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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This Too Shall Pass: Love: Grace Film Festival: Official Selection


This Too Shall Pass     
Buy Tickets 
Italy
Lanugage: English
Runtime: 3:55
Category: Love
Screening Date: January 31, 2015

Is it possible to be simultaneously ecstatic and miserable? Will this moment ever end? How I wish it would last forever. This Too Shall Pass is an animated short that takes an honest look at the extreme highs and lows of parenting young children in the 21st century.

Using 2D digital painting techniques as well as rotoscoped home movies, animator Kristen Palana tries to come to terms with her conflicting feelings about the joys and hardships of parenting two spirited boys in a foreign country. The animation is a reflection on motherhood, initially based on a poem that Palana scrawled in her journal while dealing with postpartum depression when her sons were two months and two years old. She tries to capture the extreme mood swings, longings, epiphanies, and anxieties that often color the lives of new parents who have been catapulted out of their comfort zones into a strange but also wonderful new existence.

Director: Kristen Palana
Kristen Palana is a multimedia artist and educator based in Rome, Italy and is currently a tenured Associate Professor of Digital Media at The American University of Rome where she also runs its Film and Digital Media Program. She has fourteen years of university teaching experience in Rome as well as in and around the NYC area.

Kristen is a dual American/Portuguese citizen and has offered art and multimedia courses in North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Her work is exhibited internationally and online and has received a number of awards. Kristen received her MFA from Pratt Institute in Computer Graphics and Interactive Media and also holds a BFA in Painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Previous animations and video shorts include "Veggie Propaganda" (2011) an animated music video with a quirky message about animal rights that screened in 14 international festivals and won 6 Best Animation awards, "Larry & Roz" (2008) - a fine art animation about one couple's six decade relationship which screened at 25 international film festivals and won five Best Animation awards, "Lucky" (2006) -a documentary about one Indian American girl's arranged marriage and "Yellow Ribbons," (2004) -a stop motion animated political ad created for Moveon.org. Her multimedia animation about her experiences in Brooklyn and India, "Five O'Clock Shadows," screened in international animation and film festivals in 2002 and 2003. Excerpts and stills of her work can be found at her website at: http://kpalana.com.

She has lived and worked in Ireland, Scotland, India, Tanzania, Liberia, and Italy. Traveling and volunteering in developing countries rank among her biggest interests. Kristen lives with her husband Michael and two sons, Lukas and Nico in Rome, Italy.

Director’s Statement
This Too Shall Pass began as a harried “poem” scribbled in my journal one gloomy February afternoon in a crowded Subway sandwich shop in the center of Rome when I was able to snag a babysitter and get my first ever one hour break in over two months. Not having really enough time to sleep or do anything exciting or of consequence, I huddled over my American chocolate chip cookie, wondering why I ever thought it would be a good idea to have babies in a foreign country thousands of miles away from any family who could have lent a bit of emotional support. With wintery weather, no car, and most of my friends working during the day, it proved to be an isolating time to say the least.

I wasn't the stereotypical “bitchy” pregnant woman that sitcoms lovingly poke fun at to the sounds of canned laughter. However something DID happen chemically within me when my baby was born and I began nursing that amplified my negative emotions and robbed me of most of my happy ones. This was my second time experiencing a case of “mild” postpartum depression, and yet being mentally prepared for the turmoil the second time around proved to be of little comfort. I also found myself becoming hyper-sensitive to judgmental comments about my children from strangers and family alike, ie: the people who were supposed to be the most supportive.

I began working with the little poem as a sort of voiceover to an animation that I wanted to be about my ever-changing emotional state. I also wanted to show that despite my inner turmoil at the time, I really DO love my children and thus, the animation also became a reflection on how slowly and quickly time passes as well as on motherhood itself.

Even though I'm a working mother with a hectic job as a University Professor, my identity has always been rooted in the fact that I'm an artist and I make things. Being able to work on this animation a little bit day by day (when I actually could) was cathartic and healing. Through animating and the passage of time, I slowly began to feel somewhat human again. Most of the multimedia work that I tend to do aims to promote positive social change. This Too Shall Pass as well as Larry & Roz (2008), created after my beloved grandparents passed away, are different because they were made to heal my own emotional pain as well as somehow affix loved ones in an animated time capsule of my own making.

Two plus years later I still live in Italy but times are much better. My gorgeous and brilliant sons are almost three and five respectively. They won't understand or even be able to watch This Too Shall Pass in its entirety until they are older, but my hope is that it will someday mean as much to them as it does to me.