John Grierson would have loved to know Jennifer Barker (b. 1967), for the breadth of her interests in cinema mirrors his ideal of the perfect director: someone who’s as at ease with documentary as with animation. For Barker this means: after dealing with all kinds of political narratives, fiction and documentary alike, in her 2012 book The Aesthetics of Antifascist Film: Radical Projection (now also out in paperback!), she’s now, for her next book, looking at early US animation’s influence around the world – what did Finns, Austrians, Japanese, Portuguese make out of Felix the Cat and his many contemporaries, how did we appropriate those images and narratives, make something our own out of them? In her research and writing, Barker loves to go where the contradictions get heavy and heady.

She worked on early Black US Cinema, wrote veritable reveries on subjects like Tilt-Shift Photography and the Modern Flâneur or the Feminism of Hermína Týrlová, contributes regularly on animation matters for Mubi, and will now once again unleash on Sodankylä’s audience a true bonanza of animated images of fluff and fury!

Olaf Möller

Jennifer Barker presents a selection of Czech animated shorts and Karel Zeman’s Invention for Destruction in her Master Classes.