film still from Lotus Lantern (above).
Xingpei Shen received the Chris Frayne Award for Best Animated Film at the
56th Ann Arbor Film Festival.
How did you come to know that film would be an important medium for
I did not start working with film/animation until I went to college at Rhode Island
School of Design (RISD).
When I was a child, I used to draw a lot, so I knew that I wanted to be
an artist. Because I never had
any formal art education before RISD, I was interested in a lot of different things.
I gravitated towards animation eventually. It was the perfect medium for me to
explore because of its involvement with many other disciplines, such as drawing,
sound, performance, dance, and storytelling, etc.
Once you knew that, what did you do? Did you seek formal training,
practical experience, or some combination of the two?
I was in art school when I started animation, and this film was made as my
thesis film during my senior year.
Why film (animation)?
It satisfies my love for drawing. I particularly enjoy the painfully long process of
working on a hand-drawn animated film, because I get to develop an innate
relationship with the work, which informs the way I think and see.
Suzan Pitt - Asparagus
Trips to my Grandma’s
Current sources of inspiration?
I take a lot of inspiration from my walks around my neighborhood. Other than that, I
grew a special interest in Yang Liping’s choreography.
What are you working on?
I am currently working on a new short film titled Wishing Fountain.
What’s on your mind (and in your heart) these days?
I think a lot about spatial dynamics and the history of the city where I currently live
(Los Angeles) and the people who live here: families, immigrants, gentrifiers, capitalists,
socialists, people who create culture and people who consume culture, etc.