I have been making animated films since my arrival in New York from Australia in 1978. My work explores social and political themes, with a focus on women's issues.
In 1980 I collaborated with Jo Bonney to make Another Great Day. As young women who had recently moved to New York, we were examining our life choices. We developed the idea for the film from our many discussions. Another Great Day tells the story of a woman who mechanically follows the expected societal norms, which causes her a despair she doesn’t understand. We were surprised at the positive public response. The film was shown at many festivals worldwide, won awards, and was also shown on PBS stations throughout the United States. We continued our collaboration and completed Random Positions in 1983. This film examined the acceptable but frequently destructive roles people play with themselves and others in sexual relationships.
By the mid-1980s I had been playing guitar in no wave bands for a number of years. In 1985, when I was playing in Bump, I made an animated music video using one of our songs. One Nation Under TV uses hand colored and manipulated sequential photographs set to discordant music to tell the story of Bob, a bored and depressed TV addict who undergoes a series of nonsensical self-destructive acts while glued to the tube. The manipulative and addictive qualities of mainstream media are a theme in many of my films.
I completed Covered in Fleas in 1988. The film traces an hour in the life of Lulu, a neurotic, urban everywoman. After a harrowing walk home from work, Lulu returns to her apartment, where her unemployed boyfriend watches TV. They argue, her boyfriend walks out and Lulu is left to contemplate matters as best as she knows how. Unlike my earlier films, which used manipulated sequential photographs, Covered in Fleas was entirely hand drawn. The illustrations have an edgy, underground comics feel.
In the early 1990s, I received funding from the Independent Television Service (ITVS), which made it possible to make Go to Hell. The film examines how fear can be an irrational, but determining factor in how we navigate our lives. Around the same time ITVS also funded Side-Kicks Productions to create Animated Women, a four part series for public television. Mood, the third episode of the series, was devoted to me and my work. The series aired on PBS stations throughout the United States, was awarded a CINE Golden Eagle and picked up other prizes and honors at film festivals around the country.
I completed Go to Hell a few weeks before I had my second daughter. When my daughters were young, I took a hiatus from filmmaking. During those years I wrote short stories about my past. Some of these stories became There was a Little Girl, an autobiographical film spanning fifty years. I tell six stories from my life set ten years apart, each on a backdrop of political and social events of that year. It explores my personal growth and the relationships of three generations of women in my family. The film uses animation, manipulated found footage and stills to tell the stories.
In 2012 I received funding from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Jerome Foundation to make I'm Here It's Me Can You See. The film explores the effects of chronic illness on people's lives through the stories of two women with Parkinson's Disease.
My award-winning films have been screened on public television and at hundreds of festivals in the United States and throughout the world, including the Black Maria Film Festival (1st Prize), Atlanta Film Festival (Grand Jury Award and Best Animated Film), Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Films, Big Muddy Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, ASIFA, Anthology Film Archives, Film Forum, Toronto International Film Festival, London Film Festival, WNET-13 Independent Focus, PS122 Field Trips National Tour and the Jerusalem Film Festival.