La Plongeuse La Plongeuse

In this ongoing series, we profile the most interesting independent animation filmmakers working today — the artists who, through short films and other projects, change our ideas of what the medium can do.

This week’s subject is Ukrainian animator and artist Iulia Voitova.

In a sentence: Featuring expressive paper cut-outs and pastel colors, Voitova’s bite-sized stories pack an emotional punch.

Where to start: La Plongeuse (2019). A professional diver is pushed by her coach to the point her body can no longer handle it. Only the knowing hands of the masseuse can heal her body. Told without words and using vibrant paper cut-outs with dominant pink and blue pastels, this simple, funny, and surreal tale touches upon the rigorous physical and mental toll of being an athlete (really, it could be about anyone who pursues life with intense passion).

What to watch next:  Le Nuage (2017). This one-minute student film uses the theme of weather to succinctly capture a moody, dysfunctional relationship led by a guy who seems to enjoy being depressed. The meditative soundtrack, expressive pastels, and lively paper cut-outs beautifully capture the chaos of the relationship.

Other key works: Quarantine Routine (2020), Short Cuts “Le Cercle Rouge” (2022), Roads (2022), music video for Coline Rio’s “Monstres” (2022).

Influences: Yuri Norstein, Gianluigi Toccafondo, Gil Alkabetz. In art – Matisse (collages), Mikhail Vrubel, Egon Schiele.

Says: “I feel organic in animation. I feel freer than in painting, for example. I like the idea that you can tell a story through the movement of an image. I like metaphor and paradox in animation and I love watching animation, especially short films.”

Currently working on: “I’m working on a short film; it’s in the development stage, but I hope to get to production soon.”

Pictured at top: La Plongeuse

Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson

Chris Robinson is a writer and Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). Robinson has authored thirteen books including Between Genius and Utter Illiteracy: A Story of Estonian Animation (2006), Ballad of a Thin Man: In Search of Ryan Larkin (2008), and Japanese Animation: Time Out of Mind (2010). He also wrote the screenplay for the award-winning animation short, Lipsett Diaries.

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