By Keisha Martin

Showcasing her films The Lingerie Show, Little Red Giant, The Monster That I Was, Tears For Narcissus, No Such Luck, and Bottomland, filmmaker/director/animator/painter/teacher Laura Harrison gave the audience a look into her mind and artistic spirit. When asked about her usage of darker storylines, she responded, “I wanted to express things that I felt that I wasn’t allowed to express as a woman.” “I made these [films] for myself and I never expected them to go anywhere,” Harrison continued. Despite her humility, or because of it, her films have been screened across the US and the world. Indeed, one such place is right here in Athens Ohio. Harrison is an alum to the Athens International Film and Video Festival. Her film, The Lingerie Show, screened here in 2015 and she won best animation in 2018 with Little Red Giant, The Monster That I Was.

Harrison did not start out in animation. She was a painter at first. “Painting was so weird. It's not a very emphatic art and there were stories that I wanted to tell. Animation brought everything together that I was interested in.” Harrison’s animated films are ones that combine the art of filmmaking and painting into a creative soup of techniques and styles. Using her own style, Harrison tells stories about marginalized individuals that are outcasted from their own cultures. “Women are raised to be elegant and beautiful and I just couldn't do it anymore. So I let it out. “

Harrison provided a sneak peek into the feature-length animated movie she is currently working on called The Limits of Vision. The 12-minute tease only left the audience wanting to see more. Despite her success and love of filmmaking, Harrison did express a desire to return to her roots of painting in the future, “it’s different to make a single image instead of a moving image…I love painting and I miss it.”

Laura Harrison is a featured artist and member of the jury of the 46th Athens International Film and Video Festival. It will continue at the Athena Cinema in downtown Athens, Ohio until Sunday.