Squeaky Wheel’s 20th Animation Fest! – Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center

Loading Events

« All Events

Squeaky Wheel’s 20th Animation Fest!

November 3, 2023 @ 6:00 pm7:00 pm EDT

A red and white still from the film Trace by Asparuh Petrov. Three hand drawn faces looking to the right; their faces are intercut with lines like a comic strip.

Friday, November 3, 6 pm ET @ Buffalo AKG Art Museum and online
Free or suggested donation
Tickets for online screening below. In-person audiences can just come to the AKG!

Featuring 10 films made near and far, the 20th edition of Squeaky Wheel’s Animation Fest features animations made in a variety of media, forms, and materials, from stop-motion puppetry, AI generated imagery, hand-drawn works and more.

The 10 films in the programs present a smorgasbord of delights, personal visions, and topics, including internet-era love letters, surreal narratives, family relationships, and films both energetic and joyful, and somber and quiet. The fest features work by Asparuh Petrov, Birgit Rathsmann, Claire Schlaikjer, Emily Sasmor, Ivana Bosnjak Volda and Thomas Johnson Volda, Jeffrey Zablotny, Jingyi Wang, Kahstoserakwathe Paulette Moore, Megan Young, and Sarah E. Jenkins. The 20th Animation Fest was curated by Squeaky Wheel staff members Caroline Doherty, Ekrem Serdar, Mark Longolucco, and Meg Specksgoor.

For in-person attendees: No tickets are required; the event is free as part of the museum’s First Fridays. The event will begin in the auditorium of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum at 6 pm.

For online attendees: Upon check-out, you will receive an email titled “Your Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center order has been received!”. A private link will be included in that email; the event will be available at the link at the start date and time. You will have access to the event for 24 hours; Squeaky Wheel members receive 72 hour access. Not a member yet? Sign up here.

Sarah Jenkins, Disappearing Acts, 4 min, 2022
Darkness encroaches upon a loggy landscape of animated tricks and turns.

Jeffrey Zablotny, Sub Terra, 8.5 min, 2022
A routine tree inspection unexpectedly gives way to a journey into the deep. Set in a hidden subterranean world, ‘Sub Terra’ is the haunting mystery of a cryptic, first-person perspective.

Ivana Bosnjak Volda, Thomas Johnson Volda, Remember How I Used to Ride a White Horse, 10 min, 2022
A waitress goes about her daily routine serving coffee whilst having thoughts of escaping her reality. A costumer is constantly recording and listening back to the surrounding sounds of the café and is completely fixated by this task. Apathy is a condition that leads consciousness into stagnation, but do either of them realise that they are themselves examples of this condition?

Claire Schlaikjer, Baking With Piggu, 3.5 min, 2023
Warning: contains some flashing images. Piggu started life as a real stuffed pig, sewn out of canvas and stuffed with recycled fabric insulation, which I made in the spring of 2020. The pig gradually acquired a striking physical presence that I had not intended or expected. The sparseness of his construction made him enigmatic — he was a (literal) blank canvas whose staring eyes could suggest any emotion and contain any experience. He became a perfect muse, as a physically pliable but spiritually unyielding subject. This led me to consider the complexity of our relationships with anything creature-like, where familiarity is often confused with understanding. For this animation, I wanted to explore this dynamic of misidentification, and what it would be like if Piggu’s internal world was as real as I imagine it to be. In the story, toys suffer the same unfulfilled desires and fantasies as people, but their real tragedy comes from their inability to express themselves. Piggu inspires empathy, but this empathy breeds relationships that can be as doting as they are callous. Through animation, I was curious to see the effect of empathy towards creatures or objects which we cannot communicate with, especially when those creatures are given the chance to react but not respond.

Birgit Rathsmann, Primitive Games: Love Letter, 5 min, 2018
Three shapes created by an animator create havoc in her computer while she is on her lunch break. They write a love letter to their animator, but since they don’t know what it’s like to have a body, the letter is .. unusual.
Birgit Rathsmann: Writer, Director, Producer, Animator
Blue Shape: River L. Ramirez (Pervert Everything, Los Espookys)
White Shape: Mary Houlihan (CEO Skyscraper)
Red Shape: Becket Bowes

Emily Sasmor, Flore, 2 min, 2022
FLORE is a one act opera. Flore’s partner calls her up to declare their love to her in an endless night.

Asparuh Petrov, Trace, 7 min, 2022
А young writer dedicates his nights to hunting entangled phrases with his pen. The moment he is confronted with the pregnancy of his wife his world collapses. Lingering fears and painful memories overwhelm him and he needs to trace the missing piece.

Kahstoserakwathe Paulette Moore, The Clay She Is Made Of, 2 min, 2023
The Clay She Is Made Of draws parallels between the profound strength and creativity of Sky Woman from the Rotinonhsyón:ni / Haudenosaunee creation story and the filmmaker’s mother. This two-minute animated and live-action film is narrated all in Kanyen’kè:ha (Mohawk).

Megan Young, Carry On, 3 min, 2023
This piece is part of an ongoing project, titled With What We Could Carry, considering the responsibilities we embrace and what we shed as we travel across borders and through time. It explores the complexities of heritage, labor, and technological advancement through social practice and computational rendering. The resulting animation combines 3D mesh and models of myself, my mother, and my children collected through LiDAR and photogrammetry scans. Our flesh and figures are represented as overlapping and traversable landscapes reflecting themes of migration, matriarchy, and the dreams of our elders. (The looping animation was originally produced for viewing as a media installation.)

Jingyi Wang, Good Old Days Part.1, 5 min, 2023
Good Old Days Part.1” is a 5-minute experimental film that tells a story about a city with a collective memory of a bygone era and its tangled residents. It’s done through a series of absurd cinematic shots, pixelated spatial transitions, scenario-based sounds, and symbolic graphical repetition. It is part of an ongoing experimental media project that plays around film and its extended forms, which examines the rebellion of psychic structure against its environment in digital space. It keeps pace with time and ends when the end is near.

Asparuh Petrov (1981) developed a passion for animation after he graduated from the High School of Applied Arts in Trojan in 1999. Since 2007 he has worked as a freelance animation director, and has been creating his own animation projects. Asparuh is one of the lead directors of Compote Collective productions. In 2016 he founds PHAZZA – a platform for examination of our problematic reality with the means of animation.

While working on commercial animation, motion graphics, music videos and artists’ videos, Birgit Rathsmann co-founded an Improv comedy group for shy visual artists. Now, Birgit loves creating characters who navigate awkward situations with humorous results, and this has resulted in a number of short films. Primitive Games”” is an improvised animated web series and a collaboration with comedians River L. Ramirez and Mary Houlihan.

Claire Schlaikjer is an artist, animator, and illustrator from London, England. She holds a BA in Visual Art and Computer Science from Brown University. As a freelance animator, she has worked on projects ranging from science education to social advocacy, and has collaborated with artists and arts institutions including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver and Women & Their Work in Austin, TX. Her personal artwork explores the place that animals hold in our collective imagination and the ways in which the evolution of their visual representations reflects our changing relationship with the natural world.

Emily Sasmor is a new media artist based in Brooklyn, NY. They create animated operatic visual albums telling stories about violence and the comforts upheld by it. Their work has appeared in various shows, festivals, and screenings including; Curyatid in Hudson Yards, 20/92 Video Festival, and Digerati Emergent Media Festival. They have been awarded a Cultural Counsel Video Grant, and Guaranteed Income from CRNY. They run Single Channel, an experimental art publishing house. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BFA from Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Temple University.

Ivana Bosnjak Volda (1983) graduated from the Graphics Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb and Animation at the University in Volda, Norway. Ivana has been professionally involved in various stop motion projects across Europe, and has led animation workshops for children and students. Thomas Johnson Volda (1984) graduated in Time Based Media from the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, and at the New Media Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He is multidisciplinary artist often combining animation and performance art disciplines in his work, and has created puppet performances at numerous festivals across Europe. Ivana and Thomas co-directed award-winning stop-animation short films Simulacra (2014), Imbued Life (2019) and Remember How I Used to Ride a White Horse (2022).

Jeffrey Zablotny is a director based in Toronto, Canada. His film work is often marked by intricate sound design and unconventional use of visual effects as a way to explore how interior landscapes mirror a hidden world outside ourselves. His films have premiered at TIFF, Austin Film Festival, Hot Docs, and internationally at festivals in Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom. A member of VES (Visual Effects Society), his work has been made possible with support from the Canada Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, and the NFB.

镜伊Jingyi Wang is an artist and experimental filmmaker who lives and works in Shanghai and New York. Her work examines how psychic, physical, and symbolic structures imply and manifest themselves within everyday survival spectacles and sceneries. In her recent work, she delves into the strangeness of private and public environments and the detachments of their subjects through film and computer graphics.

Kahstoserakwathe Paulette Moore is an independent filmmaker, podcaster, and educator. Moore is Kanyen’kehà:ka (Mohawk), a fluent Kanyen’kè:ha speaker (ACTFL intermediate/high), and an enrolled member of Six Nations of the Grand River territory. Moore is a founding member/co-owner of The Aunties Dandelion: a media-arts collective informed by traditional Onkwehòn:we (Indigenous) teachings and focused on revitalizing communities through stories of land, language, and relationships. She spent two decades in Washington, DC as producer/director/writer with Discovery Channel, National Geographic, and others. Moore is a Banff 2023 Indigenous Screen Summit pitch participant and 2022 Banff Spark program participant for women who own media businesses.

Megan Young is an interdisciplinary artist, with a background in immersive and interactive design. Notable credits include ISEA in Hong Kong, Open Spaces in Armenia, Ammerman Center Biennial for Art & Technology at Connecticut College, Open Engagement in Chicago, and SPACES in Cleveland. She is a Lecturer and Digital Art Area Head at Indiana University and has previously taught for Cleveland Institute of Art and Kent State University. Young holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art + Media from Columbia College Chicago.

Sarah E. Jenkins is a queer Appalachian artist making work about extraction, hidden labors, and disappearance in an experimental animation practice. Their work has been shown at the MFA Boston, Torrance Art Museum, Emerson Contemporary, and Wonzimer. Jenkins’ is a MacDowell Fellow and she was recently awarded a Changing Climate residency at SFAI. Their work is included in the forthcoming book Queering Appalachia’s Visual History: A Collection of Queer Appalachian Photographers, University of Kentucky Press. Jenkins lives in Northampton, MA with her darling cat, Nessie.


Squeaky Wheel’s Animation Fest is presented with generous support from the Richard W. Rupp Foundation, FGI Landscaping, PUSH Buffalo, TriMain Center, Rigidized Metals, BreadHive, Buffalo Expendables, Buffalo State College Communication Dept, Rose Jade Consulting Coop, Lumpy Buttons Gifts, Good Neighbors Credit Union, and Villa Maria College. The North Park Theater event is presented with generous support from Councilman Joel Feroleto.

The logos of various sponsors.
Banner image: A red and white still from the film Trace by Asparuh Petrov. Three hand drawn faces looking to the right; their faces are intercut with lines like a comic strip.


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Tickets are no longer available


November 3, 2023
6:00 pm– 7:00 pm EDT
Event Category:


Squeaky Wheel
View Organizer Website


Buffalo AKG Art Museum
1285 Elmwood Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14222 United States
+ Google Map