Acclaimed indie animator Joanna Priestley will step away from her Portland, OR home base for a series of international appearances over the first week of May. First, the Stuttgart International Animation Festival will present “In Persona: Joanna Priestley” on May 3 at 8 p.m. (Metropol 2) and “AniMovie Special Preview: North of Blue” on May 5 at 7 p.m. (Metropol 3) in Germany. Then, the British Film Institute will toast the award-winning filmmaker at “The Queen of Independent Animation: A Focus on Joanna Priestley” on May 11 at 8:40 p.m., at National Film Theatre 3 in London.
The AniMovie Special Preview will give the audience a first-look at Priestley’s new abstract animated feature North of Blue. The project is inspired by the mysterious winter landscape the director encountered while a fellow at the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. The film grew into an exploration of the non-objective idiom that that plays with shifting focal points, suspension and tension of two dimensional patterning and trance.
The film’s design hearkens to Delft ceramics, 19th century Northwest Coastal masks, the paintings of Hilma af Klint and Piet Mondrian, the abstract animations of Mary Ellen Bute and Antoni Gaudi’s La Pedrera. Fellow Portlander Jamie Haggerty did the sound design and score for North of Blue, Chris Barber did additional sound effects and Brian Kinkley did the title design and paint effects.
The ITFS In Persona and BFI programs will be retrospective showcases of Priestley’s short films, selected from the 27 award winning works that she has directed, produced and animated. Attendees will be able to take in a dozen shorts including Voices (1985), Pro and Con (1993), Dew Line (2005), Split Ends (2013) and Bottle Neck (2015).
Priestley has also had retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Center for Contemporary Art (Warsaw), American Cinematheque (Los Angeles), Hiroshima Animation Festival (Japan) and Jenju International Film Festival (Korea) and she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, American Film Institute, MacDowell Colony, Fundación Valparaíso and Creative Capital. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.