The Animation Fest: A Retrospective @ North Park Theatre – Squeaky Wheel Film & Media Art Center

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The Animation Fest: A Retrospective @ North Park Theatre

September 28, 2023 @ 7:00 pm9:00 pm EDT

Hannah Hamalian, The Golden Age. Yellow, green, and black paint is smeared into an abstracted version of a familiar cartoon dog character.

Thursday, September 28, 7 pm ET
Purchase tickets to in-person screening at North Park Theatre (or just show up!)
Purchase tickets to online screening via Eventbrite

Join us at the legendary North Park Theatre for a special retrospective screening that brings together 10 short films from the past 20 years of our Animation Fest! The short films collected here exemplify our little fest’s promise and potential: Personal visions and experiments, and surprising and poignant uses of tools and technologies; and social and political commitment and critique. Open to young people and adults, this special screening is Squeaky Wheel’s big fundraiser for the year – we invite our communities near and far to join us in celebration!

The 10 filmmakers present a vital cross section of our many communities, from legends of the field to former Squeaky Wheel students from Buffalo and beyond, including films by Adele Han Li, Amanda Bonaiuto, Ayoka Chenzira, Hannah R.W. Hamalian, Helen Hill, Jazmyn Palermo, Jodie Mack, Leslie Supnet, Maria Zjaia, Miranda Javid, and Robert C Banks.

Begun as an outdoor screening in 2004, the fest celebrates animation in all its forms. Often organized by emerging guest curators, the fest has featured hundreds of classic and cutting edge animated works. All funds from this event go towards our award-winning exhibition, education, and equipment access programs. Join us!

Please note that the final two films, X: The Baby Cinema and Second Sun feature flickering effects. Jodie Mack’s Unsubscribe #4: The Saddest Song in the World will not be available online, and will only be screened in person. The total duration of the in-person screening is ~53 minutes; the online screening duration is ~50 minutes.

Maria Ziaja, One Speck in the Universe, 1 min, open captions, 2013
Maria Ziaja, Flying Bird, 1 min, 2013
Maria Ziaja created these two videos during her time taking a Stop-Motion Animation class as part of Squeaky Wheel’s Tech Arts for Girls program, taught by Alice Alexandrescu; the two films were included in the 2013 edition of the Animation Fest, programmed by Squeaky Wheel’s 2013 staff and interns, including Jax Deluca, Mark Longolucco, and Ryan Crowley.

Helen Hill, Madame Winger Makes a Film: A Survival Guide for the 21st Century, 10 min, 2001
Madame Winger wants you to make a film about something you love. She shows you her favorite low budget filmmaking techniques, from camera less animation to processing your own film in a bathtub. Filmed in 16 mm. Helen Hill’s work was featured in the first edition of the Animation Fest. Special thank you to Mark Johnson and the Harvard Film Archive.

Hannah R.W. Hamalian, The Golden Age, 9:58 min, open captions, 2021
“An experimental documentary examining the traumatic history of being a woman at work in the animation industry. I put myself into conversation with a generation of women who experienced restricted creative opportunities in animation and a lack of acknowledgement as artists. Each manipulated frame is an ode to the disregarded labor of women, wielded to create films that told young girls to dream.” – Hannah R.W. Hamalian. The Golden Age was included in the 2022 edition, curated by Ekrem Serdar and Zainab Saleh; her work was previously included in the 2017 edition guest curated by Savion “Ineil Quaran” Mingo.

Ayoka Chenzira, Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy Headed People, 10:26 min, open captions, 1985
“I was very concerned with the question of black women in this country and self-image aesthetics. If you look at all the commercials that come out and tell you how to fix yourself, they are all based on the idea that there is something wrong with you. And so, having a child, these things became very glaring, and I think that’s a part of Hairpiece. Hairpiece is funny, but it comes from a position of real anger.” – Ayoka Chenzira. Included in the 2004 edition of the Animation Fest, Hair Piece was one of the twenty-five films selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2018. The film received a 4K restoration by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation with funding from the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, which is the version that is on view. Film courtesy of Kino Lorber and Milestone Films.

Adele Han Li, Chella Drive, 3:29 min, digital video on projection, sound on speakers, 2016.
“A dreamlike memory of a teenager’s summer complacency and the luscious suburban environment that surrounds her. Made using hand drawn animations projected onto real life settings and rephotographed frame by frame.” – Adele Han Li. Chella Drive as included in the 2016 edition curated by Ekrem Serdar.

Jodie Mack, Unsubscribe #4: The Saddest Song in the World, 2:50 min, 2010
…broken-hearted and mashed up. – Jodie Mack. This film was included in the 2012 edition of the Animation Fest; Mack’s films were included also in the 2016 edition of the fest. Film courtesy of Canyon Cinema.

Amanda Bonaiuto, Batfish Soup, 5 min, 2016
“Wacky relatives give way to mounting tensions with broken dolls, boiling stew and a bang.
Batfish Soup is a fictionalized absurdist film based on memories of freakish childhood visitations with my grandparents. Though the film’s spark was autobiographical, the film transformed over the course of its production into something more fictional. This film epitomizes my interest in the darkly humorous underpinnings of domestic drama. I produced this film as my first year film in the MFA Experimental Animation Program at California Institute of the Arts.”
Batfish Soup was included in the 2017 edition of the Animation Fest, guest curated by Jean Zhu. Bonaiuto work was additionally screened in the 2019 edition, guest curated by Leanne Goldblatt.

Miranda Javid, What Humans Do, 6:40 min, 2023
“A macro view of human-actions, as told from within a singular body. The film is a catalog of homo sapien instincts; its sequences interlace extractive qualities of our species with embodied sensory experience, in favor of a mindful awareness of what humans do to their habitats and planet Earth at-large.” – Miranda Javid.

Jazmyn Palermo, Teenie Hams’ Adventures in Genderland, 9:54 min, 2018
Teenie Hams’ Adventures in Genderland is a stop-motion animation that explores a transgender perspective of finding oneself. As Teenie enters a world of fairies, witches, creatures, ghouls and vampires, they find themself on an adventure in the world of people they have only heard of in scary stories. They find friends and helpful hands along the way on their adventure of exploration and self discovery.” – Jazmyn Palermo. Teenie Hams’ Adventures in Genderland was included in the 2020 edition, guest curated by Tabia Lewis.

Robert C Banks, X: The Baby Cinema, 5 min, 1992
Drawing by hand directly on 16mm film, Banks challenges commercial appropriations of the image of Malcolm X. The film was included in the 2007 edition of the Animation Fest, guest curated by Kerry Maeve Sheehan.

Leslie Supnet, Second Sun, 3 min, 2014
“The rising sound of drums emphasizes flashes of lights, images of the solar system and a post-apocalyptic imagining of the birth of our Second Sun.” – Leslie Supnet

“Leslie Supnet’s hand-drawn animation piece is an extension of her previous work First Sun (2014), with the monochrome drawings of the latter giving way to bright primary pencil colours. Like its predecessor, Second Sun extensively employs basic geometrical shapes to represent cosmic phenomena and is scored to an exhortative percussive soundtrack hinting at a ritual, a summoning. The figures move strictly horizontally or vertically on checkered paper as though underscoring their mathematically precise cyclicity, with the central solar circle spawning clone stars, moons, planets and an entire solar system. The overall impression is that of witnessing a trance-inducing cultic invocation.” – Experimenta India”

Working in painting, video, and installation, Adele Han Li explores creating immersive and evocative environments through mixing materials and colliding surfaces. Her work has been exhibited at festivals and galleries throughout the US and internationally. Beyond her own creative projects, Adele was previously programmer and festival manager of the Slamdance Film Festival, and is passionate about cultivating inclusive and nurturing spaces for fellow artists. She studied animation at CalArts and painting at Yale and is now playing with textiles, projectors and ceramics in her home studio just outside Los Angeles, California.

Amanda Bonaiuto (b. 1990) is an animation director, artist, and educator living in New York. She is best known for her short films and commissioned pieces which have screened at film festivals and galleries worldwide. She’s inspired by humor and tilted realities. She received a BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in 2012 and an MFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts in 2018. She is an assistant professor of Illustration at Parsons School of Design, and makes films and commissions in her studio.

Meet Ayoka Chenzira, the multi-talented and award-winning filmmaker, Emmy and NAACP nominated television director, and digital media artist.
As a child, Ayoka discovered her interest in storytelling while listening to women talk in her mother’s Philadelphia beauty parlor. With a background in modern dance, photography, and music, she discovered her passion for filmmaking after being taken to every age-inappropriate movie that her cinephile parent could find. Since then, Ayoka is known to work across a range of genres, including drama, science fiction, documentary, animation, and interactive cinema. As an actor’s director, able to work with various acting styles and degrees of experience, Ayoka’s visionary style of storytelling and character development takes center stage as does her ability to emotionally and visually elevate a story. Read more here.

Hannah R.W. Hamalian (she/her) is an artist intrigued by how complicated the world is. In her animation and film practice she tends towards an experimental and poetic mode of expression, working with the movement of animation in collaboration with dance and landscape to represent paradox and complexity. She uses an interdisciplinary approach to aim for the emotional core of an experience and craft immersive soundscapes that create a space specifically designed for asking questions.
Hannah’s work has screened and shown at festivals internationally, including ADF’s Movies by Movers, KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival, Athens International Film and Video Festival (Ohio, USA), and the Squeaky Wheel Animation Fest (New York, USA). She received her BA from Carleton College and her MFA from UW-Milwaukee, and she currently teaches at Lane Community College in Eugene, OR.

Helen Hill (1970 – 2007) was an experimental animator, filmmaker, educator, artist, writer and social activist who lived her last years in New Orleans, Louisiana. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Hill revealed her artistic talents at an early age, making her first short, animated Super 8 films when she was eleven. While studying English at Harvard (BS ’92), she minored in Visual and Environmental Studies where she made three 16mm animated short films: Rain Dance, Upperground Show and Vessel. After receiving an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in Experimental Animation, Hill, along with her husband Paul Gailiunas, moved to his native Canada where he was studying medicine and where she continued to create films and teach film animation at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (now NSCAD University) and at the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative (AFCOOP). Soon after, Hill and Gailiunas moved to New Orleans where Gailiunas would found a medical clinic for artists and low-income patients and where Hill, meanwhile, co-founded the New Orleans Film Collective and taught filmmaking. Read more here.

Jazmyn Palermo is a visual and expanded media artist living and working in Buffalo, NY. They studied Fine Art at Alfred University with a focus in photography and video art. Their work explores a transgender perspective on fairy tales, folklore, and horror themes incorporating a stop-motion process and a lot of papier-mache. Their process includes asking their friends to put on a wig and move very, very slowly. Jazmyn is inspired by the wonderful people they know and the beautiful place they live. They would like their work to create a comfortable place to enjoy the magic of finding yourself.

Jodie Mack (born 1983; London, UK) is an experimental animator. Her films unleash the kinetic energy of material remnants of domestic and institutional knowledge to illuminate the relationship between decoration and utility. Straddling the boundary between rigor and accessibility, her cinema questions how we ascribe value to things.
Mack’s 16mm films have screened at a variety of venues including the Locarno Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Jeonju International Film Festival, and the Viennale. She has presented solo programs at the 25FPS Festival, Anthology Film Archives, BFI London Film Festival, Harvard Film Archive, National Gallery of Art, REDCAT, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennale, and Wexner Center for the Arts among others. Her work has been featured in publications including Artforum, Cinema Scope, The New York Times, and Senses of Cinema. She was a 2017/18 Radcliffe Fellow; a 2019 Artist in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts; a 2021 MacDowell Fellow; and a 2022 Visual Studies Center Fellow. She is a Professor of Animation at Dartmouth College.

Leslie Supnet is an experimental filmmaker who creates media works that explore loss and change. Using animation, live-action, found footage and material exploration, Supnet’s process is guided by lyricism and personal affect, often bending analog and digital techniques. Leslie completed her MFA in Film at York University in 2016. Leslie’s works have screened at festivals such as TIFF, International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR), International Film Festival Oberhausen,Images Festival, Onion City, The Edge of Frame Weekend at the London International Animation Festival and as part of special programmes at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec, Art Gallery of Hamilton and the AGO. She has created commissions for Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, ArtSpin/Pleasuredome, Film POP!/POP! Montreal and Plug In ICA.

Maria Ziaja is from Buffalo, NY, and is most passionate about Sustainability and Environmental Policy. She graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Environmental Studies and Russian and has worked in environmental consulting, non-profit conservation initiatives, and EHS policy for energy companies. She currently works at the Greenway Institute, where she is helping reshape engineering education around goals of equity and sustainability. Before moving out of Buffalo for college, Maria spent her formative years taking TechArts classes at Squeaky Wheel, both at the Ansonia Building and Market Arcade locations. She feels that over the years these classes helped her grow creatively and develop an appreciation for the arts that still influences her work (now in the education sector). She is honored to be part of the Animation Fest!

Miranda Javid (she/her) is an animator, curator, and art-educator currently living in Kingston New York. Her animations describe topics like cognitive experience, human bias, and the relationship between individuals and their communities.

Robert C. Banks Jr. was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio in 1966, and has attended Cleveland Institute of Art and Cleveland State University, and has also served in the U.S. Air Force. Inspired by his father, Banks is an experimental filmmaker, cinematographer, and teacher of filmmaking and photography at numerous colleges and universities. Banks’ films have been screened at numerous prestigious film festivals and art institutions, both domestically and abroad, such as Sundance Film Festival, SXSW Film-Music Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, Museum of Modern Art, The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Ann Arbor. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including Filmmaker of the Year at the Midwest Filmmaker’s Conference, and his film retrospectives have been featured at The BBC British Short Film Festival, The Cleveland Cinematheque, and The Walker Center for the Arts. One of Banks’ best-known works is the 1992 short film X: The Baby Cinema, which chronicles the commercialization of Malcolm X’s image and legacy. Some of his other films include Motion Picture Genocide, My First Drug, the Idiot Box, Outlet, Goldfish and Sunflowers, AWOL, Autopilot, and Don’t Be Still, all of which were shot and edited on 16 and 35 mm film. Several of his short films have been added to the private collections of institutions such as The Yale University Film School and The Walker Center for the Arts. Most recently, Banks has completed his first 35 mm feature film, Paper Shadows, which was seven years in the making.


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: Hannah Hamalian, The Golden Age. Yellow, green, and black paint is smeared into an abstracted version of a familiar cartoon dog character.


September 28, 2023
7:00 pm– 9:00 pm EDT
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1428 Hertel Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14216 United States
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