Moore’s Women in Animation Film Festival welcomes modern pioneers

“There’s a lot of women’s work that is often overlooked,” said Emily Hubley, a filmmaker and animator whose works will be featured in a festival at Moore College of Art and Design this week.

From March 23 to 26, Moore is hosting the 2017 MooreWomenArtists: Women in Animation Film Festival. And this May, the first Moore students completing the school’s new BFA in Animation & Game Arts will graduate, a milestone in a male-dominated field.

The festival will feature both short and feature-length animated films created by women (including an afternoon of family-friendly screenings); Game Changers: Women Making Games, an artist panel and reception; a Creative Jam hosted by Adobe; and more opportunities for animators to connect. 

A new film every year

On Saturday, March 25 at 1pm, Hubley will present All Our Lives Combined, a juried program of short films by women, and then a selection of films created by her and her mother, Faith Hubley (who died in 2001), a pioneer in the animation world. She collaborated with her husband John until his death, then continued her own work, creating several Academy-Award-winning short pieces.

Hubley is a visiting filmmaker at the festival, curating the films of All Our Lives Combined. She says there were very few women animators in the past and that her mother was one of the early pioneers. Faith Hubley’s work often focused on a specific theme or culture, highlighting the mythology and art of a particular community while weaving jazz into the animations. “There aren’t too many films that are like them,” her daughter said.

Her parents made animated films together, but when Faith’s husband (formerly a Disney art director for films including Bambi and Pinocchio) died in 1977, she decided to do work that was distinctly different than before. She made a film every year of her life during her career, starting in 1959. Once her husband died, she made 22 films on her own. Hubley worked on just about all of these films with her mother.  

Making it your life

Hubley attended Hampshire College, but had no formal animation training. Instead, she met a professor with a background in documentary filmmaking, who challenged her to make an animated film. Before this, she never thought animation was the medium for her.

“I kept thinking it would stop, and then I’d have to go get a real job… and all these years later, I guess this is what I do now.”

“I’ve sort of had this big circuitous route. Then I went back to figuring out what’s next. With every project, it’s back to the drawing board.”

Hubley will share four of her mother’s films, and four of her own at the festival, featuring a range of genres, showing stories from autobiographical work to a poem film.

Hubley looks forward to connecting with students at the festival, as it’s an exciting time in their lives. And she believes there are many different ways to connect with fellow artists around the world that were not as available in the past. More opportunities for exposure also exist today, but the challenges include how to make a living by creating, although this might not be every artist's goal.

“The process of trying to figure out how to make that your life, it can be tricky, but there’s nothing but time to sort things out,” said Hubley.

The 2017 MooreWomenArtists: Women in Animation Film Festival, running Thursday, March 23 through Sunday, March 26, is coming to the Stewart Auditorium at Moore’s campus on 20th Street and the Parkway. All events are free and open to the public. Visit online for the full lineup.