Glass Gardens (1982)

Directed, written, designed, animated, filmed, and music supervised by Lisa Crafts.

Director’s Statement:
Glass Gardens is an allegory of the role creativity plays in the survival of the human spirit. It portrays a life of possibilities and rejuvenation against a backdrop of desolation and ruin. The protagonist is a woman who wanders a deserted urban landscape, gathering relics, and creating new works.

The film is a black and white cutout animation, rendered in graphite on paper, and completed in 1982. It utilizes a variety of animation techniques: cutout sequential drawings, jointed characters, drawing and erasing under the camera, replacement animation, and in-camera special effects. I wrote, drew and filmed Glass Gardens, and also built the animation stand that it was shot on. The music was composed by Laraaji, who was the sole musician featured on Brian Eno’s third ambient music album.

In post-apocalyptic literature and cinema, the protagonist is more often than not a male: Mad Max, A Boy and His Dog, Omega Man, etc, and survival is of the physical kind: food, clothing, and shelter. Glass Gardens portrays a self-sufficient older woman, whose curiosity and creativity sustain her spirit in a landscape of destruction.

Glass Gardens was selected for many festivals, including Seattle Film Festival, International Stuttgarter Animated Film Festival, Annecy International Animation Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, FILMEX, Cambridge (England), Sinking Creek Film Festival, and NY Filmmaker’s Expo. It was included in the Best of Annecy ‘83 tour, which traveled to Museum of Modern Art, NY, Cinematheque Quebequois, Montreal, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Pacific film Archive, Berkeley, and UCLA film archives, Los Angeles. It was part of the New England Foundation for the Arts tour, 1984, which showcased the work of the five recipients of the 1982 NE Regional Fellowship in film.

Glass Gardens had a theatrical run at Off The Wall cinema in Cambridge, with a concurrent exhibition of 20 drawings from the film. It screened at Smithsonian Institution, Art Institute of Chicago, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Coolidge Corner Moviehouse, Hirshorn Museum, International Feminist Film Conference, Amsterdam, Thalia Soho, Image forum, Tokyo, Pacific Film Archive, and on television stations WNET, WGBH, WTTW, WGBY.

You can watch Glass Gardens here