Storytelling for the Screen: An Afternoon with Don Hertzfeldt

  • Saturday, June 1, 2024 / 2:00 PM - 4:30 PM (PDT)
  • Pollock Theater
  • Screening Format: 4K digital projection (84 minutes)
  • With Don Hertzfeldt (filmmaker)

The Carsey-Wolf Center is pleased to welcome UCSB alumnus Don Hertzfeldt back to the Pollock Theater for a screening and discussion of two of his animated short films. Hertzfeldt’s newest film, ME, is a 22-minute musical odyssey that mixes jazzy compositions with philosophical ruminations on trauma, technology, community, and humanity’s retreat into itself. We are also pleased to screen Hertzfeldt’s It’s Such a Beautiful Day, returning to theaters for the first time since 2012. Originally released as a series of three shorts, the film follows the existential journey of a character wrestling with memory loss and the meaning of life. The picture was captured entirely in-camera on a vintage 35mm rostrum animation stand built in the 1940s. It was one of the last surviving cameras of its kind still operating in the world. Hertzfeldt has used this camera on all of his animated films since 1999, creating the unique images and visual effects that have become the hallmarks of work. It’s Such a Beautiful Day painstakingly blends traditional hand-drawn animation and experimental optical effects with new digital hybrids, printed out one frame at time and placed under the camera. The film has been hailed by critics and audiences alike as one of the best animated films of all time.

Don Hertzfeldt will join moderator Miguel Penabella (Film and Media Studies, UCSB) for a discussion of ME and It’s Such a Beautiful Day.

This event is free but a reservation is recommended in order to guarantee a seat. Tickets will be available Friday, May 10 at 11:00 AM.



Don Hertzfeldt (filmmaker)

Don Hertzfeldt is an American independent filmmaker whose animated films have screened around the world. His work has received two Oscar nominations for Best Animated Short Film, two Sundance Film Festival Grand Prizes for Short Film, a Short Film Palm d’Or nomination at the Cannes Film Festival, and over 250 other awards.

Headshot of Miguel Penabella, photographed from the chest up. He is wearing eyeglasses, and a white shirt under an unbuttoned brown shirt.

Moderator Miguel Penabella (Film and Media Studies, UCSB)

Miguel Penabella is a PhD candidate in Film and Media Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research examines conspiracy, spectrality, and melancholia as theoretical frameworks for examining historical revisionism and questions of national cinema in the Philippines. He is also interested in theorizations of cinematic temporality and slowness.

This event is sponsored by the Carsey-Wolf Center.

Storytelling for the Screen

Since their emergence, cinema and television have been in a state of constant technological and industrial flux. But even as our ways of distributing and accessing moving images have changed, and even as tastes and styles continue shifting with the times, our passion for compelling onscreen storytelling persists. At the Carsey-Wolf Center, we are committed to fostering a nuanced understanding of cinematic and televisual storytelling across genres, formats, styles, and historical periods. To this end, we sponsor a wide range of events, programs, and workshops designed to cultivate a new generation of media storytellers, and to help audiences better understand the evolving role of narrative across diverse media forms.