Did you know that a film can be made without a camera? Believe it or not animation’s opportunities are endless. Come and join us at the Fest Anča International Animation Festival – between 29 June and 3 July 2016 – and you’ll see for yourself! One of our main festival guests will be Montreal director Steve Woloshen who creates his films and time-lapse installations through scratches, grooves, colour splashing, and etching directly onto film stock. He will teach you his craft at the all-day Scratchatopia workshop.
The fact that Steve’s work frequently appears at the most prominent film festivals and first-rate galleries demonstrates his unique artistry. Seeing him amidst his creative process is a truly remarkable experience. He makes his films in the car, at work, and while waiting for and boarding a plane – in other words – wherever and whenever he finds at least ten consecutive minutes to work. He’s rarely seen without his accompanying animation kit – a set of small wooden boxes with film stock, inks, craft tools, and flashlight.
This one-of-a-kind Montreal artist is active as a professor, festival juror, animator and artisan. For a very long time he worked as a driver in the Montreal film industry. In 2004 he channelled all his behind-the-steering-wheel experience by transforming it into his first film – made in a car. The film took him ten long years to make and bears a fitting name – 1000 Plateaus (2014). He cleverly placed wooden boxes with 35mm filmstrips between the driver’s and front passenger’s seat. When not driving, he was animating. What he finds the most interesting are all the conversations that the little boxes sparked off. The numerous respected film directors, actors and film crew members he drove around wouldn’t talk about recent on-set events, but instead asked what Steven was doing. Some didn’t have the slightest idea how to make an animated film without a camera. Some even called him a lunatic. Many would start reminiscing about their student lives, ask him details of his life, or try to draw one or two film frames. According to Woloshen, this proves that anyone can create a cinematographic piece and simultaneously talk about it.
Since 1999 Steven has worked solely in 35mm CinemaScope film format, an oddity in the world of independent film production, the use of which is enabled by the animator’s otherwise economical means of production.
Just like in jazz music, often accompanying his works improvisation and chance play an important role in Steven’s work. As he says, “I want to take some risks with every film. And I want the audience to know I’ve taken those risks. I also told myself that I would not preview my films in progress. I want to be the first audience member to surprise myself when I view the final film.” It is therefore no coincidence that his flicks are like small gemstones accompanied by incredible music and staggering visuals.
Not too long ago Steven published Scratchatopia, a guidebook that explained the process of creating handmade films by damaging and reusing film stock, as well as other analogue production techniques. Another practical guidebook about camera-less animation is Scratch, Crackle & Pop! Steven will teach festival attendees something about drawn-on-film animation during his Scratchatopia workshop, and initiate them into the technique of animation without camera during his masterclass.
This year’s Fest Anča will offer a wide array of exciting workshops and accompanying events, Game Days, a bonanza batch of films, and a number of interesting guests from the animation world. Big names to look forward to are the American directorial duo of Stephen and Timothy Quay, role models for numerous filmmakers and the focus of intense media interest. Another highlight of the 9th Fest Anča will be a focus on Balkan animation.
Translation: Zuzana Hábeková