December 18, 2013
Vol: 20 No: 51


Six award-winning filmmakers will use animation to inform about homelessness

by: Rosette Royale , Assistant Editor

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Seattle University’s Center for Strategic Communications has chosen six local filmmakers to be fellows in a new Film & Family Homelessness Project. The filmmakers will create four short animated films that will chronicle the experiences of families who are homeless.

The six fellows — Heather Ayres, Drew Christie, Laura Jean Cronin, Amy Enser, Neely Goniodsky and Sihanouk Mariona — were selected from more than 50 applicants.

The fellows will tell the stories of local homeless families using various forms of animation, such as stop motion, digital cut-outs,  erasure and traditional animation. The films will be created in early 2014, with the intention of screening them during the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival.

Each filmmaker will receive an $8,000 grant.

The filmmakers will attend three full-day workshops at Seattle University (SU) to learn more about family homelessness.

SU students from Digital Design, Film Studies and other programs will serve as production assistants.

The filmmakers will work on the following projects:

• Heather Ayres and Sihanouk Mariona will contrast conversations between mothers and their children as they discuss the challenges of being homeless. Ayres is an award-winning writer/director who has worked with Northwest Film Forum and KCTS Channel 9. Mariona is an Emmy award-winning stop-motion animator.

• Amy Enser and Drew Christie will present the perspective of a teenager in a homeless family. Enser is a writer/director/editor in Seattle. Christie is an animator and illustrator whose work has been featured in the New York Times and Vanity Fair.

• Laura Jean Cronin will chronicle prospective buyers walking through an empty home, while incorporating the story of the family who once lived there and the events that precipitated the loss of the home. Cronin is an award-winning filmmaker and producer at Reel Grrls.

• Neely Goniodsky will showcase a family’s fall into homelessness and how resources and supportive community can help them find stability.

The Film & Family Homelessness Project is funded through a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.



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