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Joanna Priestley Guest Retrospective

Introspective, satirical, whimsical and beautiful: Joanna Priestley’s prolific body of work speaks personal truths. She’s been called “queen of independent animation.” The artist presents her work in person.
October 2019

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Ticket Prices

$11 regular admission
$9 matinees (before 6pm)
$9 students/seniors/active military with valid ID
$8 MdFF Members
Joanna Priestley Guest Retrospective
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Director: Joanna Priestley


66 minutes, Digital

Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival is a three-day celebration of the world’s most cutting-edge, quirky, and boundary-pushing animation. The inaugural festival will premiere October 4-6, 2019.

Program Notes

Joanna Priestley has directed, animated and produced 30 films, including the abstract animated feature, North of Blue, and the iOS app Clam Bake. Her work maintains a high level of porosity between serious exploration of boundaries and intuitive whimsy and she is dedicated to experimentation in technique, theme and content. Priestley has had retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Center for Contemporary Art (Warsaw, Poland), American Cinematheque (Los Angeles, CA), Hiroshima Animation Festival (Japan), Jenju International Film Festival (Korea) and Stuttgart Animation Festival (Germany) and she has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Film Institute, the MacDowell Colony, Fundación Valparaíso and Creative Capital. Priestley was founding president of ASIFA Northwest and she is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, where she annually juries the Academy Awards and the Nicholl Screenplay Fellowships.

Ticket Prices for the Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival:

Opening Night: $42
Regular Admission: $13
Students/Military/Seniors: $11 (at the Parkway box office – valid ID required)
MdFF Members: $10



Voices (1985, 4 min., drawings on paper)

A humorous exploration of the fears we share: fear of the dark, of monsters, of aging, of being overweight and of human caused global destruction. Sound by R. Dennis Wiancko. Voice by Joanna Priestley.

She-Bop (1988, 8 minutes, drawings and puppet animation)

She-Bop explores the dark, feminine side of spirituality. The central character in the film is a cartoon Kali, the Hindu Triple Goddess of creation, preservation and destruction. The animation is drawn on index cards with pen, watercolor and pastels and combined with a little puppet animation. Music by Dave Storrs. Written by Carolyn Myers. Narration by Carolyn Lochert Curtis. Sound effects by R. Dennis Wiancko.

All My Relations (1990, 5 min., drawings on paper with 3-D frames)

All My Relations satirizes the pitfalls of romance, from marriage, childbirth and upward mobility to the disintegration of a relationship. The animation is framed by a series of assemblages which emphasize the message implied by its archetypal characters whose dilemmas are familiar to those who have bought into the American Dream. Voices by Victoria Parker and Scott Parker. Sound produced by Joanna Priestley. Sound effects by Dennis Wiancko.

Grown Up (1994, 7 min., 16mm, ink and watercolor on paper with object animation)

“In a time when everyone seems to be writing about aging, Priestley does a brilliant job of reclaiming 40 and her own process of middle aging with humor, optimism and an award winning animation style that just might make twenty-somethings wish they were older.” -Bill Foster, Northwest Film Center. Sound produced by Lance Limbocker. Written by Barbara Carnegie and Joanna Priestley. Music by Steve Christopherson and Warren Rand.

Streetcar Named Perspire (2007, 6.5 min., 2D computer animation)

A wild roller coaster journey through the mood swings, hot flashes and brain fog of one of life’s great transitions. “Priestley’s animated roller coaster ride both previews and celebrates- depending on your age- one of life’s most thrill-filled experiences.” -Heike Kuehn, Northwest Film and Video Festival Sound designed and produced by Lance Limbocker. Music composed by John Smith.

Utopia Parkway (1997, 5 min., drawings on paper, objects and replacement animation)

An abstract and symbolic film about covert forces and mysterious containers. It was inspired by the boxes of American sculptor Joseph Cornell, who lived in the same house on Utopia Parkway in Queens, New York, nearly all of his life. Sound design and music by Jaime Haggerty.

Dew Line (2005, 4.5 min., computer animation)

A rich abstract tapestry of biomorphic forms that hints at the loss of botanical diversity. Sound designed and produced by Jaime Haggerty.

Eye Liner (2010, 4 min., 2D computer animation)

Using luminescent layers of organic abstract animation, Eye Liner delves beneath archetypes of the human face. Mysterious geometric patterns, rendered in cerulean blue and rust, evoke a fantastical earth-and-sea relationship between bold shapes and ethereal backgrounds. Eye Liner simultaneously echoes facial features and challenges traditional notions of appearance. The first film in the Eye Liner Trilogy. Sound designed and produced by Seth Norman.

Split Ends (2013, 3.5 min., 2D computer animation)

The luscious colors and delicate lines of Split Ends playfully construct animated full field patterns and reference mass produced ornamental designs of the industrial era. Without relying on pop culture reference points, some patterns stimulate a collective memory of youthful self-hypnosis and visual absorption. Sound designed and produced by Seth Norman. The second film in the Eye Liner Trilogy.

Bottle Neck (2015, 3 min., 2D computer animation)

A luminous crush of still life silhouettes, abstract shapes and complex, interlocking patterns, Bottle Neck renovates the commonplace objects of a classical painting genre in a modern setting. The final film in the Eye Liner Trilogy. Sound designed and produced by Seth Norman.

Dear Pluto (2012, 4 min., 2D computer animation)

A tribute to everyone’s favorite planetoid, written and narrated by Manhattan slam poet Taylor Mali, Dear Pluto blends 2D and 3D animation to explore Pluto’s unfortunate demotion in our Solar System. Written and narrated by Taylor Mali. Sound Design by Lance Limbocker and Seth Norman. Music composed by Lance Limbocker.

Missed Aches (2009, 4 min., 2D computer animation)

A witty commentary on ignorance, idiocy and our over-reliance on spell check, this dirty ditty animates text and plays up phonetics with hilarious results. Written and narrated by Taylor Mali, who led teams to four championships in the National Poetry Slam. Written and narrated by Taylor Mali. Sound Design by Normand Roger and Pierre Yves Drapeau. Music by Pierre Yves Drapeau with Denis Chartrand and Normand Roger.

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The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway is located at 5 W. North Avenue (at the intersection of North Avenue and Charles St.) in Baltimore's Station North Arts and Entertainment District
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