Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Meet the 2012 Tribeca Filmmakers #15: 'Consuming Spirits' Director Chris Sullivan

By Indiewire | Indiewire April 9, 2012 at 10:46AM

Chris Sullivan was one of 12 kids growing up in the hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania raised by a British mother and an Irish American father. Sullivan's been an artist since he was young, having started out as a painter and a ceramicist before moving onto animation and later film, video and performance.
1
Chris Sullivan

Chris Sullivan was one of 12 kids growing up in the hills of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania raised by a British mother and an Irish American father. Sullivan's been an artist since he was young, having started out as a painter and a ceramicist before moving onto animation and later film, video and performance.

"Since my early twenties, my animation and performance work were very separate," said Sullivan. "'Consuming Spirits' is the first time I really let the language ideas that I have developed in my performance writing and my visual ideas in animation exist in the same work."

What it's about: "Consuming Spirits" is an animated portrait of three characters in a rustbelt town, there interwoven present life, and their past history of, miracles and sins.

Director Sullivan says: "I am a fiction filmmaker, as in a fiction writer. The ideas in my work start from writing, and then the visual ideas rise up from that. One of the big challenges in my process as an animator is the speed of writing, and the snail's pace of animating. I make work about the battles of power and love between individuals. I believe that as much as we worry about the enemy without (governments, criminals, armies), I believe that most of the dangers we face in our lives come from those we love, most of the healing too.

In my work I like to show relationships out of balance, and usually teetering. Doctor/patient, master/slave, parent/child, beloved/spurned. The search for mutual love and care is a driving force in the content of my work. I like to portray these moments, usually surrounded by many misfires."

On the challenges: "I think the biggest challenge was sustaining the joy of making the film over many years. Animation is a cruel art. An idea pops into your head, and there are two months of work. There are scenes that I felt the film needed that literally were a year of work. Three years were added into the production of the film long after it's beginnings. I do not know that I would recommend this, but the notion of taking 14 years to make a film that was locked into a storyboard would have been quite a sentence, as well."

What would you like Tribeca audiences to come away with? "I really hope that the audience embraces 'Consuming Spirits' as a film, and not foremost as an animation. I hope that the film is constructed in a way that people are lost in good ways, and make discoveries along the journey of watching the film. Most of the characters are imperfect narrators, and I like that a lot, I think that the human experience is to be duped by what is really under the rock, (the over turned one) and I like films that work like that. Films that really inspire me have a moment in them, when you thought you knew what was happening, and then everything is rewritten in your brain.

"'Consuming Spirits' is constructed out of the impossibilities of my own social service childhood, memories robbed from others, and many elements made up completely. I do believe that lives are more implausible and unlikely than anyone could ever imagine, so I hope the audience will trust me, and consider that such things can and do happen.

Words of wisdom: "Sustaining a feature film through the various hurdles, financially, creatively and personally is very difficult. So my main advice to fellow filmmakers is that you make something you truly care about and also something that you are not sure what the end will be. Art does matter if you can manage to get something important out there."

Indiewire invited Tribeca Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2012 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.

This article is related to: Meet the 2012 Tribeca Filmmakers, Consuming Spirits, Tribeca Film Festival






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

Most Read



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More