Work of Central District resident Britta Johnson featured in local screening

Several animated shorts created by local artists will be screened Saturday at the Northwest Film Forum. Among the artists featured is Central District resident Britta Johnson.

The screening, called Strange Creatures, explores our relationship with the natural world. Contributing to the piece are the award-winning filmmakers of the Seattle Experimental Animation Team,which includes Johnson, Drew Christie, Bruce Bickford, Stefan Gruber, Webster Crowell, Clyde Petersen, and Tess Martin. The screening takes place at 4 p.m. tomorrow. Tickets are available on Brown Paper Tickets.

Britta Johnson photo by Regan MacStravic.

Britta Johnson photo by Regan MacStravic.

These independent artists create their films one frame at a time in what is called stop-motion animation, a rare method in the age of computer technology.

We caught up with Britta Johnson ahead of the screening for a Q&A.

CD News: For the uninitiated, what is stop-motion animation?

Britta: To animate using stop-motion, one moves an object or puppet or substance a little bit at a time, taking a picture  (a frame) with a camera each time; when the frames are played back at film speed, the object appears to be moving.

CD News: What’s your background? How did you get into animation?

Britta: I grew up watching stop-motion clips on early Sesame Street and MTV, but the real trigger for me was seeing Jan Svankmajer’s film “Alice” in college; shortly after that, I found a super8 camera in a drawer in my parents’ house and started to experiment.

CD News: What can you tell me about this latest project and your role in it?

Britta: I have two films in the show, both of which I directed and animated: “Crashing Waves,” in which people are the objects moving a little bit at a time, and “King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki- Me- O,” which isn’t stop-motion animation at all, but made up of several hundred watercolor drawings. I had great collaborators for both projects; “Crashing Waves” stars DK Pan and Haruko Nishimura –  really stunning dancers –  and “King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki- Me- O” is a music video I made for Laura Veirs. I really like her take on the traditional song, and Bela Fleck’s banjo playing can’t be beat.

CD News: What other recent projects or upcoming work should we mention?

Britta: I just made a fun music video for the band Qui that should go live soon, and this September I’ll be installing and animating a project involving hub caps on the SEAT section of the red wall at Cal Anderson park. Also, I’m currently developing a series of animations about internal organs and healing.  More on that soon…

CD News: What’s it like being an independent artist?

Britta: Fun! And complicated. The errands are sometimes the best part.

To view more of Britta’s work, head to her website.

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