“shalva” (Tranquility), 2018

An empty, sexualized female character follows meditation instructions (in hebrew), trapped in a glass case, in a synthetically perfect looking space. The relaxed meditation instructions turn into self defense instructions. She follows them, as the viewer gazes at her empty body. This causes her to flip out and break out of the glass case. Outside, there is no sound and no instructions. Her body has a mind of its own and with every independent hit she gives the air, fleshy material fills her arms, legs and then her full body. Liberation of form comes as pure destruction to her once sexualized body. She destroys the space, coming into form then into pure mushy abstract. Where her violent anger touch, a fire flower grows. Blood spreads into the once clean space as she walks away seeking freedom and a new world to destroy.

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

"Shalva" (=Tranquility) is my first year (at CalArts) short. Creating, a representation as a woman, in 2018 is difficult. So much anger....and hope, all mixed in. I've had to ask myself how much power do I hold as a creator to change the face of what people believe they can do? I'd like to say a lot.

My goal with "Shalva" was to empower my character, being told how to relax, being told how to protect herself. That's not my truth. I wanted to break the old rules, dictated to us by old white man. From destruction, comes creation. I've been affected like many others by the problematic nature of having a “femaled” shell body. I’ve chosen to represent that feeling in a male gaze-esque mannar. Letting the viewer consume my character, filling her emptiness with muscles, abstract her form then throwing her back into the inevitable self in a body. Because I cannot choose to be in an abstract body.

Living, for the first time, in Los Angeles, the farthest away that can be from Israel, an isolating synthetic space, where people seek perfection from their personal bodies to the broad landscapes around, provided a natural inspiration for the symbolic VR-esque sleek space.

Moebius, his intense perspectives, sci-fi detailed creatures and the dreamyness of Satoshi Kohn’s work have heavily influenced the type of visual experiences I’d passionately try to create. My Israeli heritage, a sentiment of a sometimes violent reality plays a role in how I as a woman protect myself. Using hebrew, for the narration evoked the right amount of conflicting emotions to me, and provided the right platform to tell the story, until fighting the gaslighting process was complete and my character could seek body freedom and break out. I hope the piece can reflect the passion it was made with, and give energy to those in need.

Soundtrack:

Composer & Sound Mixer : Ann Streichman

" V I C A R I O U S ", 2016 

Two grieving friends pass a long subway ride to a funeral by exchanging haunting visions of an impending outbreak - in which a mandatory skin suit uploads every bodily sensation to a government cloud.

Production credits :

Director's statement :

[[ Here I am in my bedroom, with Robert Page (skin disease man) acting the "outbreak" scene happening on the subway of the parallel world. Photo by Sharon Cantor. June, 2015.]]

[[ Here I am in my bedroom, with Robert Page (skin disease man) acting the "outbreak" scene happening on the subway of the parallel world. Photo by Sharon Cantor. June, 2015.]]

 

When I started working on Vicarious more than 3 years ago, my goal was simple: to create an animated Sci-Fi film with intelligent, alternative, diverse leading women who are relatable to me and the remarkable women who inhabit my world.

As a creator, I take inspiration from my surroundings. Throughout my early experiences of learning the craft of animation, I endured countless male-authored films with a sharp void in the pit of my stomach. I found myself looking and longing for real representation - when would I see my own friends and experiences in the medium that has come to define my life’s work? If we are not reflected back on screen, do we even exist? As I pushed the boundaries of my own work and found my voice as an animator, I learned that it was up to me to create this space - bearing the confidence that I wasn’t the only one seeking a film by and about women, in which the characters were more than girlfriends, love interests, or sexual objects.

I met writer Tom Haviv by chance while looking for a room in Brooklyn and we instantly clicked over our mutual love of Sci-Fi and graphic novels. We wanted to collaborate on something for a long time and he shared about 4 stories with me. "Vicarious" was a story that mused on the prospects of a viral disease ripping through a rapidly gentrifying New York City, riffing on its inexorable ties to the police brutality, mass surveillance, and omnipresent technology that have come to define our urban landscape. I suddenly realized that this was exactly what I was searching for -- an expansive speculative universe to fit my feminist vision. His haunting imagination of the near-future defined a world in which I felt a home for my otherworldly friends and their extraordinary experiences. His story served as the scaffolding for this film, and the motivation for me to throw myself into the process - one which I knew would be extremely arduous with no outside funding.

Designing the characters for this film was one of the most enjoyable parts of the process, as I found inspiration for my leading ladies in my closest friends. I engaged in a years-long learning process in which I was pushed to redefine my own use of stereotypes in film, drawing from my crew of women and non-binary people who span the spectrum of ethnicities, sexualities, genders, and vocations, and ultimately reflected back what they’d like to see more of in the media. This process granted me insight and even more motivation to fill the void of female representation, to create a work of art in which real women have honest conversations about their lives, hopes, fears, and sorrows.

My local Brooklyn landscape and inner imagination were obvious background players for this project, and served to enrich the multi-textural settings encompassed by the film. I shot the raw material in my bedroom, with frequent sojourns to Rockaway beach; woven into the film is footage of the meandering above-ground A-train ride that serves up jewel box views of outer Brooklyn.

My commitment to this film was affirmed by my decision to leave Brooklyn to focus on the grueling animation process, relocating to a makeshift studio in my father’s attic in his home perched high in the Northern California foothills. Here in this provisional artist’s bunker, I was free to immerse myself in the world, hunched over for hours on end carefully animating the pre-existing footage. During these intensive eight months, I completed half of the film. After returning to Brooklyn, it took another seven months to balance full-time waitressing and animation until I finally completed the work.

Paramount to this process was using this film to showcase the talents of woman-identified artists. I know firsthand the sting of dismissal, for no reason other than the chauvinism and misogyny that plague the field. Despite financial limitations, I’ve ensured that every woman gets paid, and that every woman’s time and work are treated with respect. Beyond this, I pledged for the film to be created by women from top to bottom; for example, I hired women animators to color my frames, and I only collaborated with women musicians to create the soundtrack.  In the end, I am most proud of this film for amplifying voices that would have gone unheard.

Reaching a stopping point with this film meant sacrificing opportunities to enhance each character’s personal story and visuals. Although I’ve realized that there are endless themes I’d like to explore in my work, I am committed to using my skills to expand representation for the stories that are conspicuously absent from both mainstream and independent media.

                      Yours,                          

Director, animator, designer, creator, producer   Danna Grace Windsor

 

“Jeruzine” 2012

“Jeruzine” is my undergrad thesis film from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design - Jerusalem, Israel.

The film is a tale of a sunless town, ruled by the fascist "Veginal Border Police". 
It reflects on Modern day Jerusalem and her problems. Violence, Militarism and gender issues.

Soundtrack:

Yair Elazar Glotman

https://yairelazarglotman.bandcamp.com/

https://yairelazarglotman.com/