My Year of Dicks My Year of Dicks

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 the Oscar-nominated Islandic animator, Sara Gunnarsdóttir.

In a paragraph: Whether dabbling in short films, music videos, TV series, or documentaries, Sara Gunnarsdóttir’s lively animation style is a constant. With hints of JJ Villard (Son of Satan) and Ralph Bakshi, there’s an edgy, punky vibe throughout her art that often aptly reflects the grungy, fragile existence of her subjects.

Where to start: My Years of Dicks (2022). A bitingly comic tale about a young woman trying to get laid in suburban Houston in the early 1990s which was nominated for best animated short film at this year’s Oscars. With echoes of Waking Life and coming-of-age films, My Year of Dicks is a big ol salad of collage, rotoscope, archival footage, and drawings that all enhance the protagonist’s drift between imagination and reality.

What to watch next:  The Pirate of Love (2013). Using an intriguing mix of live-action and some beautiful fluid and eye-popping animation scenes to explore the music of a mysterious singer, Daniel C.

Other key works:  Sugarcube (2009), MTVother-Rock Stories as told by Matt Pinfield: Chrissie Hynde’s Vicious Love (2014), Cutthroat Roundabout (2012)

Influences: Masaaki Yuasa, Satoshi Kon, and Egon Schiele.

Says: “I have always been on the artistic path. At some point when I started I said to myself that whatever happened I must be honest with my vision of art. I am not interested in big studios. I think it would kill my love for animation. I like working with small groups, you know when you are forming a group you pick all those that love and believe in their approach to animation. I am not interested if you can animate perfectly after a character sheet, I am interested in the artist’s approach.”

Currently working on: “Right now I’m working with Amy Berg on a documentary on Jeff Buckley. Me and Pam Ribon and Jeanette Jeanenne are also working towards making Dicks into a tv series.”

Pictured at top: My Year of Dicks

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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