Art professor’s animated film a festival favorite
An animated film by Associate Professor of Digital Media Heather Freeman has been screened in 35 national and international film festivals and two gallery exhibitions, with more screenings scheduled for 2017. “Artemis,” a stop-motion animated short, received a nomination for Best Animation at the Kerry (Ireland) International Film Festival, third place for Best Animation at the Artlightenment Art and Film Festival in Nashville and the Best Animation award at the UK Screen One International Film Festival (United Kingdom).
An experimental sci-fi/fantasy film, “Artemis” explores a polytheistic view of the rural American landscape. When a distracted driver hits and mortally injures a stag on a moonlit, rural road, Artemis, Apollo and the Ghost of Elvis all appear.
“Artemis” is the first in a projected series of animated shorts called “Terra Firma.” These “magical realist stories explore individual experiences of grief and loss through transcendental and cathartic experiences,” Freeman writes. “While the topic of grief (and its transmutation into grace) can be depressing, I use humor to lighten the topic … While loss is devastating, some form of renewal is almost always guaranteed. There’s a small comfort in that.”
Although Freeman has created more than 20 animated films, “Artemis” is her first work in stop motion. The work combines 3D printed puppet parts (faces and heads) with silicon bodies cast from 3D printed molds.
“Artemis” was funded by grants from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Arts & Science Council and the Blumenthal Foundation.
Freeman has taught at UNC Charlotte since 2006. She is co-director of the College of Arts + Architecture’s Digital Arts Center (d-Arts) and author of “The Moving Image Workshop: Introducing animation, motion graphics and visual effects in 45 practical projects” (Fairchild Press). In her animations, mobile apps and digital prints, Freeman investigates the language and symbolic forms of myth and where these intersect with the iconographies of popular culture, family and science.