Joanna Priestley

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Joanna Priestley
Priestley by Tim Sugden web.jpg
Joanna Priestley in her studio in 2013, with the Movieola she used to edit her 16mm films.
EducationRhode Island School of Design, University of California at Berkeley (BFA 1995), California Institute of the Arts (MFA 1985)
Known forFilmmaking, animation, teaching, Burning Man events
Spouse(s)Paul Harrod

Joanna Priestley Joanna Priestley is a contemporary film director, producer, animator and teacher. She lives and works in Portland, Oregon.

Early life and education[edit]

Priestley was born in Portland, Oregon to Mae Irene and Arthur James Priestley. She grew up in a wooded area near the Willamette River with horses, dogs, a cat and a huge collection of comic books. Priestley began experimenting with animation early in her life. In an interview with Harvey Deneroff[1] she explained: "One of the first toys I was given was a zoetrope, which worked on a little turntable and had little zoetrope strips with it. I loved it! I'm sure I became an animator because of that toy. Then I started drawing on the corners of my textbooks in grade school, and later studied art in high school and college, where I specializing in painting and printmaking."


Priestley studied painting and animation at Rhode Island School of Design and received a BFA in Art (with a minor in Art History) from the University of California at Berkeley, graduating with honors.[2] During her final year there she produced thousands of posters used in protests against the Vietnam War and she was the Art Department representative to the Ad Hoc Committee to End the War.

Priestley received a Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts, where she received the Louis B. Mayer Award. For two years she was the teaching assistant for famed abstract animator Jules Engel. Priestley made the first computer animated film at Cal Arts, "Jade Leaf" (1985), using the Cubicomp, early animation hardware that was purchased by Cal Arts in the fall of 1984. Priestley and Engel co-directed "Times Square" (1986), also using the Cubicomp[3] to generate images and recording them on a 16mm Bolex camera on a tripod, positioned in front of the monitor.

Joanna Priestley at an exhibition of her animation art (watercolor and ink on index cards) from "Voices", Main Gallery, California Institute of the Arts in 1985.


In 1977, Priestley co-founded and co-directed (with Martha Kelley) Strictly Cinema in Bend, OR. They presented film festivals in Bend and weekly film screenings at Bend and Redmond High Schools. She became the Regional Coordinator, Editor of "The Animator" and Coordinator of the Northwest Film and Video Festival at the Northwest Film Center at the Portland Art Museum between 1978 and 1983. Gene Youngblood, one of the jurors of the Northwest Film and Video Festival, encouraged her to apply to Cal Arts. In 1988, Priestley founded ASIFA-Northwest with Marilyn Zornado. This ASIFA chapter included the northwest region of the United States which comprised Portland, Seattle, Vancouver B.C., and the areas in between. It is now known as ASIFA-Portland. Priestley was president of ASIFA-NW for four years.

Priestley founded her own company, Priestley Motion Pictures, in 1985, where she has directed, produced and animated 27 short films [4] and Clam Bake[5] (2014), an iOS app. Animated Women: Joanna Priestley,[6] a short documentary with three of Priestley's films, was broadcast on PBS and BBC2[7] in 1995-96. Priestley has directed animation segments for Sesame Street ("“The Lumps: Rejection Victories” and “The Lumps: Social Skills”, 1990) and directed and animated music video sequences for Tears for Fears (“Sowing the Seeds of Love”, 1988) and Joni Mitchell (“Good Friends”, 1985) and a PBS series title: “Making Peace” (1996). After directing and producing short films from 1979 to 2015, Priestley made an abstract feature film, North of Blue, which premiered at the Annecy International Animation Festival[8] in France in June, 2018.

Priestley has received fellowships from Creative Capital,[9] National Endowment for the Arts (USA), American Film Institute (USA),[10] Fundación Valparaíso (Spain), Millay Colony (USA), Klondike Institute of Art and Culture (Canada)[11] and the Caldera Arts Foundation (USA). She was awarded the 2007-08 Media Arts Fellowship from the Regional Arts and Culture Council[12] and her films are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), the Academy Film Archive and the Library of Congress.

Joanna Priestley in 2010.

Priestley's influences include David Hockney, Jane Aaron, Hilma af Klint, Mary Ellen Bute, Len Lye, Norman McLaren and Jules Engel. She has taught animation, portfolio design and cinema history at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Northwest Film Center/Portland Art Museum, Art Institute of Portland and Volda University College (Volda Norway) as well as teaching animation workshops throughout the US and in Canada, Germany and Norway. She is an active proponent of animation as an art form and has worked throughout her career to improve the status and exposure of animation in academia, museums, galleries and the media worldwide. Priestley has presented two papers at the Society for Animation Studies Conference, including "Creating a Healing Mythology: The Art of Faith Hubley"[13] in 1992 and has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1992.

"I love Joanna's films. They're brilliant, inventive and amazing. She's the queen of independent animation."—Bill Plympton

Selected Filmography[edit]


  • The Rubber Stamp Film (1983, 7 minutes, stamps on paper)
  • The Dancing Bulrushes (1985, 5 minutes, sand animation)
  • Voices (1985, 4 minutes, drawings on paper)[14]
  • Jade Leaf (1985, 5 minutes, computer animation)
  • Times Square (1986, 4 minutes, computer animation)
  • Candyjam (1988, 7 minutes, drawings, puppets and object animation)
  • She-Bop (1988, 8 minutes, drawings and puppet animation)
  • All My Relations (1990, 5 minutes, drawings on paper with 3-D frames)
  • After the Fall (1991, 6 minutes, drawings on paper, location shooting)[15]
  • Pro and Con (1993, 9 minutes, 2-D puppets, drawings and clay painting)[16]
  • Grown Up (film)|Grown Up]] (1993, 7 minutes, drawings on paper, pixillated hands and object animation)
  • Hand Held (1995, 7 minutes, drawings on paper with pixillated hands)
  • Utopia Parkway (1997, 5 minutes, drawings on paper and replacement animation)
  • Kali Yuga (2000, 04' 13", 2-D computer)
  • Surface Dive (2000, 7.5 minutes, 1.85:1, drawings on paper and replacement sculptures)
  • Andaluz (2004, 6 minutes, 1.85:1, drawings on paper)[17]
  • Dew Line (2005, 4.5 minutes, 2-D computer)
  • Extended Play (2007, 4 minutes, 2-D computer)
  • Streetcar Named Perspire (2007, 6.5 minutes, 1.85:1, 2-D computer)[18]
  • Missed Aches (2009, 03' 53", 16:9, 2-D computer)
  • Eye Liner (2011, 03' 53", 16:9,2-D computer)
  • Out of Shape (2011, 01' 00", 2-D computer)
  • Choking Hazard (2011, 01'30" 16:9, 2-D computer)
  • Rumpy Pumpy (2013, 01'47" 16:9, 2-D computer)
  • Dear Pluto (2012, 04' 13" 16:9, 2-D computer)
  • Split Ends 5.1] (2013, 03' 37" 16:9, 2-D computer)[19]
  • Bottle Neck (2013, 04' 13" 16:9, 2-D computer)[20]
  • PDX PIX (2018, 02' 04" 16:9, Super 8 film transferred to HD digital file)[21]
  • North of Blue (2018, 01:00:05 16:9, 2-D computer)[22]

Music Videos[edit]

  • "Good Friends" (Joni Mitchell, 1985, photocopy animation) Sequence director/animator for Blashfield and Associates
  • "Sowing the Seeds of Love" (Tears for Fears, 1988, photocopy animation) Sequence director/animator for Blashfield and Associates


  • Sesame Street Productions: "The Lumps: Rejection Victories" (1990, 30 seconds)
  • Sesame Street Productions: "The Lumps: Social Skills" (1990, 30 seconds, drawings on paper with 3-D frames)
  • PBS Series Title: "Making Peace" (1996, 60 seconds, drawings on paper)

Apps and DVD Compilations[edit]

  • Fighting Gravity DVD (2005, 67 min.) Produced and directed by Joanna Priestley. 
  • Relative Orbits DVD (2005, 78.5 min.) Eight short films and two bonus documentaries. Produced and directed by Joanna Priestley.[23]
  • Best of Tricky Women 2009 DVD (2009, 60 min.) Contains Streetcar Named Perspire by Joanna Priestley.[24]
  • Clam Bake (2012, iOS app for iPhone/iPad/iPod, 2-D computer/experimental flash art)[25]
  • Escape Velocity DVD (2015, 39 min.) Nine animated short films produced and directed by Joanna Priestley.
  • Venus Twist DVD (2015, 55 min.) Seven animated short films produced and directed by Joanna Priestley with a behind the scenes documentary.


  • 2017. British Film Institute, National Film Theater (London, UK)[26]
  • 2017. Stuttgart International Animation Festival (Stuttgart, Germany)[27]
  • 2016. Tricky Women Animation Festival (Vienna, Austria)[28]
  • 2015. Art Education Conference (Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA, USA)[29]
  • 2015. Cinema Pacific Festival (Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, OR)[30]
  • 2014. POW Festival (Portland, OR) Received POW Festival Pioneer[31]
  • 2013. Sisters Movie House (Sisters, OR)
  • 2013. Northwest Film Center, Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR)
  • 2009. Cinemateca Santa Ana (San Miguel de Allende, Mexico)
  • 2009. REDCAT (Los Angeles, CA)[32]
  • 2005. American Cinematheque (Los Angeles, CA)
  • 2005. Jeonju International Film Festival (Jeonju, Korea)
  • 2005. Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN)
  • 2003. Northwest Film Center, Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR)
  • 2000. Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY)
  • 2000. Masters of Animation (Trivandrum, India)
  • 2000. Pacific Film Archive (Berkeley, CA)
  • 1995. Animerter Dager (Oslo, Norway)
  • 1994. Stuttgart International Animation Festival (Stuttgart Germany)
  • 1990. Center for Contemporary Art (Warsaw, Poland)


  • 2018: Local Sightings Film Festival: Best Sound Design Award and Best Feature Original Score Award for North of Blue[33]
  • 2016: Hiroshima International Animation Festival: Best of the World Program for Bottle Neck
  • 2014: Black Maria Film Festival: Director's Choice Award (USA) for Split Ends[34]
  • 2014: POW Fest (Portland, OR) Priestley received the Pioneer Award[31]
  • 2013: Ann Arbor Film Festival: Art & Science Award for Dear Pluto[35]
  • 2012: ASIFA-San Francisco Film Festival: First Place, Independent Animation for Dear Pluto[36]
  • 2011: USA Film Festival: First Prize for Eye Liner[37]
  • 2011: Black Maria Film Festival (USA): Second Prize for Eye Liner
  • 2009: Black Maria Film Festival: First Prize (Jury Award) for Missed Aches
  • 2009: USA Film Festival: Finalist for Missed Aches
  • 2008: Media Arts Fellowship, Regional Arts and Culture Council[38]
  • 2005: Big Muddy Film Festival: First Prize for Dew Line
  • 2004: Black Maria Film Festival: Director's Choice Award for Andaluz (Co-directed with Karen Aqua)
  • 2004: ASIFA Festival: Excellence in Experimental Techniques Award for Andaluz (Co-directed with Karen Aqua)
  • 2001: Tricky Women Animation Festival: First Prize/City of Vienna Prize[39]
  • 2000: Seoul International Cartoon and Animation Festival: First Place Award for Expression for Surface Dive
  • 2000: World Animation Celebration: Second Prize: Best Experimental Film for Surface Dive
  • 1998: Northwest Film and Video Festival: Judges award for Utopia Parkway [40]
  • 1997: San Francisco International Film Festival: Golden Gate Award for Utopia Parkway
  • 1997: Big Muddy Film Festival: Best of Festival for Utopia Parkway
  • 1995: Marin County Film Festival (USA): First Prize for Hand Held
  • 1995: Northwest Film and Video Festival (USA): First Prize for Hand Held
  • 1994: Northwest Film and Video Festival (USA): First Prize for Grown-Up
  • 1994: Marin County Film Festival (USA): First Prize for Grown-Up
  • 1994: Worldfest Houston (USA): Gold Award for Grown-Up
  • 1993: Black Maria Film Festival (USA): Director's Choice Award
  • 1993: Cindy Competition (USA): Gold Award for Pro and Con
  • 1993: CINE Competition (USA): Gold Eagle Award for Pro and Con
  • 1991: National Independent Film Competition (USA): Grand Prix for After the Fall
  • 1991: Athens Film and Video Festival (USA): First Prize for After the Fall
  • 1991: Northwest Film and Video Festival (USA): First Prize for After the Fall
  • 1990: National Independent Film Competition (USA): Grand Prix
  • 1990: Black Maria Film and Video Festival (USA): Jury Award for Excellence for All My Relations
  • 1990: Big Muddy Film Festival (USA): Best of Festival for All My Relations
  • 1998: National Independent Film and Video Competition (USA): Grand Prix for She-Bop
  • 1998: Black Maria Film Festival (USA): Director's Choice Award for She-Bop
  • 1998: San Francisco International Film Festival (USA): Special Jury Award for She-Bop
  • 1998: National Educational Film Festival (USA): Special Merit Award for She-Bop
  • 1988: Black Maria Film Festival (USA): First Prize for Candyjam
  • 1985: National Independent Film Competition: First Place (USA) for Voices
  • 1985: National Educational Film Festival: First Place (USA) for Voices
  • 1985: Algarve Cinema Festival: Best Animated Film (Portugal) for Voices
  • 1985: Tel Aviv International Film Festival: First Place (Israel) for Voices
  • 1985: Big Muddy Film Festival: Best of Festival (USA) for Voices
  • 1985: Canadian International Animation Festival: Special Merit Award for Voices
  • 1985: Northwest Film and Video Festival: Best of Festival (USA) for Voices
  • 1985: Chicago International Film Festival: Bronze Hugo Award (USA) for Voices
  • 1985: Odense International Film Festival: Special Jury Prize (Denmark) for Voices
  • 1983: New York Independent Filmmakers Expo: First Place for The Rubber Stamp Film
  • 1983: Motion Picture Sound Editors: Golden Reel Award for The Rubber Stamp Film
  • 1983: Northwest Film and Video Festival: First Place for The Rubber Stamp Film

Personal life[edit]

Joanna Priestley is married to animation director and production designer Paul Harrod. Other interests include dancing, practicing medicinal herbalism and designing and producing events for Burning Man and Halloween.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Michael Sporn Animation – Splog » Joanna Priestley". Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Times Square (1986)". Retrieved 5 May 2018 – via
  4. ^ "Joanna Priestley". IMDb. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  5. ^ (
  6. ^ O'Connor, John J. "TELEVISION REVIEW; The Art of Women's Animation". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  7. ^ (
  8. ^ CITIA, ©. "Annecy > Programme > Index". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  9. ^ (
  10. ^ Colony, The MacDowell. "The Portable MacDowell". The Portable MacDowell. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  11. ^ "Past Participants". 29 September 2016. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  12. ^ "Individual Artist Fellowships".
  13. ^ "Animation Journal essays". Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Voices". imdb.
  15. ^ "After the Fall". imdb.
  16. ^ "Pro and Con". imdb.
  17. ^ "Andaluz". imdb.
  18. ^ "Streetcar Named Perspire". imdb.
  19. ^ "Splie Ends". imdb.
  20. ^ "Bottle Neck". imdb.
  21. ^ "Special Events: The 50 Foot Challenge". nwfilm.
  22. ^ "North of Blue". imdb.
  23. ^ "Relative Orbits: Films by Joanna Priestley". University at Buffalo Libraries.
  24. ^ "Best of Tricky Women 2009". tricky women.
  25. ^ "Clam Bake". Cartoon Brew.
  26. ^ "Joanna Priestley Retrospectives & Screenings Set for Stuttgart, BFI". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Joanna Priestley to Appear at Stuttgart, British Film Institute". 27 April 2017. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  28. ^ "Joanna Priestley Retrospective - tricky women". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  29. ^ "Department of Art Education & Crafts". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  30. ^ "Animated Worlds of Joanna Priestley - Cinema Pacific". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  31. ^ a b
  32. ^ dthatt (29 July 2009). "Joanna Priestley". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  33. ^ "Local Sightings Film Festival 2018 Winners Announced". Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  34. ^
  35. ^ "aaff". aaff. Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  36. ^ "ASIFA-SF Spring Festival Winners Announced". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  37. ^ Brooks, Brian (6 May 2011). ""Interview" & "Enrique" Among Top Short Winners at Oscar-qualifying USA Film Festival". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  38. ^ "Joanna Priestley - Regional Arts and Culture Council". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  39. ^ "Tricky Women 2001 - tricky women". Retrieved 5 May 2018.
  40. ^ Andrew. "24th Northwest Film & Video Festival: Awards". Retrieved 5 May 2018.

External links[edit]