Signe Baumane

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Signe Baumane
Image of Signe Baumane from 2009
Image of Signe Baumane from 2009
Born (1964-08-07) August 7, 1964 (age 52)
Auce, Latvia
Education Moscow State University
Notable work Rocks in My Pockets (2014)

Signe Baumane (born August 7, 1964) is a Latvian animator, fine artist, illustrator and writer, currently living and working in New York City. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, she was a 2005 Fellow in Film of the New York Foundation for the Arts. She is also a teacher, having taught animation at the Pratt Institute from 2000 to 2002.

Early life and education[edit]

Signe Baumane was born in Auce, Latvia, and grew up in Tukums, Latvia and Sakhalin Island. She was married to Yuriy Gavrilenko, an artist and impresario, and Lasse Persson, a Swedish animator. She began writing for publication at the age of 14. She attended Moscow University and graduated in 1989 with a BA in Philosophy.


She began working as an animator in 1989, taking a position as animator at Dauka Animation Studio. Over the next several years, local television aired several animated commercials that Baumane had designed and directed. In 1991 she produced her first animated film, The Witch and the Cow, of which she was the scriptwriter, director, designer, and animator.

Following a two-year stint as a children's book illustrator in Moscow, she returned to animation, illustration and stage design in 1993 in Riga. She relocated to New York City in September 1995, finding work with Bill Plympton as production manager, color stylist, and cel painter the following January.

In 1998 she resumed work as an independent animator, making several films. Two of these, Woman and Veterinarian were made during visits to Latvia. The remainder were made in New York City.[1][2]

Signe has initiated and curated a number of independent animation programs and along with Patrick Smith and Bill Plympton is the organizing core of Square Footage Films, a group of New York independent animators that self-publishes and distributes DVDs of their own work. [3]

Besides doing animation, Baumane is a fine artist, and has produced numerous paintings and sculptures,[4] and has also worked as an illustrator for children's books.

Her films have been screened at important film festivals such as Annecy, Tribeca, Sundance, Berlin, Ottawa, Venice and they have received numerous awards.[citation needed]

Rocks in My Pockets[edit]

Rocks in My Pockets Film Poster 2014
Rocks in My Pockets Film Poster 2014

Baumane's animation Rocks in My Pockets is a feature-length autobiographical animation that explores the depression that has haunted three generations of women in her family. Rocks in My Pockets was selected as the Latvian entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards but was not nominated.[5]

The project received early funding from NYSCA, The Jerome Foundation, and Women Make Movies, the project's fiscal sponsor. In 2013 after two years of working on the project Baumane and team raised another $50,000 on Kickstarter.

Style and Themes[edit]

Baumane mainly utilizes a personal narration over a flat 2D hand-drawn cel-shaded style of animation. In her feature film, Rocks in My Pockets, she combined papier-mâché and stop-motion with traditional animations.

Her work tackles difficult subjects such as sex, pregnancy and depression and makes it palatable through irony and humor. Her narrative style uses visual metaphors to communicate how living people feel inside; one example is in her animated short Birth her use of the body as a vessel in her film.[6]


Animated Shorts[edit]

  • The Witch And The Cow (1991)
  • Tiny Shoes (1993)
  • The Gold Of The Tigers (1995)
  • Love Story (1998)
  • The Threatened One (1999)
  • Natasha (2001)
  • Five Fucking Fables (2002)
  • Woman (2002)
  • Dentist (2005)
  • Five Infomercials For Dentists (2005)
  • Teat Beat Of Sex (2007)
  • Veterinarian (2007)
  • The Very First Desire Now and Forever (2007)
  • Teat Beat Of Sex: Episodes 8,9,19,11 (2007)
  • Birth (2009)[7]

Animated Features[edit]

Compilations (DVD)[edit]

  • Avoid Eye Contact Vol. 1
  • Avoid Eye Contact Vol. 2
  • Ten Animated Films by Signe Baumane
  • Teat Beat of Sex

Music Videos[edit]

  • Cousin Joe Twoshacks - "Tarzan" (2014)


  1. ^ Signe Baumane web site, biography
  2. ^ Chris Robinson: Unsung Heroes of Animation, pp. 200-206
  3. ^ Square Footage Films web site accessed on February 5, 2010
  4. ^ Signe Baumane, section of online art gallery accessed February 2, 2010
  5. ^ Holdsworth, Nick. "Oscars: Latvia Nominates 'Rocks in My Pockets' in Foreign-Language Category". The Holywood Reporter. 
  6. ^ "Birth - Short Film". Film School Rejects. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  7. ^ "Birth". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 

External links[edit]