Early in the evening, Signe graciously had dinner with a group of us and spent no small amount of time answering our questions and discussing her filmmaking process--both over dinner and after her screening. It was an experience you can't get from reading an article on the Internet. Unless you are fortunate enough to arrange a skype meeting, experiences like these can only be had at society screenings and festivals. Then it was off to the Cinecycle. With the NFB closing their location on John Street, the Cinecycle opened their doors to the TAIS events. I wasn't complaining, the Cinecycle is closer to my usual hotel anyways.
An unexpected treat was how Signe presented her filmmaking history leading up to her feature film. You could see how she was growing and maturing as an artist, both in style and content, as she worked toward developing a visual style of her own. Of particular note was how Signe showed several of the films from her 'Teat Beat of Sex' series which discusses various aspects of the sexual experience from a woman's perspective. Laughingly, she admitted how she discovered that sex sells, unless you're being honest about the experience--the good, the bad, and the awkward.
Honestly I was transfixed by the stark honesty that she was presenting on the screen and wanted to see the entire film just based upon those fourteen minutes. Adding to the fascination with her story, her hand drawn characters were seamlessly composited with three dimensional, papier mache backgrounds, giving the film a quality that sets itself apart from both the realm of classic 2d cel animaton and the polished 3d computer animation that we see so often in the theaters. When asked by one of the attendees, Signe replied that her papier mache backgrounds are almost life sized so that she can show more detail and perform more complex camera movements without specialized equipment. When reviewing photographs of the camera rigging and sets built for films like Paranorman, her decision makes perfect sense--especially if you don't want to contort yourself into a pretzel in order to animate that one character or spend your entire budget on camera equipment.
|Signe Baumane & Chuck Wilson|
The next day, my roommate and I walked around Toronto, visiting old haunts and enjoying one of the last warm and sunny days of Fall before arriving at the ROM about 90 minutes before close. Given the time, they were kind enough to comp our tickets and we enjoyed a late afternoon, taking photographs, and discovering parts of the museum that we had only breezed by during our last visit years ago.
All-in-all, a wonderful end to a weekend experience that I almost didn't have.
End Part Two