Follow the five steps below to get the most out of your UnLonely Film Festival experience!
Step 1: Watch the film.
Ryan is a portrait of Ryan Larkin, a renowned Canadian animator when his life is a wrenching mix of substance abuse, homelessness, panhandling and mental illness. The film uses interviews with Larkin and his friends and colleagues as well as excerpts from his own animations in creating an extraordinarily beautiful, dynamic, discombobulated and disturbing visual experience reflecting Larkin’s reality.
Note: After the release of Ryan and attendant fame, Larkin had a period of renewal and worked again in animation before his death.
About the FIlmmaker
Chris Landreth went into animation as a second career after training as an engineer and working in fluid mechanics. His innovation in CGI animation meets his interest in high intensity, emotionally complex subjects resulting in an approach he calls “psycho-realism.” An American, he has worked in Canada for many years. His films are internationally recognized and have received Oscar nominations with Ryan winning the award in 2005.
Step 2: Explore these things after watching the film.
- Why do you think the illustrator chose to represent the characters this way? Do you see yourself as similarly missing parts that were once whole? Or, are there others close to you who could be represented this way?
- For both the narrator and for Ryan the self-doubting is visualized as tentacles that extend from the head only to snap down around their bodies to seemingly imprison them. How does self-doubting impact you? Does it interfere with your professional life and/or personal relationships? Are you able to minimize its impact on your life, and if so, how?
- Were you surprised to see that Ryan was pan-handling or begging for money at the end of the film? Can you think of another time when you were surprised by someone’s financial status? And did it impact the way you interacted with them?
- Make a flipbook and experience the wonder of movement through still images. Watch a tutorial here. Once you have selected your materials, think of a simple human activity or motion—like Walking á la Ryan Larkin—that you will have fun drawing.
- Be a voyeur for a day. Go to a public place with a pencil/pen and a pad of paper and ‘enjoy human behavior.’ Be a careful observer and make sure to capture within your sketches important telling details that make each person unique. Try to work quickly so you can collect as much information as possible before they walk away. Once you’ve quickly sketched a few interesting subjects, then consider drawing one of the portraits bigger, more carefully and with precision.
- What does your addiction look like? Use clay or kid’s playdough/model magic to create a personified 3D vision of your addiction, whether it is cigarettes, your phone, cookies, or prescription drugs or alcohol. What color is your addiction? What are its primary features and what does it lack? For example, would you say your addiction is blind but hungry?
Our Try This page has even more creative expression inspiration!
Step 3: Join in the conversation about the film.
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