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Extraordinary Film Festival Now On View

Extraordinary Film Festival Now on View

The Film/Animation/Video Class of 2021 takes audiences on a transformative journey into real and imagined worlds far away from the here and now.

animated character wearing green cosmetic face mask

Student filmmaker Manon Crespin 21 FAV introduces the hilarious and wise Pia in her blended live-action/animated short Apartment 3-1/2.

From the first strains of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D Major—the soundtrack behind the animated short by Zachary Simon 21 FAV that kicks off this year’s FAV Senior Show—it is clear that the Film/Animation/Video Class of 2021 has created something extraordinary. The well-paced and professionally produced mix of animated and live-action films, which premiered online June 4–5, takes viewers on a journey into real and imagined worlds light-years away from the sequestered studios in which they were created.

animated image of a chick hatching
From Tacet by brand-new RISD alum Zachary Simon 21 FAV.


“Last fall each senior began the work on their degree project,” Department Head Sheri Wills writes in the program’s introduction. “It is a yearlong process always full of learning, progress, inevitable setbacks, occasional joys and moments of clarity. The challenges the Class of 2021 took on were, needless to say, daunting.”

“It is a yearlong process always full of learning, progress, inevitable setbacks, occasional joys and moments of clarity.”

FAV Department Head Sheri Wills

From Simon’s harmonious barnyard, we move under the sea for the magical Fish Tale by Long Island native Ashley Paul 21 FAV and then up into the stars with Kaija Harrison 21 FAV, who describes herself as “an animator from the woods of Rhode Island.” The live-action The Lights Between the Trees by Lauren Milan Rausaw 21 FAV next explores the inner landscapes of adolescence. 

frightening colorized image of four girls' faces
From the ultra-creepy Pink Noise, a live-action film by Nickole Klarou 21 FAV.


“The Class of 2021 has been making exciting work throughout their time at RISD,” says Wills, “and this is some of the most ambitious, powerful and thoughtful work I have seen anywhere. We are looking at the future of filmmaking.”

animated chicken in boxing gloves
From Chicken by Sydney Mills 21 FAV.


Singapore native Manon Crespin 21 FAV bridges a grounded live-action world with a wacky, animated upside-downy, home to the hilarious and wise Pia, in Apartment 3-1/2. Raised in a Franco-Argentine blend of a family, the artist explains in her bio, she can best express herself through a blend of languages and artforms and spent most of her time at RISD trying to figure out how to blend live-action film and animation. 

“I’m creating lovably grotesque characters in the form of puppets, dolls and costumes that represent relationship statuses and personal psychoses.”

Eleanor McQueeny 21 FAV

Filmmaker Eleanor McQueeny 21 FAV shares her unique view of the world via a short, autobiographical documentary that precedes her experimental How it Feels to Chew Gum (Empty Gum). The liquid latex-loving artist says “she has found herself in an endless effort to build out the world inside of her own mind, creating lovably grotesque characters in the form of puppets, dolls and costumes that represent relationship statuses and personal psychoses.”

an older Turkish man rests his head

a young Turkish woman in a beautiful head covering
Father and daughter characters from the beautifully shot Mourning Dove by Karia Keith 21 FAV.


Other live-action gems include Mourning Dove by Turkish filmmaker Karia Keith 21 FAV, Pink Noise by Nickole Klarou 21 FAV and the harrowing A Walk Home by Chicago native Gabe Durst 21 FAV. Keith’s beautifully filmed piece is like a traditional fairytale (complete with a wicked stepmother), while Klarou’s takes us into a hallucinogenic, Stepford-esque landscape with no exit in sight. 

animated pink whale
From Fish Tale by Ashley Paul 21 FAV.


Durst’s film ends in darkness, the only sound the ragged breathing of the protagonist trying to calm down after his encounter with an aggressive police officer. “A young Black man just wants to have fun and go home,” Durst asks. “That shouldn't be difficult, right?”

Simone Solondz

Watch the whole festival and read about the 34 remarkable new RISD alums who made it happen at favshow.risd.edu.

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