GIRAF15 MidKnife Films Shadow Puppet Workshop November 2019

GIRAF15 MidKnife Films Shadow Puppet Workshop November 2019

GIRAF15 MidKnife Films Shadow Puppet Workshop November 2019

The Quickdraw Animation Society celebrated the 15th edition of the Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival on November 21-24, 2019. GIRAF spotlights the wide range of artistry that can be done in the medium, from flowing 2D inked lines to 3D stop-motion puppets. During the four-day festival, Calgary audiences can dive into the world of animation through short film packages, contemporary and retrospective feature-length films, artist talks and animation workshops.

For this year’s workshop, Quickdraw welcomed visiting artists Lauren Hortie and Sonya Reynolds from MidKnife Films, an artist collective dedicated to making short films using the low-tech magic of shadow puppetry to tell untold stories of marginalized communities in creative, informative and aesthetically beautiful ways. Their films illustrate forgotten moments from Toronto’s queer past, using shadow puppets in place of photography or film because so little early LGBTQ+ history is visually documented. Their mandate is to create a visual record where none exists.

Prior to the workshop, Lauren and Sonya had a conversation with Calgary queer historian Kevin Allen of the Calgary Gay History project to discuss stories that were important to Calgary’s LGBTQ+ past, so they could guide the workshop participants in creating a visual record of a moment from our city’s history.

“In 1960s Calgary, many lesbians could be found playing softball and drinking at the Cecil Hotel. One ballplayer recalled: ‘We liked the Cecil because there was a nice private back room there. It was marked for Ladies and Escorts and we’d laugh because we didn’t know which we were! God, we used to have a lot of fun there. They used to cater to us because we were the best part of their business.'”

– Kevin Allen

Thanks to Lauren Hortie and Sonya Reynolds for leading this workshop, Kevin Allen for sharing his expertise, and our workshop participants for exploring these stories with us.

Workshop participants: Xstine Cook, Jarett Sitter, Kaytlyn Turner, Lucia LeClerq, Brant LeClerq, Caro Ging, Samantha Haslam and Troy Kokol.

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