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Alla Gadassik

Film & Animation Scholar and Curator

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Alla

Fruit of All (2008), 2:20min

Fruit of All is one of three short films produced as part of my joint Master’s degree at York University / Ryerson University. During my graduate studies I was especially interested in experimental animation, including connections or fissures between analog and digital animation. With this film, I explored my computer’s flatbed scanner as a digital “direct animation” device by scanning and rendering the flesh of fruit. The scanned images were paired with hand-drawn animation made using a digital drawing tablet. Making this film really transformed how I understand the concept of “indexicality,” which throughout the 20th century was often misleadingly used to separate photography from drawings, or live-action from animated cinema.

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Still Moving (2008), 2:50min

Still Moving is one of three short films produced as part of my joint Master’s degree at York University / Ryerson University. During my graduate studies I was especially interested in experimental animation, including how different hand-made animation processes foster different relationships between a filmmaker’s body and filmmaking technology. This particular film was sparked by Oskar Fischinger’s wax experiments (1921-1926), which were produced by slicing through pillars of multicoloured wax (using a kind of custom guillotine) and photographing the slices one at a time [decades later a variation on this method would be known as “stratacut animation”).

Continue reading “Still Moving (2008), 2:50min”

City Body (2008), 4:30min

City Body was one of three short films produced as part of my joint Master’s degree at York University and Ryerson University. During my graduate studies I was especially interested in experimental animation, particularly “direct animation,” in which the image is produced directly on a film celluloid strip by scratching, painting, manipulating light and otherwise using the celluloid as a direct canvas. The direct animation experiments of Norman McLaren, Len Lye, and Harry Smith were very important to me. Why did their films affect me in a certain way, and to what extent did specific materials (celluloid film projection) or specific filmmaking gestures (hand-drawing and scratching) play a role in their sensory and rhythmic effects? 

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Looking for Anne (2010), 5:00min

Looking for Anne was a short video produced for a travelling cross-Canada exhibition marking the centennial anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s book Anne of Green Gables. The video toured the exhibition nationally and introduced key themes from Dr. Irene Gammel’s book Looking for Anne: How Lucy Maud Montgomery Dreamed Up a Literary Classic. The video was produced as part of my affiliation with the Modern Literature & Culture Centre (MLC) at Ryerson University at the time.

Marion and Gen (2010), 7:10min

Marion and Gen (2010), is a film/video essay and accompanying text. This project was commissioned as part of the Requiem//102 Project.  The “Requiem//102” project was a collaboration between artists, scholars, and writers. Each contributor wrote (or made) a response based on one still frame from Darren Aronofsky’s 2000 film Requiem for a Dream. My contribution is a short film that begins with my assigned still image and then forms an alternate biography for the character of Marion Silver.

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Meryl Strip (2011), 6:30min

Meryl Strip a short film (gallery installation) exhibited at Brock Gallery in Evanston, Illinois. The film dissects the body of Meryl Streep in her cinematic incarnations, looking for traces of a single skeleton beneath the diverse landscape of her personas and narratives. Behind decades of comedies, dramas, and musicals, behind the film bodies of Jews, Italians, and Americans, I sought an always recurring and familiar set of gestures and movements that could only belong to Meryl.

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Conference Talk (SCMS 2013): “The Animated Line: Performing and Generating Movement in Early Animation”

(March 9, 2013). For this year’s Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference, I organized a panel devoted to the technique of generating movement in animation. Of course, it seems obvious that animation is particularly preoccupied with creating movement, and that animators develop different techniques (or strategies) to “make things move.” But what kinds of movement are chosen or emphasized in the animation process? And how do different kinds of filmmaking techniques influence the range and qualities of movement that are animated on the screen? The panel included four talks that considered the role of mechanical and electronic models movement in the history of animation, focusing on case studies that spanned early film, classical drawn animation, and early computer animation traditions.

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Film Screening: “Defining Experimental Animation” (16mm film)

(March 8, 2013). This year’s Society of Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) annual conference took place in Chicago, and as an active member of the society’s Animated-Media Special Interest Group, I volunteered to organize our group’s annual conference event. The result was a wonderful night of watching and talking about experimental animated films — some familiar and beloved, others less-known but equally remarkable. Continue reading “Film Screening: “Defining Experimental Animation” (16mm film)”

Workshop: “Writing the Academic Cover Letter”

(January 18, 2013). As a writing genre, the academic cover letter is surrounded by too much mystery, and it elicits unmerited levels of anxiety. Since we’re talking about academic writing in general, that’s saying something. As part of my fellowship at Northwestern University’s Graduate Writing Place, I developed a professionalization workshop on the dreaded “job letter,” geared specifically toward students in my department of media studies. Continue reading “Workshop: “Writing the Academic Cover Letter””

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