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Pictures from the Brainbox: A Weekly Dose of Indie Animation - 'Spank Shot'

Every Monday or so, Chris Robinson asks an animator how they made a particular film. Today, we kick off 2018 with Gina Kamenstky and her experimental hockey film, 'Spank Shot' (2017)

'Spank Shot' by Gina Kamentsky

Gina Kamentsky is a US based artist, teacher and animator who creates kinetic sculptures and cameraless animation films, including: Jiro Visits the Dentist (2013), Tracheal Shave (2016), and If You Say Something, See Something (2015).

Kamentsky’s most recent film, Spank Shot (2017), combines her usual blend of wit and technical boldness, this time delving into the absurdity that are hockey fights. Using preexisting hockey footage, Kamentsky transforms these juvenile testosterone driven slug fests into graceful, abstract movements, akin to a tribal dance.

So, how’d you make this?

I work mainly on found footage from movie trailers and Spankshot was my first film on 70mm.

After preparing the surface by bleaching off most of the emulsion, I placed the film directly over a small video screen and used live video footage of hockey fights as movement reference for inking, painting and gluing small shards of film on the surface.  I left bits of yellow emulsion on the surface that turned blue when the final footage was inverted in After Effects. This created super cool accents and crackled the ink.

I created the film during a residency at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and near my studio was an amphitheater built in the 30s with wonderful acoustics. Being a hot July day, I stripped naked and went ahead and slapped my butt to create percussive rhythms. I could barely sit down for the rest of the day!

Why this technique?

I adore the limitations of working in a small field size. The process goes really fast and I can work intuitively with no planning. Because the frame size is so small I have to reduce everything to essential movement and strip out all the detail.

How long did it take?

6 weeks

What was the most challenging part of the process?

Trying not to repeat myself and asking big questions about the process and subject matter before diving into production. I always struggle a bit but that’s so important to making work I find interesting.

Was it worth it?

Absolutely, making art is like breathing, I’d drop dead if I couldn’t do it.

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.