Animated feature by Chris Sullivan to be shown on campus November 21

"Consuming Spirits," a critically acclaimed animated film by director Chris Sullivan, will be shown on Thursday, November 21, at 5:45 p.m. in the Donnelley Film Theatre in the Heimbold Visual Arts Center. The screening is free and open to the public.

The film "is a defiant exception to the rules and patterns of contemporary cartoon entertainment. At a time when animation is expected to be computer-generated, three-dimensional and relentlessly upbeat, Mr. Sullivan’s film is flat, handmade, and melancholy, a dark and anguished fantasy for grown-ups," wrote A.O. Scott in The New York Times on December 12, 2012. "This achingly sad…story of family secrets, sexual longings, and small-town malaise, [is] told through drawings, paper cutouts, and miniature models. The blend of narrative quasi-realism and wild, somber visual invention…is entirely original."

In his Critic’s Pic review, Scott continued, "As its title suggests, 'Consuming Spirits' is both about the power of (figurative) ghosts and the literal effects of drunkenness. It weaves a complicated, intoxicating spell and sets the mind running in several directions at once, not all of them toward happy places. The fact that these realms are represented in exaggerated, often comical pictures does not make them less disturbing, but it does create a sense of enchantment that turns bad feelings inside out. This movie is sometimes a downer, but it’s also a wonder."

Critic Monica Westin noted the film "tells an intertwined family saga of characters both utterly grotesque and endlessly lovable, thanks to Sullivan’s dark humor and palpable empathy for outsiders. As with much of [his] work, the plot is profoundly convoluted and complicated by visual jokes and shifts in tone, character, time, and space...In this epic film [the director] has explored and shown new light on themes that are often the stuff of cliché: disappointments in love, the endless permutations of ways our families can damage us, and the particularities of the American soul." (From "Reanimated Spirits," December 13, 2012)

"We feel very fortunate to be screening Chris Sullivan's new film, "Consuming Spirits" at Sarah Lawrence this year. The density and hand-crafted detail of this film typify Chris's work where the darkest realms of the human spirit are not only investigated but brought to life in an utterly enchanting manner," said Robin Starbuck, Visual Arts faculty member at SLC.

Mr. Sullivan is an artist and Professor of Film and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The screening is made possible by the generous support of the Spencer Barnett Memorial Fund.

For more information, contact College Events at (914) 395-2412 or