by the creators of the show in a free pre-show introduction not to take these similarities to our current times too seriously, and I certainly don't.

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This November, Let’s Give Thanks to Art

Teen Editorial Staff November 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Eleanor Cenname and Mila Borowski

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We’ve made it to November, and we’ll need thirty more chicken scratches drawn on the wall before we can say we’ve made it to December. Between now and then, our calendar is full of activities—all of which will be happening in the confines of our own homes. If you, like us, need an escape from the same, familiar backdrop of wherever you Zoom from, we suggest going on some audio adventures.

This month, as we brace ourselves for the election, check out It Can't Happen Here, a satirical audio drama written in 1935 about a president promising to return the country to greatness; can it get any more relevant than that? Mustard Seeds, part of Pork Filled Production’s Unleashed Festival of pulp stories, explores the Underground Railroad through a staged reading. Explore a different underground phenomenon through Northwest Film Forum’s Newcomer, described as “A Seattle Hip-Hop Mixtape.” Newcomer packs in hundreds of local performances from Seattle’s vibrant hip-hop underground into 82 minutes.

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I Dream Of COVID-19: The Evolution of Theatre in the Age of Coronavirus

Review of COVID Dreams at 18th and Union

Written by Teen Writer Audrey Liepsna Gray and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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On March 23, 2020, Governor Jay Inslee issued the first stay-at-home order for Washington state in response to COVID-19. Plans were canceled, events were rescheduled. Inslee tentatively scheduled the first shutdown to last at least two weeks, but now self-quarantine and social distancing have been going on for seven months with hardly any sign of stopping. Being alone with ourselves has made things bleak and dire, and for artists all across the country, COVID-19 has signaled a substantial shift in the way we direct our creative energy. Forced out of venues but fueled by the crises of our day, a brilliant example of the adaptability of art has been revealed by the quarantine. Out of the ashes of the on-hold artistic scenes across the country, new art has emerged with new formats made for safety and perfected for the current age. COVID Dreams, a new play from Radial Theater Project and 18th & Union Seattle, is a perfect example of the evolution art has gone through in the one-of-a-kind time we’re living in.

COVID Dreams, directed by Merri Ann Osborne and written by Jacqueline Ware, is a part of a new era of innovative theatre that’s emerged during quarantine. It combines the necessary precautionary measures now needed to produce art with the easy intimacy and emotion of live production, despite the lack of an in-person audience. The play follows the conversation and personal connection between two college students as they wait for their professor to arrive for class and find themselves the only ones there. During the wait, they engage in lively talks about their lives in the age of coronavirus and impromptu a cappella performances about the stresses that consume their days. I had the amazing privilege to be able to talk with Osborne and Ware about COVID Dreams and gain insight into the world of play production and inspiration in quarantine. I quickly realized it’s been very strange and very, very limited.

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The Dance Must Go On: Pacific Northwest Ballet Returns with Online Performances

Review of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Rep 1

Written by Teen Writer Carolyn Davis and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson

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Ballet is a raw expression of emotions. Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Rep 1 includes excerpts from Jewels, inspired by iconic choreographer George Balanchine’s trip to Van Cleef and Arpels, the elegant and romanticized story of Swan Lake, a story of forbidden love between a man and a black swan, and Mopey, a ballet I had never seen before that transcended the constraints of typical ballet, offering a contrast in performances. Anyone can appreciate Rep 1, which offers a complex mix of divergent emotions that keeps you on the edge of your seat and is enjoyable both for ballet newcomers and veterans.

What intrigues me about ballet is its artful conveyance of emotion and message through movement. Most of us think of it as a structured dance form because it is commonly formatted the same way, but costumes, movement, and music can vary, producing different emotions in the audience. In Jewels, dancers embodied different types of gems through costumes and acting. Emeralds had one dancer with a flowing dress, elegantly dancing to the music. Rubies was performed by two dancers, dancing with a fiery passion to quick-paced music. Diamonds features two main dancers who, along with background dancers, dance around the stage gleefully and innocently. In all three of these performances, dancers kept their weightlessness and intention, each provoking a specific emotion for the audience to enjoy.

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Art as Activism Fall Workshop Lineup

Join TeenTix for a series of workshops on how art can be an act of activism.

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Join us for a series of FREE online TeenTix workshops exploring how art is a powerful tool for activism and the fight for racial justice. Each workshop will focus on a different genre of art including film, music, visual and performing arts. You’ll learn about the history of social justice movements and how art has played a role in both the past and present movements.

Use the links below to sign up for individual workshops, or all three! Arts Collaboration For Social Change: Using The Visual & Performing Arts as Tools For Cultural Resistance with David Rue

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XALT: Unraveling Distanced Chaos Reveals Self-Identified Truth

Feature on Whim W'Him's XALT

Written by Teen Writer Sumeya Block and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson

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Pandemic life is nothing new: it’s in the headline of every arts event, and it’s the center of every news story, hashtag, and home. It is shocking how rapidly a single word can trigger dread and create a sense of isolation, or even mania, within an entire population. In these many months, the world has faced a great deal of change, and while isolation has proven to be one of the biggest challenges, we all have found ways to create the personal interactions we so intensely crave. Art has been a surprisingly integral part of these interpersonal interactions—watching a live stream from your favorite singer can be just as engaging as a phone call with a friend, and viewing short films on Zoom together brings us that much closer to the ones we care about. The opportunity to become invested in art and creativity is, in many ways, more accessible than ever. Arts organizations have adapted to COVID-19 by utilizing their websites to increase interactivity with hope of adding the personal touches that help thaw the loneliness of their audiences and supporters. Theater and dance companies have faced the same challenge: how can a theater bring audiences the gift of a show and continue to offer cherished community spaces when they aren’t physically open? This summer season, the artists of local dance company Whim W’Him had to find that answer for themselves.

“We decided to pivot into making dance films” says Whim W’Him artistic director Olivier Wevers. Before COVID-19, the dance company’s summer season XALT was set to consist of two live shows—MANIFOLD and The Way It Is. These pieces intended to explore the human journey and bring the audience into an intimate storyline, latching onto the personal, yet universal, emotions of the audience members and artists alike. But COVID-19 spun the arts world on its head, leaving many dance companies unprepared and in search of new ways to reach audiences. XALT’S MANIFOLD, choreographed by Penny Saunders, and The Way It Is, choreographed by Wevers, use dance to perfectly capture the loneliness of quarantine. It is strangely comforting to see the socially distanced dancers in these performances tread carefully, so as not to step into each other’s space. Whim W'Him dancer Andrew McShea and company dancers performing Olivier Wevers' The Way It Is during a pop-up appearance at Myrtle Edwards Park in Seattle. Photo by Stefano Altamura.

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Bite-Size Shows from Rising Star Project’s RadioActive Musicals

Review of the Rising Star Project's RadioActive Musicals, presented by The 5th Avenue Theatre

Written by Teen Writer Frances Vonada and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla

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Theater is characterized by careful rehearsal, yet there is a reason for the saying “the show must go on”: surprises always crop up, requiring creative problem-solving. A week before rehearsals for The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Rising Star Project were supposed to start, Governor Jay Inslee issued the shelter in place order, requiring the students and mentors to adapt quickly. Their solution was to live-stream the musicals on Facebook.

This year, the musicals are inspired by a true story from KUOW’s RadioActive podcast. Each production explores a different issue in the modern world. Beyond Boundaries, with book and music by Lydia Hayes, utilizes a science fiction premise to create an insightful allegory about the significant link between one’s name and one’s identity. The Pen With Four Colors, with music by James McGough and Lucas Oktay and book by Morgan Gwertzman, is a testament to the healing power of art. However, I felt most strongly about the shows Bad Trip and Gut Feeling, which I have expanded on below.

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A Celebration of All Things Verse

Review of Spotlight Poetry livestreamed by the Hugo House

Written by Teen Writer Bayla Cohen-Knott and edited by Teen Editor Mila Borowski

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It just wasn’t fitting for such an event to end with the Zoom window closing. More fitting would have been a standing ovation before reflecting in a dim lobby while eating scones. Instead, I closed my laptop, left alone to contemplate the words of visiting poets Tess Taylor and Julia Guez, who joined the three hosts of The Poet Salon podcast, Gabrielle Bates, Luther Hughes, and Dujie Tahat. The event was described on the Hugo House website as “a celebration of all things verse.” It truly lived up to that.

Gabrielle Bates, who started, showed us the immersive side of verse. She admitted to us that she was quite nervous, as it was her first virtual reading. Often I assume that professional writers are comfortable with vulnerability, so I appreciated her candor. Bates’ openness set the stage for a genuine atmosphere where she delved into spooky fall feels. The first poem she read was entitled “How Judas Died.” Her voice softened and she won us over with her haunting imagery. She continued with “Conversation with Mary,” where she tells us of a nightmare in which she was impregnated by God. Her language was so certain, I was itching to have the lines in front of me to re-read and explore. During her reading of her poem “Pre-Elegy for Dad,” in response to the line “He is my mother,” the Zoom chat was flooded with awed remarks. She finished with “The Mentor.” My favorite line from this poem was “keeping language close to my mouth,” which evoked thoughts of a certain tug-of-war between speaking and voice. Her surreal images and thought-provoking lines threw me right into the deep end, where I would stay for the entire evening. Gabrielle Bates reading at Spotlight Poetry hosted by the Hugo House. Photo courtesy of Hugo House.

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How the Company You’ve Never Heard of Made Technology What It is Today

Review of Simulmatics and the Advent of Data-Mining livestreamed via Town Hall Seattle

Written by Teen Writer Leyla Richter-Munger and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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It’s easy to look at the issues of modern technology— privacy, property, misinformation—and assume it’s all a product of the last ten or so years. Before then, it was all clunky computers and waiting for hours for a single file to download, so it’s logical to think many of the philosophical conversations we’re having about our current technological state must be solely unique to this very moment in time. Right?

That’s what Jill Lepore thought too, before she discovered the secret beginnings of all of this “how far is too far?” technology controversy with roots far earlier than she’d imagined. In her new book If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future, the author and acclaimed professor of American history delves into the complex tale of the Simulatics Corporation of the early sixties and how it laid the groundwork for much of today’s technological and political landscapes. Through Town Hall Seattle, she and fellow historian Margaret O’Mara sat down over Zoom livestream to discuss her findings and further unpack just how influential this virtually unknown company truly was. Now, I went into this livestream having never heard of Simulatics, or the book, or even Lepore herself, and yet, I was hooked from the get go.

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The October Anthology

Teen Editorial Staff October 2020 Editorial

Written by Teen Editorial Staff Members Lily Williamson and Lucia McLaren

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Today, it seems as though nothing is united. The world is a chaotic, nuanced place as always. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing—our local arts venues are exploring how parts of a whole can be complementary, inspiring thought instead of confusion. Whether you’re desperate to know when your favorite show will be reopening or just want some fun art during this fall season, we hope our reviews will help you guide your October arts exploration.

If you’re looking for a true collection of short pieces, then there are plenty of events for you to choose from. There’s The 5th Avenue Theatre’s Rising Star Project’s 10 Minute Musicals, a collection of teen-produced and teen-inspired musicals; Pacific Northwest Ballet kicking off their first online season with excerpts from classic dances like Swan Lake in Rep 1; and Hugo House’s Spotlight Poetry, a show with visiting poets Julia Guez and Tess Taylor. Each of these events provides a plethora of diverse topics, all within the same medium.

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Temporary Occupancy: “Isolation During a Time of Isolation”

Review of Temporary Occupancy at ArtsWest

Written by Teen Writer Disha Cattamanchi and edited by Teen Editor Triona Suiter

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A woman talks to her dead partner, and a man takes an LSD trip that borders on insanity and self-awakening; both of which are a part of the shared experience of Temporary Occupancy, an intimate outlook presented as exploring “isolation during a time of isolation.” It’s a piece that navigates the boundaries of transient living at a time where we all long for something that is more concrete. Based on its claims to “offer us an escape from the confines of our own mind,” I truly expected to be transported to a nether dimension somewhere on my computer screen. Because of the unsettling revelations about loneliness and loss, paired with how the characters interact with the hotel space, I certainly was. As the ensemble acts out the raw, realistic silhouettes of everyday people in a hotel room, you can truly see why this show of pandemic-era theater excels.

Originally intended to be performed live in a Miami Beach Hotel, Temporary Occupancy has been adapted by Philadelphia immersive theater company Die-Cast, in partnership with ArtsWest, to adhere to a more relevant, COVID-centered experience. With the utilization of cameras and technology to convey personal and heart-wrenching experiences to the audience, viewers can engross themselves in the at-home experience by taking an intake questionnaire with the front desk or messaging with an ominous man named Jude. These technical tools are part of the Vicurious Boutique, a special boutique that is the central idea of Temporary Occupancy. It is a simulation-centered, RPG-like interface that allows you to reach within yourself without feeling the negative effects of it on your mental psyche. By offering things like soothing background music to calm you while you take your intake exam and frequent consultation with the front desk, Temporary Occupancy effectively simulates a hotel room without the in-person experience.

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Getting Into Good Trouble

Review of John Lewis: Good Trouble at SIFF

Written by Teen Writer Carolyn Davis and edited by Teen Editor Lucia McLaren

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The documentary Good Trouble, hosted by SIFF, is a skillfully told biography of the iconic civil and human rights activist John Lewis. With a heart of gold and the courage to stand up for his nation, Lewis urges us not to stay quiet, but to get in “good trouble, necessary trouble,” which he says will “redeem the soul of America.” The cinematography in this documentary is unique in that it shows both footage from the current day and the 1960s. Lewis himself said he was seeing footage he had never seen before. The film was an excellent representation of the Civil Rights era, as well as the heroes of that time. It was focused on Lewis’ life, but also incorporated the lives of others who impacted him and the change we see today.

The way the film highlights non-violence is very impactful to me because it is about getting into “good trouble.” The fact that peaceful marches and sit-ins get the most screen-time shows how the movement for the lives and rights of Black people has always been peaceful—whether it was the March on Washington in 1963 or the Black Lives Matter marches today. Photo Credit: Magnolia Pictures

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Welcome to the Moulin Rouge!

Review of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge!
Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Disha Cattamanchi and edited by Teen Editor Mila Borowski

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It’s a dark night—so dark that the clouds seem to eat the stars. Yet, you stumble forward until you are in front of a scarlet windmill and a towering elephant. It’s a place where the bohemians revel in their ways of truth, beauty, freedom and love. Where men gaze upon the layers of frills and ruffles that dress the can-can dancers. You can hear the singing of “Sparkling Diamonds” and a heartfelt love ballad echoing throughout the night. Welcome to the glamorous Moulin Rouge!, a romantic drama that follows the poet Christian (Ewan McGregor) and Moulin Rouge courtesan Satine (Nicole Kidman) in their attempt to conceal their love from Satine’s suitor, the Duke (Richard Roxburgh). Directed and written by Baz Luhrmann, this jukebox musical exceeded expectations when it came to the production of movie musicals.

Those who have watched Moulin Rouge! fall into one of two groups; they either love it or hate it. Ever since I first watched this whimsical drama, I fell in love with the costumes and characters. But above all, this movie’s use of editing and cinematography is what makes it great. Jump cuts and fast panning shots are frequent throughout the first act. These shots feel psychedelic with their haphazard movement through velvet curtains, waves of ornate dresses, and drunk men. The cinematography captures the Moulin Rouge’s eccentricity, an aspect that contrasts with newcomer Christian’s lifestyle; the Moulin Rouge is truly unlike anything the aspiring poet from England has ever seen. During his arrival, we see the Moulin Rouge as Christian sees it: a flamboyant dreamland of vivid colors. The jarring cuts that capture his experience ease up as the film progresses and Christian gets used to the Moulin Rouge’s outlandishness, though the eccentricity does not lessen. Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor in Moulin Rouge! (2001) Photo by Sue Adler, 2001 - 20th Century Fox - All Rights Reserved

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An Ode to Childhood, Memory, and Fatherhood

Review of Our Time Machine at NW Film Forum

Written by TeenTix Newsroom writer Yoon Lee and edited by Teen Editor Mila Borowski

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The first scenes when watching Our Time Machine are of shadow puppets, held up to a light against a translucent screen. The warm, gentle light filtering through the yellowing paper; the lifelike, flowing movements of the son puppet pedalling on a bicycle as his aging father chases after him; the soft glow highlighting the son in bed; the tinkling of toys and bikes; this whole opening oozes of nostalgia, the memories of being a child. Much like Papa’s Time Machine, the play this scene is taken from, this movie is an ode to a child’s memories of his father.

Directed by Yang Sun, S. Leo Chiang, and Shuang Liang, (and produced by Yang Sun and S. Leo Chiang), Our Time Machine follows an artistic photographer, Ma Liang (Maleonn) on a journey to create, fund, and ultimately perform his play Papa’s Time Machine, a tribute to his father who is ailing from Alzheimer’s disease. Our Time Machine is a phenomenal movie. Most documentaries are built on going from one idea or fact to the next. In the context of the genre this is not a bad thing, documentaries are meant to convey information in an understandable manner to an audience. However, Our Time Machine is unique in how it is built like a true movie. It has unique pacing and plot points that keep you interested in the story of Maleonn as he struggles to create and fund his project as a tribute to his father. The sampling of interviews and behind-the-scenes footage are deliberate and well-used. Not a single scene is unnecessary. For example, there is a scene in the latter half of the movie where Maleonn's parents are moving to a retirement home. This is payoff to an earlier scene with Maleonn wishing to buy a house for them, but his mother expressing how she is being overwhelmed by his father’s deteriorating state. There is a scene where the mother and father are in a car, and the mother is declaring their moving to the home. Although short and without explicit dialogue, one can feel the emotion behind the scene. In addition, there are many scenes without explicit emotional reconciliation, and are upsetting emotionally; these examples demonstrate how reality is unkind, and oftentimes unforgiving. Maleonn with bird puppet. Photo credit: Maleonn Studio

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Don’t F**k With Cats Is a Brilliant Documentary That Never Should Have Been Made

Review of the Netflix documentary Don't F**k With Cats

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Valentine Wulf, and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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Content Warning: This review contains description of murder and animal violence. Not recommended for younger readers.

2010. A video appears on Youtube titled “1 boy 2 kittens.” In the video, a man in a blue jacket, the hood obscuring his face, places two kittens on the ugliest wolf blanket you ever did see. He pets them briefly, before placing them in a vacuum bag. He attaches the vacuum to the bag. He turns the vacuum on. The internet loses its mind. After all, as internet sleuth Baudi Moovan said herself, “There’s one unwritten rule on the internet. Don’t f**k with cats.” The Netflix documentary, aptly named Don’t F**k With Cats, covers the story of the kitten killer and the scramble to catch him before he makes the leap from killing cats to killing humans.

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A NFFTY Artist Feature

Interview with filmmakers from the 2020 NFFTY Film Festival

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Kyle Gerstel and edited by Teen Editor Eleanor Cenname

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Barb Hoffman just wanted to draw on clouds. Now, her film, What We See in the Clouds, is up for a jury nomination at NFFTY, the largest youth film festival in the world. This week, I had the privilege to speak with her (virtually) as well as the young artistes behind God is a Lobster, another film debuting at the festival, to discuss their experience making films safely in the age of COVID-19. Let’s see what they’ve been up to:

In Hoffman’s What We See in the Clouds, she has her friends describe what they see in various pictures of—you guessed it—clouds. Then, Hoffman expresses the descriptions visually by drawing on top of the images, blurring the line between reality and imagination. Essentially, she crafted a cloud-centric Rorschach Test and conveyed her results through mixed-media animation. She chose this technique because “telling stories with actual imagery that we’re used to, plus images on top of it gives [the film] a sense of magical realism that I’m very intrigued in seeing.”

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