Steven Subotnick

Steven Subotnick

Fellow: Awarded 2017
Field of Study: Film - Video

Competition: US & Canada

I am an experimental animator. As an animator, I build films frame by frame. Nothing exists beforehand; each of the twenty-four frames in a second is a new creation. As an experimental animator, I make films without formulas or preconceptions. I explore questions that I answer through animating, and my films record this process of seeking authentic discoveries.

I have made sixteen films, which have screened internationally at over two hundred and fifty film festivals, won more than twenty awards, and have been exhibited in museums and galleries. My screening venues have included the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Annecy International Animation Festival, SXSW, Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Galerie Haut-Pave in Paris, and the International Print Center in New York.

My work uses varied imagery – from cartoon to pure textural abstraction – along with unusual editing techniques and carefully structured sound design, to share a deeply personal aesthetic experience with viewers. The structure of my work is concentrated and condensed. I use intuition, associative thinking, metaphor, the poetry of color, mark-making, and texture as my primary tools. For me, animation transforms thought and emotion into images and sounds. My films have explored non-objective imagery, stories with unusual characters, and actual historical events. While covering a wide territory of content, I work to create my own language of animation forms.

I have taught at numerous institutions, including Harvard University and Rhode Island School of Design. As a teacher/filmmaker, I am frequently invited as a lecturer and critic. I have also written a book about independent animated film production.

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