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Hastings' film image
Hastings' film image
  • February 29, 2024
  • Marketing and Communications staff

“With Love and Sincerity,” a new film created by Department of Visual Arts and New Media Associate Professor Phil Hastings, was recognized with a gold medal award for digital animation at a recent screening at the 01 NFT | New Media | Experimental | Digital Arts Film Festival in London, England.

The short animated film is about the darkness that comes from finding oneself in situations where a clear path is not always easy and self-determined efforts are needed to escape.

“We often can find ourselves in situations that, at first look exciting and promising but we soon find out that what we thought might be a positive experience is actually harmful to our well-being. I was thinking specifically about those relationships that are abusive or toxic in nature. Sometimes in these situations we are trapped by a lack of power and agency, Mr. Hastings explained.

“This type of one-sided relationship can be cruel; it can cause emotional and physical stress. No one functions well in this type of situation. We may know what needs to be done and yet in this uneven relationship it is hard to act on this knowledge.” 

Hastings continues, “I try to give voice to those who have lost theirs. To remind them that they can escape, that they do have a voice.” The film is ultimately a validation and declaration of self-worth and a personal call to action. 

The film was created for last year's Department of Visual Arts and New Media Faculty Showcase at the Cathy and Jesse Marion Art Gallery. Hastings often tries to synthesize his current research and teaching to create new work for the Faculty Showcase. He believes the gallery and showcase provide important learning experiences beyond the classroom. 

“Our VANM faculty are amazing,” Hastings said. “They are dedicated to teaching Fredonia students, advancing students’ skill sets and ultimately their employability.”

Hastings considers the Faculty Showcase to be a fantastic way for students and the community to see what the faculty bring to the table as educators and skilled artists. He says he believes that most people don’t understand the critical thinking, flexibility and problem solving that the visual arts require. There are numerous studies and writing about how art education is paramount for business and industry leaders, he said.

Hastings is happy “With Love and Sincerity” is being positively embraced by film and media festivals around the world. After the Faculty Showcase, it debuted at the Buffalo International Film Festival last October and was also an official selection in the Simultan Festival în Timisoara, Romania.