Vergine Keaton is a visual artist and director who animates fantastical landscapes collaged from historical artworks and everyday images.
I was crying out at life (2009) inverts classical hunting and landscape scenes from 19th-century engravings to tell a tale of stags chasing hounds. Then, curiously, the ground shifts and rises, and the animals race together in unison, no longer at odds with one another as they become vulnerable to a larger phenomenon. Keaton asserts the power of nature through a vision of a world in which competing forces come together despite their instincts.
“Times Square is the ultra-urban, the very incarnation of remoteness from natural life. That the deer, dogs, and birds will pelt down in their furious race across the screens of the city, towering over the audience, seems to me to add yet another dimension to the film—bringing nature where it once was and showing its timelessness against the scale of human construction.”
I was crying out at life is presented in partnership with the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) during the Animation First festival.
“With Animation First we are excited to offer New York audiences of all ages the opportunity to explore the breadth and diversity of animation in France and discover an abundance of creativity across genres and techniques, past and present. Vergine Keaton’s work is emblematic of a new generation of French artists who are embracing the medium of animation in creative and singular ways. We are grateful to Times Square Arts for showcasing her work on Times Square’s iconic billboards.”
—Delphine Selles-Alvarez, Curator of Animation First
“It is a pleasure to collaborate with our longstanding cultural allies at FIAF to bring Vergine Keaton’s artistry to New York City. This work is an inventive expression of the vibrational tension at the core of the New Year in Times Square, between tradition and change; and a call to unity in times of turmoil, when even the ground below us seems unstable.”
—Andrew Dinwiddie, Acting Director, Times Square Arts
Vergine Keaton (b. 1981, Paris, France, lives and works in Paris, France). After studying graphic design and cinema, Keaton’s first animated short film, I was crying out at life. or for it (2009), screened at nearly 100 festivals including the ACID selection at Cannes Film Festival. Her following film, Marzevan (2015), experiments with 3D mapping and was selected for Belo Horizonte International Short Film Festival in Brazil, Riverside Short Film & Video Festival in New Haven, MO, and was a short-list nominee in the category Best Short Animated Film at the 2017 César Awards in France. Her third film, The Tasmanian Tiger (2018), was selected for the official competition for the 2018 Berlinale and screened at a number of international festivals that year.
The leading French language and cultural center in the US, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) is dedicated to innovative and unique programming in education and the arts, all exploring the diversity and richness of French cultures.
Celebrating France’s rich tradition as a pioneer of animation, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) launched Animation First, the first-ever French animation festival in the United States, in 2018. Back for its second edition in January 2019, Animation First will feature a lineup of award-winning films, shorts, discussions, and more!
Original Music: Vale Poher
Distribution: Insolence Productions
Image courtesy of Vergine Keaton, I was crying out at life © Insolence Productions.