Broad Strokes: Pioneering Women in Animation - Thur. Jan. 15 - 8PM

Oddball Films and curator Kat Shuchter presents Broad Strokes: Pioneering Women in Animation, celebrating the legacy of some of the innovative women to bring pictures to life.  This beautiful program features a variety of silhouette, stop-motion, sand, cut-out and cell-animation with work by Lotte Reiniger, Evelyn Lambart, Hermína Týrlová, Eva Szasz, Caroline Leaf, Faith Hubley, Mary Blair and more! While the animation world (and the film world in general) is overwhelmingly a man's game, these women defied the odds and brought us some of the most imaginative, lush and artistic films in animation history.  Lotte Reiniger completed the very first  animated feature in 1926, The Adventures of Prince Achmed, and her eastern-inspired silhouette puppetry is breathtaking in its delicate intricacy.  Tonight, we will be screening two of her delightful 1954 fairy tale shorts: Snow White and Rose Red and The Gallant Little Tailor. From the fertile grounds of the National Film Board of Canada, come two vibrant cut-out shorts from former technical director Evelyn Lambart, Fine Feathers (1968) and Mr. Frog Goes a Courtin' (1974); from the Oscar-nominated Caroline Leaf, the astounding sand animation based on Inuit legend, The Owl Who Married a Goose (1976); and from Eva Szasz, Cosmic Zoom (1968) the film that Ray and Charles Eames remade as Powers of Ten many years later. From the former Czechoslovakia, two charming stop-motion shorts from the first animator to use wire-framed puppets, Hermína Týrlová; Ferda the Ant (1941) and The Little Train (1959). From the unsung ladies at W@lt Di$ney studios, Blame it on the Samba (1948), featuring the brilliant technicolor visions of the incomparable colorist and designer Mary Blair and F@ntasia's Pastoral Symphony (1940), inspired by the concept art of story-lead Sylvia Moberly-Holland.  Plus, Oscar-winning Faith Hubley's first solo project; the poetic and historic Women of the World (1977), and an excerpt from Animal Farm (1954) co-directed by Britain's most successful animation producer Joy Batchelor (yes the Batchelor in Halas and Batchelor Studios). All shorts screened on 16mm film from the archive.

Date: Thursday, January 15th, 2015 at 8:00PM.
Venue: Oddball Films, 275 Capp Street, San Francisco
Admission: $10.00, limited seating RSVP to: 415-558-8117 or RSVP

Highlights Include:

2 Silhouette Films by Lotte Reiniger 
These animated adaptations of several of the most classic fairytales are this program’s main course.  Unmatched in their imaginative innovation, Lotte Reiniger’s use of silhouetted cutouts seems the perfect medium for bringing to life these whimsical tales.  Ornate and elegant. While rightly celebrated for her 1926 film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (widely credited as the first feature length animation), Lotte Reiniger’s vast body of short films remains largely overlooked.  

Snow White and Rose Red (B+W, 1954)
The classic Grimm fairy tale of two girls, a bear, a dwarf with a magical ending. Like all her films there is an elegance in Reiniger’s silhouettes that is unmatched by more conventional animation. In this film she crafts beautifully stylized landscapes in this alternate Grimm tale (not to be confused with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves).

The Gallant Little Tailor (B+W, 1954)
Reiniger's version of the Brothers Grimm tale, in which a tailor successfully outwits two fearsome giants. It was awarded the Silver Dolphin prize at the 6th Venice Biennale in 1955.

Two from Evelyn Lambart

Fine Feathers (Color, 1968)
A charming cut out animation from Norman McLaren's frequent collaborator Evelyn Lambart.  Two birds try to show each other up by trading their feathers for foliage and both end up paying the consequences when the wind ruffles their leaves.  Lambart spent much of her early career animating McLaren't work, but as he spent more time making ballet films, she began to direct her own shorts, utlizing a technique in which she would transfer paper cut-outs to lithograph plates, then paint and animate the plates.  

Mr. Frog Went A-Courtin' (Color, 1974)
A gorgeous animation that truly gets to the heart of the inter-species strangeness that is the folk favorite “Froggie Goes A-Courtin'”. From the National Film Board of Canada, directed by Evelyn Lambart, and sung by Derek Lamb. Lambart's vibrant cut-out animation style shines in this ornate menagerie of adorable.  The tone is at once joyous with a discordantly bleak ending.

Two from Hermína Týrlová

Ferda The Ant (B+W, 1941)
Based on the popular children's book, this darling stop-motion short features the titular protagonist facing off against a vicious arachnid while attempting to finish a hard day of work.  When Ferda and his friend are caught in the spider's web, they must free themselves or be lunch.  Made by one of the founding mothers of Czech animation, Hermína Týrlová, this innovative and beautiful film features the first use of wire-frame puppets in stop-motion animation.

Little Train (Color, 1959)
The grandmother of stop-motion animation Hermína Týrlová, who was the first animator to work with wired puppets, brings us this peppy tale of an old steam train that wants to get out and see the world.

The Owl Who Married a Goose (B+W, 1976, Caroline Leaf)
A mesmerizing sand-animation based on an Inuit legend touting the consequences of not staying true to your own nature. Made for the NFB by the always innovative Caroline Leaf who experimented with multiple forms of animation, from sand-animation to paint-on-glass.  Leaf was nominated for an Academy Award for The Street (1976).

Cosmic Zoom (Color, 1968, Eva Szasz)
The film starts with an aerial image of a boy rowing a boat on the Ottawa River. The movement then freezes and view slowly zooms out, revealing more of the landscape all the time. The continuous zoom-out takes the viewer on a journey from Earth, past the Moon, the planets of the Solar System, the Milky Way and out into the far reaches of the known universe. The process is then reversed, and the view zooms back through space to Earth, returning to the boy on the boat. It then zooms in to the back of the boy's hand, where a mosquito is resting. It zooms into the insect's proboscis and on into the microscopic world, concluding at nucleolus level. It then zooms back out to the original view of the boy on the boat.

Women of the World (WOW) (Color, 1975, Faith Hubley)
Wife and partner of animator John Hubley (sharing several Oscars), Faith Hubley began work on Women of the World as her first solo project (with help from other women in her circle, including daughter Georgia (drummer/vocalist for Yo La Tengo). Using ritualistic Goddess imagery from different ancient civilizations, Hubley creates a beautiful and artistic history of the world from a feminist point of view.

Blame it on the Samba (Color, 1948) 
An unforgettable and mesmerizing Technicolor film mix of live action and animation featuring Ethel Smith, the Dinning Sisters and a dizzying array of animated characters. Produced by Walt D*sney and featuring the stunning color palette of the visionary 
colorist and designer Mary Blair.

“If a woman can do the work as well, she is worth as much as a man. The girl artists have the right to expect the same chances for advancement as men, and I honestly believe they may eventually contribute something to this business that men never would or could.” - Walt Di$ney

About Oddball Films

Oddball films is the film component of Oddball Film+Video, a stock footage company providing offbeat and unusual film footage for feature films like Milk, documentaries like The Summer of Love, television programs like Mythbusters, clips for Boing Boing and web projects around the world.

Our films are almost exclusively drawn from our collection of over 50,000 16mm prints of animation, commercials, educational films, feature films, movie trailers, medical, industrial military, news out-takes and every genre in between. We’re actively working to present rarely screened genres of cinema as well as avant-garde and ethno-cultural documentaries, which expand the boundaries of cinema. Oddball Films is the largest film archive in Northern California and one of the most unusual private collections in the US. We invite you to join us in our weekly offerings of offbeat cinema.