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Johnston animated short film seen at national, international festivals
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Johnston animated short film seen at national, international festivals

Associate Professor Jill Johnson

Screenings of Department of Visual Arts and New Media faculty member Jill Johnston’s animated short, “Don’t Be Afraid of Bears,” were conducted at an eclectic collection of film festivals.

     "Don't Be Afraid of Bears"

Juried national screenings took place at the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Underground Film Festival, the Ohio Independent Film Festival in Cleveland, the Indie Memphis (Tenn.) Film Festival, Animation Block Party in Brooklyn and the California International Animation Festival in Modesto.

Juried international screenings include the 3rd International Motion Festival in Cyprus and the IMA International Festival in India. Upcoming showings include the Albany Film Festival on March 29 and the Indie Grits Film Festival in Columbia, S.C., in mid-April.

Childhood memories and illusions of a terrifying bear encounter led Ms. Johnston to consider the notion of fear and reciprocity of species in this film. While care should be exercised with wild animals, Johnston noted that naturalist Barry Lopez contends “a phobic response is less about the beast in the underbrush than it is about the beast within.”

According to Lopez, “When we refuse to look inward – when we fix our fear on the head of a coyote or any fellow predator – we miss the opportunity to face up to our own demons. Which is a shame, because in the end it’s the only chance we have of facing them down.”

Imagery of the short film is a mix of analog (acrylics, oil pastels, pen and watercolor on paper) and digital painting. The voice artist is Fredonia Musical Theatre major Anna Chicco. Sound was produced on a computer, along with a mountain dulcimer.

Johnston, head of the animation and illustration program at Fredonia, has an M.F.A .and B.F.A. in Cinematography from the University of South Florida, Tampa.

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