Rowan University Art Gallery

"Consuming Spirits" film screening

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 20, 4:50 pm, Bozorth Hall Auditorium


Christopher Sullivan's award winning film, "Consuming Spirits." will be screened on Thursday, September 20,  4:50 pm, at Bozorth Hall Theatre.  All are welcome to attend.  The stand-out aspect of Chris Sullivan's animated film "Consuming Spirits" is its insanely meticulous construction. The animation took 15 years of work to create the two and a half hour film, which was shot frame by frame in 16mm film (at 24 frames per second). The characters were hand-drawn onto layers of glass that were then moved with needles and pins. The film seamlessly combines cutout animation, pencil drawing, collage, and stop-motion animation to create the haunting atmosphere of a self-contained world.


The film takes place in Gardener's Corners, an Appalachian industrial town inspired by Sullivan's Pittsburgh upbringing. Most of the town's inhabitants are at least somewhat skilled in the fields of medicine, gardening, hunting, photography and journalism. What starts off as a collage of broken characters in perfect detail evolves into a carefully woven narrative, as delicately assembled as the pinned puppet characters. The story opens with a seemingly random and horrific event. Gention Violet, a middle-aged journalist hits a nun with her school bus and, after failing to heal her wounds with iodine and gauze, leaves her to die. We then proceed to watch Gention's daily life, boring yet heartbreaking, the present constantly infiltrated with ghosts, fears and memories. "Consuming spirits" references both alcohol and divine power, and most characters walk shakily between self-medication and self-poisoning, making the film feel like both a profound realization and a bad trip.


Christopher Sullivan is a Professor of Animation, Film, Video and New Media at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been screened at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; Whitney Biennial, NY; Boston Art Museum, MA; Flaherty Film Seminar, NY; Black Maria 20th Anniversary Show, MOMA, NY. His films have been in festivals throughout the United States including: Short Film Expo,Ottawa, Zagreb, New York; Animation Celebration, Los Angeles; Black Maria, Ann Arbor. Chris is also a performance artists and has created work at the Walker Art Center, MN; Franklin Furnace, NY; LACE, CA; Randolph Street, Chicago. He is the recipient of several awards including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship; Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship; Bush Foundation Fellowship; Illinois Arts Council; NEA Regional fellowships.