Animism and the Beauty of Animation

Posted on November 8, 2010, 2:51 pm, by Elizabeth LaPensée, under INSPIRATION.

animism1Animism, an animation written by Cree filmmaker Kevin Lee Burton and Zeros2Heroes CEO Matt Toner, which I was Story Editor for, is available for viewing at The Gods’ Lake alternate reality game (ARG) website. It’ll only be up for a short while before it airs on APTN in January. Wow, it’s 2011. The first episode is open for anyone to view, and you can watch all six episodes if you create an account.

Animism tells the story of age-old treachery around the Sacred Site of Gods’ Lake, which was fictionalized as an alternate reality, but is based on Kevin Lee Burton’s interpretation of our sacred indigenous lands.

The themes are very timely, especially as we face the daunting impacts of mining and resource extraction in communities such as the Tsilhqot’in First Nation and Fort Chipewyan First Nation. Thankfully, a recent legal battle protected Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) from mining, a relief for Tsilhqot’in people such as filmmaker Helen Haig-Brown. Similar cases are taking hold, including the Beaver Lake Cree Nation case against the federal government and Alberta provincial government to halt tar sands development. Maybe a shift really is happening, as Animism suggests…


It has always been important to me to be involved in projects that not only move me forward as a writer, but that I stand by in belief. It has been an interesting and rewarding experience as story editor for Animism and cultural consultant for The Gods’ Lake ARG. For Animism, I had the opportunity to see elements of myself in a collaboration and realize the possibilities of animation for my own writing. I’m bubbling over with images in my mind that can actually be done via animation. It’s a breakthrough that I am hoping will result in tangible animations or at least good ol’ cut scenes in a game, since my writing style calls for the visual but live action Aboriginal steampunk isn’t exactly in the budget (yet). For the ARG, I had the pleasure of working with Nis Bojin, the designer and writer. It’s rare to see an ARG that is in-depth but also welcomes in people of various ARG playing experience (from nil onward).

I’m also surrounded by interesting people in Portland who are new to me, like Tess Martin, whose backlit tissue paper animations are unique and inspiring. I have a few short, short stories that are waiting for adaptation to animation. I just need to get set up with Photoshop again, and I’ll be ready to roll.

Onward to the next project and loving life,

– Beth

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