An Evening with Joanna Priestley


For those in the Portland, Oregon area, the Northwest Film Center is hosting “An Evening with Joanna Priestley” on Saturday, January 28th. The event is part of the Center’s Northwest Tracking series celebrating its 40th anniversary.  Priestley is one of my favorite filmmakers who I’ve written about before. (See my article I wrote for Skwigly here and here.) 

The program includes world premieres of two animated films, Out of Shape and Eye Liner, previews of which are embedded below.

Priestley says Out of Shape is the result of a “two month collaboration with terrific sound designer Marc Rose.”

“Eye Liner,”  she notes, “explores archetypes of the human face, patterning and cultural effigies that echo facial features.”

For more information on the screening and Priestley visit the Priestley Motion Pictures website, where you can also order DVDs and even one of her flipbooks.

“A Computer Animated Hand” Added to National Film Registry

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics (1972) from Robby Ingebretsen on Vimeo.

Recently, Ed Catmull and Fred Parke’s computer animated version of Catmull’s left hand done at the University of Utah was added to the National Film Registry. (For some reason, Parke is not given any credit in the Registry’s announcement.) (The film embedded above, I should note, also includes footage of an artificial heart valve and an unidentified computer animated face.) Needless to say, the film proved to be a landmark in the development of computer animation and was later incorporated in Richard T. Heffron’s Futureworld (1976).

Ed Catmull's hand in Futureworld

Interestingly, another computer animated left hand showed up a few years later in Michael Crichton’s Looker (1981), when the Susan Dey character’s naked body is scanned into a computer; there’s no particular reason to include the hand, since one would think the viewer’s prurient interest would lie elsewhere .


Rebecca Allen, who worked at the New York Institute of Technology after Catmull left there for Lucasfilm in 1979, mentioned to me that Catmull left behind a digital version of his wife’s body, which Allen used for her own projects at NYIT. Thus, my question is was the hand in Looker a reworked version of Catmull’s or someone  else’s? Ah, such are the mysteries of film history.