Maryland Film Festival

Maryland Film Festival logo

Brains screened at the 25th Maryland Film Festival. I got to attend a conference of the Film Producers Club of Maryland, which highlighted for me just how far removed I am from the “film industry.” I got to sit between my friends Skizz and Lynn Tomlinson.

Film makers club of Maryland in the Francis Scott Key room
Jim Doran and Skizz

Brains played in two animation showcases, and then I got to do a Q&A with Phil Davis, which was fun (as always).

Brains in the Fred Lazarus theater at MICA
Q&A with Phil Davis

There were some really interesting exhibits involving projection mapping and VR (my first experience with VR). I learned quite a bit.

I watched Secret Mall Apartment. Michael Townsend was on hand to introduce the film, and do a Q&A.

He explained that he and his colleagues in this sat on the footage. After he was arrested, they had at least 30 producers come forward and offer to make this. They decided to work with Jeremy Workman, who they felt could present artists to a non-art community with empathy and clarity.

In addition to teaching, Michael Townsend had several projects involving installing murals with painter’s tape in children’s hospitals, Oklahoma city, and to honor the victims of 9/11.

I was inspired by this. Colin Bliss, Michael’s friend and artist colleague, talks about how it’s not artists’ responsibility to use their talent to try and change the world, but when presented with an opportunity to contribute in some way, it sure feels good.

Another sentiment that rang like a bell inside me is the idea of living an artistic life. It was validating – I had a realization of just how important conscious art-making is in my life. I knew this already, of course, but I reflected back on just how much work I’ve done, and how it has impacted my life, and how grateful I am to have found my path. I’m not sure everyone finds, or arrives at, their most chosen path.

I took Beverly to see Anna Biller’s Viva. So many thoughts about this 2007 film. I’ll say what I loved most is the attention paid to the amazing decor and the soundtrack.

We also attended Skizz’s presentation of Divine Trash on 35mm. Skizz introduced the film, and then brought Steve Yeager on stage for a Q&A. One of the funniest answers was when question about the interview with the Film Censor, Steve mentioned that they didn’t tell here what the interview was for until later.

John Waters made an appearance to congratulate his old friend. What a screening!

I feel inspired and energized, and I didn’t expect to get quite so much from this festival. It was fantastic, and I am happy.


Born in Baltimore

Born in Baltimore Film & Photography Festival Official Selection
The Benefits of Radiation is an office selection.

On Wednesday at 5:30PM EST, the Film Center at JHU-MICA will present Born in Baltimore on Facebook. It’s free to attend, and looks like a lot of great photography and film.

From the Born in Baltimore website:

Born in Baltimore celebrates new voices in cinema and photographic arts. 
Filmmakers and photographers of all ages whose work is of, from, and about Baltimore are invited to submit.  The Festival seeks images, sounds, and textures that are uniquely Baltimore; the music, the faces, the stories of our city and its citizens, past and present, young and old, native and newly arrived.

For 2021’s virtual festival, Born in Baltimore welcomes submissions from across the globe, reflecting on Baltimore subject matter and themes, and on shared current challenges: stories and images of city life and city neighborhoods; and images that explore distance, proximity, community, loss, resilience, and innovation. 

Born in Baltimore is a production of Baltimore Youth Film Arts,
an affiliate program of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at

Johns Hopkins University. It is made possible by the financial support of Johns Hopkins and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


The Benefits of Radiation received both the Audience Favorite and Judges Awards! Wow!

Winner, Judges award
Winner, Audience award


During non-pandemic conditions, the Sweaty Eyeballs animation festival opens with live musicians accompanying a silent animation. Since this year’s festival is online, Phil Davis decided to try the reverse, where animators add film to Baltimore musician’s recordings.

Phil asked me if I’d be willing to do one, and I asked to work with the band WUME. They sent me a track called Indigo, and this is what I made.

I started working on this in August. I listened to the song, wrote the lyrics in my book, and let the images appear. I like narrative, and the more surreal, the better. I threaded certain images into the loose narrative, and some key elements repeatedly show up.

My notes on the animation table

I made dozens of puppets and props for the scroll, which ended up being 45′ long. I began the actual process of animating on September 27th, and finished on October 11th. The video clocks in at 4:11.

It is an honor to participate in Sweaty Eyeballs. I’ve drawn such inspiration from the programming there, as well as the time I’ve known Phil Davis. We have all done our best to persevere during these weird times (please make sure you vote – and as Phil said, please vote for people who support the arts).

I hope you enjoy this. I had fun making it, and fun with this opening!



Sweaty Eyeballs

I’m so very happy to say that A Job as the Moon will be screened at this year’s Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival: Friday, Oct 23, 2020 – Friday, Oct 30, 2020. I’ll post more as I know it.

From the event site:

?Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival is a 7-day juried festival of the world’s most boundary-pushing, mind-blowing animation.

Since 2012, Sweaty Eyeballs has carried the torch of the animation scene in the Mid-Atlantic with independent programming & special events. Now in our 9th year, we have partnered with our longtime friends at the Maryland Film Festival to launch our 2nd international festival of animation. 

The festival will take place October 23-30, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic the festival will be held online in 2020. The festival will open with six original animated music videos set to music by six Baltimore area bands, an international competition of 80 animated shorts, a Baltimore showcase, animator retrospectives, and online workshops.