Veteran animator shows creativity and innovation

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

ORANGEBURG – The I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium at SC State will present Karl Staven as part of the Southern Circuit tour of independent filmmakers in the fourth installment of its inaugural Films at the Museum film festival.


The screening of Staven’s Abandoned Dolls and Gabriel Goes for a Walk will be held in the Dr. Barbara A. Vaughan Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building on SC State’s campus on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007, at 5 p.m. At a reception following the screening of the collection of his animated shorts, Staven will engage the audience in a discussion of the films and his work as an animator.


“As an undergraduate psychology major, I only took two animation courses,” confessed the animation veteran Karl Staven. His professional collection boasts over 20 films, acclaimed still photography, presentations and articles, as well as a full generation of teaching experience. Staven’s name is synonymous with creative and innovative animation. He takes inspiration from all over the world for his animation – even the smallest objects in a dollhouse. “I first had the opportunity to play around with different animation techniques in graduate school,” he continued, “like 16mm cameras and an Oxberry Animation Stand, and I had some fun!”


Staven will screen selections from his large body of work, including the animated short films Abandoned Dolls and Gabriel Goes for a Walk. Abandoned Dolls is a six-minute puppet/object animation piece displaying two types of dolls vying for dominance in a post-apocalyptic city.


“Despite open gestures and forgiving phone calls, it proves difficult to bridge the divide,” writes Staven. Abandoned Dolls screened at International Surrealist Film Festival, 1999; Chicago Underground Film Festival, 2000; Ann Arbor Film Festival, 2000; and San Francisco Independent Film Festival 2000.


Staven juxtaposes the dark humor of Abandoned Dolls with the pixilation and optical printing short Gabriel Goes for a Walk. The narrator begins the film, “Gabriel is a large dog who lives in a small loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Occasionally he gets to go for a walk. He is generally pretty excited by the proposition.” The audience follows Gabriel around the city on his walk seeing the harbor, meeting school children, and sniffing other dogs along the way. Gabriel Goes for a Walk received the Director’s Award at the 1997 Black Maria Film and Video Festival.


Upcoming films in the spring season of Southern Circuit/Films at the Museum include Liberia: A Fragile Peace and Fishers of Dar by Steven Ross on Sunday, March 11, at 5 p.m., and Interkosmos by Jim Finn on Sunday, April 22, at 5 p.m. All films will be held in the Fine Arts Building recital hall.


The screenings are free and moviegoers will have the opportunity to speak with the filmmakers. Space is limited; reservations are encouraged. To make reservations, or to receive additional information, contact the I.P. Stanback Museum and Planetarium at (803) 928-6851. The films are presented as a community service of SC State.


Created by the S.C. Arts Commission in 1975, Southern Circuit takes independent filmmakers on a journey into communities across the South. Chosen by a panel of experts for the quality of their work, the filmmakers screen their recent films for local audiences. Produced without studio backing and struggling to secure a distributor, many of these films would never be seen on a screen in this area of the country without the film festival tour. In July 2006, the Southern Arts Federation adopted the Southern Circuit with the intent of fostering the next evolutionary stage of the program.