Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Animated People: Signe Baumane

Signe Baumane at TAIS
 As anyone who knows me can attest, outside of my close circle of friends, I tend to play my political and religious beliefs pretty close to my chest. I grew up in a generation that read Emily Post and Dale Carnegie -- two people who espoused the position that it's bad form to discuss religion or politics in polite company. For the most part, I stick to this rule. However, every so often there comes a cause or two that I support which I feel the need to bring to everyone's attention.

In this case, it's three of my most important: "mental illness", "independent animated film", and "women in animation".

I first met independent animator Signe Baumane last Fall when she spoke about her filmmaking experiences at the Toronto Animated Image Society (TAIS). During this meeting, Signe showed two seven minute clips of her work-in-progress film "Rocks in my Pockets". Based upon those fourteen minutes, I knew I had to see the rest of this movie. Setting aside the lush visuals, the engaging story, and the crisp narration, the topic of this film is one that is close my heart as I have suffered from chronic depression for the better part of my life.

Knowing first hand how hard we try to hide the skeletons in their closets, I was floored by the raw honesty that Signe presented in the clips of her film as she detailed the personal history of mental illness and episodes of suicide in her family's background--all played out against the backdrop of the Russian revolution and World War II.

At the TAIS presentation, Signe discussed the trials and tribulations of being an independent filmmaker but was cautiously optimistic about her chances of having this film completed by March 2013. Unfortunately, things don't always go as planned and she has recently reached out to the community for assistance in completing her film.

In order to finish "Rocks in my Pockets", Signe has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to finish both the coloring and editing and the composing and recording of the musical score.

So, I would encourage everyone to do the following:
  1. Visit Signe's Kickstarter page.
  2. Read about her film and watch the clips.
  3. If this film resonates with you the way it does with me, consider joining me in making a donation to this independent filmmaker.
  4. Request that this film be shown at your local theatre, once it's released after April 2013, so it can receive a wider distribution outside of the regional animation festivals.
Thank you for your consideration of Signe's film and for your support of independent animated film, women animators, and promoting honesty about the mental illnesses that plague our human condition.