This retrospective of seven of Faith Hubley’s short films, including her newest creation, <i>Witch Madness</i>, demonstrates the vibrancy and range of a body of work from one of independent animation’s true innovators. Whether in original collaborations with her husband, John, or an equally productive career of her own, the spectrum of her free-spirited films reflects a range of aesthetics that borrows freely from indigenous cultures, both ancient and modern. <i>Witch Madness</i> depicts a neglected chapter of human history: Europe’s three centuries of fanatical witchhunts, which resulted in the genocide of perhaps as many as two million women. But ultimately, the film communicates a message of love and hope. A self-reflective journey through the memories of a lifetime, <i>My Universe Inside Out</i> (1996) exhibits the organic nature of past experiences, while the lyrical <i>Africa</i> (1998) celebrates the birth of civilization, using the inventive artistry of pulsating pictographs that constantly evolve into other exuberant images of life.
As Joe Morgenstern of the Wall Street Journal so eloquently put it, “[Her] animation teems with images so zestful, so restless and, for the most part, so joyous that they seem to be celebrating their release from tubes of paint or bottles of ink.” Hubley’s life-affirming iconography challenges while it welcomes and reconnects us with mysticism, an openhearted acceptance of female-centered philosophy, and a reverence for the natural world. Her daughter, Emily Hubley, who began working as an animator on her mother’s work, has gone on to establish a career of her own. Her newest work, <i>Pigeon Within</i> (1999), also plays at the Festival this year.