Jane Shadbolt is a designer and animator. She is the director of the short stop-motion animation The Cartographer, winner of two awards at the Australian Production Designer Guild Awards, which has screened at numerous international festivals. She has worked as a freelancer on feature and short films. She joined the Design department at the University of Newcastle in 2008. Every year since 2009 Jane has brought to Newcastle the travelling component of the Australian International Animation Festival. This year’s event will take place at University of Newcastle over two nights on 10 & 11 April.
We asked Jane about her the Festival and her love of animation.
Tell us about your background.
I’m originally from Sydney. I’ve been in Newcastle for the last 5 years. I came to Newcastle to teach in Design and didn’t know the first thing about Newy, but now I love it.
What are you passionate about? Can others in the community get involved? How?
I’m passionate about animation in all its forms. I think it’s a really powerful medium. Anyone can animate, you used to need tons of equipment and now anyone can get involved. You can shoot animation on a phone if you want.
What’s been the most unexpected aspect of your work so far?
People always say I must be really patient and to be fair, if I wasn’t an animator and you described the process of animation to me I’d say “Wow! that sounds really boring!”, but actually it’s one the most engaging activities of making that I know. There is always a new decision to make and I still get a thrill out of making stuff move.
You’re organising the 2014 Australian International Animation Festival in Newcastle (10 & 11 April). Can you tell us a little about how that came about?
The first time I saw the Festival in Melbourne I was blown away by just how vibrant and diverse the films were. It was such an eye-opener in terms of contemporary animation practices. There are very few opportunities to see independent animations and here were dozens of them. I found out that the Festival has a touring component and jumped at the chance to bring it to Newcastle. Animation engages with the world in such an interesting way and it’s such a privilege to bring a little bit of that world to Newcastle.
What do you hope will be achieved by what you are doing?
I hope the festival inspires future animators and filmmakers to really explore how they create their visual worlds in exciting and novel ways. I’d love to see a thriving community of animators in Newcastle too.
As for me, I’m happy just to watch (and be inspired by) the best of the best in contemporary animation.
What’s been your proudest achievement to date?
I think having my own short animation, The Cartographer, screen at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) was an unexpected pleasure. I hopefully imagined them firing up the Large Hadron Collider to play it but it was actually in a screening theatre as part of the CineGlobe Festival.
What would be your dream project?
An hybrid animated/live action feature about enormous Kaiju rising from the sea at Nobby’s Beach. They are defeated by a secret local government group who have spent years training for kaiju attack in a hidden facility underneath the Newcastle City Council building. The top floors will rotate shooting lasers. It will also be a love story.
What does the future hold?
Probably not my dream project.
What’s your favourite Newcastle neighbourhood and why?
I lived in Wickham for a couple of years and I still have a soft spot for it. I love walking my dog next to the harbour and watching the fishing trawlers go out.
Can you name a local hero?
Marni Jackson and her work for Renew Newcastle. It’s such a great initiative that has contributed so much to Newcastle. And dealing with artists is like herding cats so she should get a medal for that too.
What do you look forward to doing most in Newcastle in summer?
Sheltering from the heat. I like rugging up for winter.
Where and what was the last greatest meal you had in Newcastle?
I had a dessert at subo so delicious that it nearly melted my mind. It was an almost transcendental experience.
What is your favourite getaway destination?
Hong Kong. My brother lives there and every time I go I think I’ve travelled to the future.
Your #1 Newcastle insiders tip?
I’m not an insider yet. I’m a faux-vocastrian. But I think that fish and chips at Nobbys Beach kiosk is one of life’s simple pleasures.