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A Time To Speak

Animated Short

2009

6 min 27 sec

When I began A Time to Speak, I set out to make an animated film that would address issues central to rural life and culture: changing socioeconomic environment, depopulating communities, loss of traditional livelihoods, loss of family land, changing land use, changing family structures and drug addiction. I see all of these issues as inextricably linked.

As the film evolved, my focus narrowed to the circumstances encompassing methamphetamine addiction. The film touches directly upon two people who are affected by this addiction and depicts how the land and rural environment where they live is implicitly involved in the narrative. The land simultaneously effects and is affected by the dilemma the two people face. Natural forces of the land affect the practical concerns of farming, ranching, and industrial economies; in turn those economic forces drive people’s lives and affect land use. The landscape also serves as a metaphorical tool. Clouds foreshadow turmoil, tumbling leaves represent change and time, and the vastness of the land mirrors the enormity of the situation.

The animation consists of drawings made on a single sheet of paper that eventually make up a “scene” of film. For example, if a leaf is falling from the sky, I would initially draw the leaf at its highest point, take a digital image, erase the leaf and redraw it at a fractionally lower spot on the paper, repeating the process until it reached the bottom of the page, or the “ground.” These drawings (each scene is on a separate sheet of paper) are quite large (30” x 40”) and labor-intensive. Time is a veiled yet fundamental factor in all facets of this project. I must think in time when drawing, the film will be viewed in time, the events that shaped the project occurred over time, and finally, significant amounts of time were needed to create the drawings. This methodology allowed me to understand what issues were important to me, and during the course of a single scene, I would literally discover what would come in the next moment or the next scene.

Observing change and its interrelated origins continually fascinates me. In A Time to Speak I reveal to the viewer my understanding of the circumstances of meth addiction and my compassion for the people involved. I am driven by my connection to and love for the land and people of my rural home – this place feeds my work and impassions me to make art.

- Statement from 2005