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Project Update: Cedar O'Dowd on refining a unique animation process

A picture of Cedar O'Dowd. They are smiling, wearing a floral shirt with floral earings.
Courtesy Cedar O'Dowd
As a Made Here Fund recipient, Cedar O'Dowd has been able to work on a short film about trans magic and recovering from gender affirming surgery that blends live action scenes and experimental cyanotype animations.

Vermont Public launched the Made Here Fund in 2022 to broaden and diversify Vermont storytelling. Project creators will be providing updates on their work throughout the process.

Cedar O'Dowd
Project: I Have Something To Get Off My Chest

Who could've guessed animation, a process famous for being tedious and time consuming, would be so tedious and time consuming?! I've been focusing on getting my cyanotypes to work and I FINALLY (after much trial and error) got one complete cyanotype animation loop.

Figure 1 from "I Have Something To Get Off My Chest"

Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces unique, dark blue prints using blue light spectrum and ultraviolet light, often from the sun. Anna Atkins famously used cyanotype printing to document botanical specimens and compiled her work into what are recognized today as the first photographically-illustrated books. Each frame of animation in "I Have Something To Get Off My Chest" will be a cyanotype print of traditional materials like plants and photo negatives as well as more innovative objects such as my own testosterone needles. I want to challenge the notion of a binary between the natural and unnatural world, natural and unnatural bodies. I want to make people reflect on what artifacts are worth documenting.

Image of cyanotype exposure process
Cedar O'Dowd
Image of cyanotype exposure process

I've come up against some trouble with predictable sunlight that has been a minor setback. After getting frustrated, I've taken some time off working on this last month to focus on my teaching job. It's relit my fire! I think my creative process requires helping other people with theirs. This process should go faster now that I've worked out the kinks and that sun is more predictable! In addition to this I have a rough assembly of the live action stuff complete.

As Director of Content Partnership, Eric works with individuals and organizations to make connections leading to more Vermont stories. As Producer of the Made Here series, Eric partners with filmmakers from New England and Quebec to broadcast and stream local films. Find more info here:
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