Signe Baumane on Why “Screams Don’t Make a Good Story”

Posted by: Kevin Coyle

“2017 MooreWomenArtists: Women In Animation Film Festival” is a landmark event for us that will showcase globally recognized artists. One of those artists is animator Signe Baumane. Her films deal with subjects of sex, pregnancy, dentists and madness. Baumane is Latvian born, but currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

The New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Film is going to answering questions after her short, Rocks in My Pockets is showed as part of a juried program at the festival. We were lucky enough to ask her a few questions before she arrives…

When it comes to making work based on your family’s genetic code for mental health, does scientific research coincide with your filmmaking process?

For Rocks In My Pockets I didn’t do scientific research, it is a personal story told from a very subjective point of view without bringing science of psychiatric knowledge into it.

Now, for my new feature film My Love Affair With Marriage I did a year long research on neuroscience of love and human bond. It was very intense learning period before while I was writing the script. We are hoping to collaborate with a scientist how to correctly visually represent some of the science when we enter that phase of the project.

Your animated films share a color scheme. Could you elaborate on your choice of color in your films?

Maybe our choice of colors is like a handwriting – partly it is training and partly it reflects our personality. So it is hard for me to talk about it in a completely rational way.  I love color. I think my drawings style depends on color. Of course, I have preferred colors and color combinations, but they change over time.

Like, when I was a teen I used to prefer red, but then for a long time my favorite color was Old Rose, then I went back to red, but red with a different shade – crimson, then somehow I got infatuated with purple and now I am completely smitten with pink. But I do love baby blue, navy blue, aqua green, olive drab, ocher, burnt sienna and umber.

The humor in your films is fantastic and helps the viewer deal with subjects that some consider taboo or uncomfortable.  Did you always use humor throughout your life to deal with these heavy themes?

I usually don’t write a script for film thinking to make it funny. I just want to tell a story. Humor is a byproduct.

As to humor in my life – I walk through my life screaming, not laughing, because it feels like walking barefoot on broken glass. But screams don’t make a good story. I believe most of us tell stories to remove ourselves from the pain of living.When something painful is happening (like, a wisdom tooth removed without anesthesia, which had happened to me) as it is happening I imagine telling about it to a friend. It puts things in perspective – pain of today will be a story tomorrow.

Your latest film My Love Affair With Marriage was described in this hilarious quote from you: “I wanted to combine sex and depression, so I’m making a film about marriage.” How will this film introduce and combine those things?

My Love Affair With Marriage seamlessly incorporates music and science into a personal love story. As to the subjects of sex and depression – they are seamlessly incorporated there as well. In a good story you cannot separate its elements.

Congrats on your recent Kickstarter campaign to finance this film. Can people still make donations to support My Love Affair With Marriage?

If you would like to connect with the project and receive updates on the film’s progress, as well as rewards, you can still donate to My Love Affair With Marriage by clicking here:

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Meet Signe Baumane on March 26 at Moore College of Art & Design and see her animated feature Rocks In My Pocket. Click here for details



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