What do Isabella Rossellini, Robert Redford and Quentin Tarantino have in common? They’ve chatted with Calgarybased animator Cam Christiansen. And this blows the unassuming graphic artist away. “I didn’t set out to do this,” Christiansen confesses, just back from the Sundance film festival in Brooklyn. “This was for fun.” Christiansen, a tall, open-faced fellow, still seems surprised at the attention his quirky work has received at dozens of international film festivals – but is loving the path it has carved.
When he approached musician Kris Demeanor about making an animated short film based on one of Demeanor’s songs, neither imagined the piece, I Have Seen The Future, would be named one of the top 10 shorts at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and win best animated/experimental short film at the Los Angeles Film Festival in July.
He was equally surprised when his six-minute film – Christiansen’s first – was one of 83 selected from more than 5,000 submitted to the Sundance Film Festival this year.
The 38-year-old has been building up clientele in his multimedia company Anlanda Digital Studio since 2000, garnering contracts with Dell, Mercedes Benz and Rolex. He attributes wife Maureen Hodgan, design manager for Theatre Junction Grand, with involving him in creating visuals for stage productions. There, he fell back in love with drawing and animation. “All the experience on the interactive website development side – which I saw as a pain in the ass – ironically came in handy,” Christiansen muses.
Most recently, he created a colourful short animated film on playwright John Murrell for the National Film Board. He is now working on a short film based on Dave Bidini’s erotic hockey book, Five Hole. “I feel compelled to see where this thing will take me,” Christiansen says. “I’m having a blast following this passion.”
Volunteer, Luther Village Summer Camp
Volunteer, Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers
Volunteer, Theatre Junction