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.


New Works

Happy to be a part of this. Brains was well received, and viewed in very good company.

People sitting in folding chairs at a screening

Window Projections at the Peale Museum

I made the 1 minute film with characters from The Lunatics universe to be projected across three windows at the Peale Museum in Baltimore. I drew this to have the short story unfold in three panels, like a moving comic/cartoon.

This turned out as well as I hoped it would. The short narrative unfolds over the three panels. Super cool!


Sweaty Eyeballs 2023

It was a true honor to see my film Brains screen at both MICA (where I attended my first Sweaty Eyeballs and got started with all this) and also at Towson University.

I’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of Sweaty Eyeballs to me and Baltimore, and how it’s inspired me over the years. Everything I’ve written and said is still true for me, and made even sweeter this year because I was invited to contribute to the festivals signal film, which ran at the start of every screening. A game of exquisite corpse, I was given the prompt “jump,” and asked to make a 2 second animation.

I was going to do the obvious – some feet jumping, and then, upon reflection, decided on jumping a battery. I made the car Sea Foam green as a nod to my entry in the festival, Brains. I was going to use a character from the animation, and then used a raccoon, because, well, it’s me.

I’ve squashed the video down into the .gif below:

This festival was more expansive than last year, and there were workshops and talks. I got to meet and talk with Isaac King, and I look forward to continuing the conversation with him. An amazing animator, Isaac puts forth compelling messages about humanity’s place in nature, social media, and subtle explorations about conflict. His film Second Hand is a mind boggling achievement of animation, and very beautiful. We started talking about experimentation, and I hope to keep talking about that.

I also spent hours with both Joanna Priestly and Paul Herrod, and their conversation, advice and encouragement will remain invaluable to me. It was THE best weekend.

We (Beverly, our kiddos, and Dusten) started out on Thursday for the Baltimore Showcase at the Brown Center (Falvey Hall) at MICA after a nice dinner at Joe Squared.

Sweaty Eyeballs ring leader Phil Davis (above) has done so much for our region and for animation. He’s funny, kind and really, the best.

Paul Harrod gave an incredible presentation of his work over the years – I was particularly inspired with his work on Isle of Dogs with Wes Anderson. It was fascinating to look behind that curtain.

There was another screening at Van Bokkelen Hall Theatre at Towson University.

The exhibit at Current Space was wonderful, especially Isaac’s projection work. I got to talk with Stephanie Williams again, and many other Baltimore animation folk. I feel connected to, and part of, a community.

The animation programming was expansive, diverse, and plentiful. I’m so impressed with how strong the work in the Baltimore Showcase was, too.

This weekend, and the festival, has left me inspired, thoughtful, grateful, and fortified.




Towson University flier with dates of show: 7/1-8/4/2023.

For the first time, I got to participate in an exhibition at Towson University. As you may recall, I completed my MFA during the pandemic time, and posted my exhibition on

Me leaning against the wall looking at a screen with My Job as the Moon playing.
My honey

Again is a nice show. Erin Lehman sent me the following curatorial statement:

“All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.” (J.M. Barrie) To repeat, to return, to add or go back. To do. Again. And then once more. The word  “again” may denote repetition, renewal, or reuse. It suggests commitment and focus,  the joy of digging in, variations on a theme that builds to a whole greater than its  individual parts, often to a wonderfully surprising conclusion. Repetition can be  meditative, creating ritual and routine that brings order and comfort. It requires patience,  but also discernment. The artists in this exhibition have found joy in continuity, in going  backwards in order to move forwards. They bring together parts of the whole, or they  build on what has come before. They play with similar themes, techniques, or ideas to  create a body of work that calls the viewer to explore on both a macro and micro level,  to discover a mix of repetition and new exploration that calms the mind and excites the  imagination. The work is often luscious in detail, materials, or pattern. Their commitment  allows us to journey alongside them, bringing our own notions and experiences to the  what now and what next?

Again statement, Erin Lehman, PhD

My Job as the Moon looped in the gallery. I wish I’d gotten more photos. The rest of my pics were blurry/weird. I was happy/honored to be included!

View of the gallery with attendees looking at the art

Born in Baltimore, 2023

The Lunatics was screened at the Born in Baltimore festival. All the work was very strong this year, and several of the award winning films had intense, social justice themes that hit hard. The Lunatics brought up the end with some comic relief.

We are fortunate to have such a wonderful festival here.