Films

I am interested in abstracting imagery from a variety of working processes, and putting these into movement on film. The imagery is either drawn by hand frame-by-frame directly onto paper before shooting on film, or captured and modified by hand for a frame-by-frame film production. I work so that each short animated film engages the audience’s perception and educates that perception on how the work must be viewed. My works therefore are not structured as commercial narratives, but are, rather, graphic musings on themes like: acceleration, the starry sky, looking, landscape. Continuities in my film are not provided by assembly-line smoothness, but by movement, sound design, argument, and emotion.

For my filmography in PDF format, click here

Car Crash Opera (2012)

7 minutes, 50 seconds. 2012
“Car Crash Opera” is constructed as an homage to that paragon of American cinematic art form staples — the car crash film. But this is sung as an opera, with seven characters, graphic and musical flourishes, poignant interludes, orchestration, and sound effects.

“Car Crash Opera” plays between the funny and tragic, the graphically beautiful and terrifying, an all musical mechanical pileup, and more sublime than ironic. The soundtrack is as romantic and oversized as the visual elements of the film, all in a contemporary constructed extravaganza, a cartoon.

Fully hand drawn animated film of eight minutes. Publication Jan. 20, 2012.
Film animator, librettist, and producer of both opera and film.
Music composed by Jairo DuArte Lopez and Michaela Eremiasova.  Opera recorded and mixed for soundtrack March 2007. 

Car Crash Opera performed live with professional performers and Baptist choir background as part of the VOX Festival 2009, a curated competition of ten new international operas, Lincoln Center and New York University, NY.  May 2009.

In competition: Ottawa International Animation Festival (2014).  Ottawa CANADA.

Awarded: ASIFA-East: “Best Soundtrack”.  New York NY (2014).

A new animated film combines opera with a great American movie tragic-comedy — the car crash. Yes, it’s a CAR-TUNE. Battaglia wrote the libretto “In bad Italian” to translate directly into bad English. Hell, operas aren’t supposed to be intelligible, are they? The orchestral score, composed by recent Eastman Ph.D. (music composition) graduates Jairo DuArte-Lopez and Michaela Eremiasova, intertwines the beat of tangos, the din of dinner theater musicals, and the thrills of commercial film suspense effects with its ‘cabaret-opera’ sound.

Crossing The Stream (2006)

35mm color film. 4 minutes. 2006
About work. About consciousness. Meditation on water, and the animation of water. A poem in the shape of a stream, for Bruce Baillie.

Hand-drawn animation on paper with pencil and watercolor Musicians recorded individually in Cholula, Mexico but finally sequenced, designed and mixed in the U.S.A.

The film was designed as a meditation on daily work, and on the animation of water. The campesino proceeds one step at a time, like all of our own labors (and the process of frame-by-frame animation). I did this film while contemplating the long walk of the Appalachian Trail in 2007. “Crossing the Stream” also provides an animated redefinition of the expressive possibilities of water at a time when much of computer-generated animated water looks all the same.

Second Nature (2000)

35mm color film. 5 minutes. 2000.
At a carnival everything is for sale, but the box of beautiful nature is the most coveted. A fight ensues, and the nature box explodes. Adama and Eve…

Sound performance by the accoustic poetry performance group F’loom; effects by Battaglia.

Received a $10.000 grant towards production from The New York State Council on the Arts through Pyramid Arts Center, Rochester NY.

Opened Feb. 18, 2000 at The Little Theaters, Rochester, New York. Film presently scheduled for screening in Hiroshima JAPAN, Zagreb, CROATIA. Ottawa, Canada, and New York City USA.

Current honored film screenings:

  • Charles Samu Award ( for professional film expressing human cooperation); ASIFA – East, New York 2000.
  • Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Colorado. One of the three animators selected for 2000 fest.
  • Animamundi, Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2000.
  • On tour: NY State Film Festival, fall – winter 2000.

At a carnival everything is for sale, but the box of beautiful nature is the most coveted. A fight ensues, and the nature box explodes. Adama and Eve… Sound performance by the accoustic poetry performance group F’loom; effects by Battaglia.

Taki Dom (1997)

An animated film on paper created with the painted bodies of two chickens. What comes first: the chicken, the egg, or the chicken dinner? A music video for F’loom.

Designed and produced with Julie Anne Jurgens and Daniel Pejril. Computer animation to experimental musical performance score by F’loom. 4:30

An animated film on paper created with the painted bodies of two chickens. What comes first: the chicken, the egg, or the chicken dinner? A music video for F’loom. Designed and produced with Julie Anne Jurgens and Daniel Pejril. Computer animation to experimental musical performance score by F’loom. 4:30

Restlessness (1994)

A surrealist tale, a film graphically motivated by the movements of a snake, a “bachelor machine”, a play on the exquisite corpse game, a diaristic animation, a film which does everything in animation I tell my students NOT to do… and a love story of man and woman: the ground and the sky. What more do you require?

A fully animated experimental 35mm color film, digital sound, 4:30. Film drawn on xerographic cels from photos, paper and animation acetates with brushed acrylics and colored pencils.
Funded by The American Filmmaker Program, The American Film Institute, $18,000. Initial production funding through the New York State Council on the Arts, $10,000.

An animated film by Skip Battaglia. Sound design: Bill Thomas.

A surrealist “bachelor machine,” an exploration of imagery from my dreams applied to a film structure. Animated in brushed acrylic, pencil, and ink over color xerographic cels and paper, some which have been torn and assembled pre-Photoshop. Here I do what I told my students never to do in an animated film: don’t make a diarist work; don’t mix 2D and 3D; never show your hands… Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Geologic Time (1989)

An animated investigation of landscape formation and change. “Look at this mountain; once it was fire” (Paul Cezanne).

A fully animated 35mm and 16mm film in color, digital sound, 6:00. Grant of $18,000 for production from National Endowment for the Arts 1985

“Geologic Time” is about the perception of large-scale events over time, landscape formation, and the lyrical depiction of landscape in art. This poetic and personal animation is a moving impression of catastrophe, equilibrium, and change in a hand-drawn animated film, providing a portrait of eternity. Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Academy Leader Variations (1987)

Collaborator. Executed two sections in this first international animation projects with animators from People’s Republic of China, Switzerland, Poland and US.

The Animated Star Spangled Banner (1990)

Producer of a collaborative animation. Opening film, “3rd Animation Celebration” January 1991. Distributed in 35mm and 16mm worldwide by Expanded Entertainment. Selected “Best of the Fest” Movies on a Shoestring. Opened short film selection: 1990 Telluride Film Festival. Available on video.

Brainstormers (1986)

Television show opening for weekly high school academic question and answer program. WXXI-TV Rochester, NY

Pigment Forest (1985)

Painted in oil paints under the camera on 31 canvas supports which are exchanged every two frames. An animated paint study.

All design, painting, direction and editing, 16mm color 3:00. Animated in oil paint on canvas supports. Received $2000 LIFT grant from Monroe County, NY toward production

How the Frog’s Eye Sees (1984)

The frog does not see what does not move. To the frog, to move is to exist. Minimalist cartoon. Music by Brian Eno.

All design, drawing direction, sound and editing on this fully animated 16mm color film. 6:30. Received $10,000 grant form New York State Council on Arts towards production. Opened December 1984 at Little Theater, Rochester NY

Music selection courtesy of Brian Eno. The frog does not see what does not move. To the frog, to move is to exist. This fully animated study in movement and perception employs the point of view of a frog as a basis for this “minimalist cartoon”.

Boccioni’s Bike (1981) 

A study of acceleration and a homage to the Italian Futurists. An animation pof shifting shapes and mechanical rhythms.

All design, drawing, direction, sound and editing on this fully animated 16mm color film. 8:00. Awarded $2800 grant for production, New York State Council on the Arts 1982. Opened October 1981 at the International Museum of Photography/George Eastman House Rochester, NY

“Boccioni’s Bike” is a personally animated lyrical interpretation of the movements of a bicyclist depicted in the graphic style of the Italian Futurists. “Boccioni’s Bike” is also a homage to the wheel and to rotational movement, the basis of our passing mechanical civilization. Finally, not about a bicycle, but about acceleration. This is the first film Battaglia drew, and evidence of his learning is in the image as he drew the film “straight ahead.” Voted “One of the 200 Most Important Films” in the first 100 years of cinema culture by the National Arts Council, Australia.

Parataxis (1980)

A “shuffled” animation of xerox images from film mixed with audio lines. A structural animation. I am told that this is the first animation accomplished with a Xerox machine.

All scripting, design, direction, image processing, editing and animation. 16mm color 3:00. Historically appreciated as the first film xerographically animated. Created with the assistance of a Xerox 6500 Color Copier on paper. Opened May 1980 at the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY

A romantic mystery. A structural film. A shuffling of cels. About desire and memory. A definition of looking. A fake French deconstructionist work. The filmmaker finds it funny. Historically appreciated as the first film xerographically animated film. Created with the assistance of a Xerox 6500 Color Copier on paper. Opened May 1980 at the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, as a part of the “Electroworks” exhibition.

Skip Battaglia
Email: skipbatt@hotmail.com

Photo of Skip Battaglia
copyright Willie Osterman

Website Design:
Mike Krause / Skip Battaglia