Saturday, May 17, 2014

Seattle Spotlights Challenges Faced by Homeless 'Refugees'

On Monday, May 19th, at a sold-out Seattle International Film Festival screening and online, free, starting at 7 p.m. PT, four animated shorts about the complicated issue of American homelessness will be premiered.

Sihanouk Mariona, who contributed Super Dads, relocated from LA to Seattle after doing a lot of stop-motion work for Adult Swim series Robot Chicken. In California, he taught that animation art to disadvantaged youth and, in Seattle, co-founded an animation studio called Wonderful Lizard.

Meanwhile, the duo responsible for The Beast Inside come from, respectively, a filmmaking and media side. Amy Enser is responsible for, among other things, the Dinner Dialogues documentary series, while hand-drawn illustrator Drew Christie has contributed to the New York Times, The Atlantic and more.

Neely Goniodsky (The Smiths) has made more than a dozen animated shorts since earning her BFA in film animation from Montreal's Concordia University and a Master’s in animation at The Royal College of Art in London, while Laura Jean Cronin, director of Home for Sale, also has multiple degrees. Cronin, a Bainbridge Island native, recently explained to the Bainbridge Review that her winning entry took inspiration from a recent house search:

Cronin said that the subject matter was fortuitous for her, as she had recently been struck by the number of foreclosed homes while searching for a house to buy.
"There was a preponderance of foreclosed homes," said Cronin as she recalled her recent search for a house to buy. "Family homelessness is a huge issue, and it affects way more families than the average person in the Northwest realizes. It can happen to people who have done everything right, and circumstances put them on the street."

Each short for this Seattle University effort was supported with an $8,000 grant and volunteer-PA students. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also helped underwrite.

[American Refugees]

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