County: King County
Webster Crowell is a veteran filmmaker working primarily in stop-motion animation. Largely self-taught, Webster constructs highly tactile worlds full of idealized characters and romantic detritus in a frenetic mix of styles and speeds. Since his first short in 1997 Web has worked primarily on a number of intensive personal films, including Borrowing Time, a sprawling feature film, and Parasol, a short film drawn across the surface of a few thousand paper parasols. His commissioned work includes collaborations with the Grand Illusion cinema, Northwest Film Forum, Dina Martina, Annex Theatre, West of Lenin and more. Screening around the world, he has received multiple grants and awards, including best design (Animation street party NY) Best Director/Effects (B movie fest) and the first ever Stranger genius award for film. He has also been featured in CityArts Magazine.
Webster received 2006 GAP Award funding to assist with expenses associated with his film project, Parasol. A seven-minute animated film created through a process called rotoscoping (which is live action film then translated into animation), Parasol also mixes interludes of Pixelation (animated live actors and objects) into the sequence which are then hand traced into individual frames.
Webster also received GAP Awards in 1999, 2000, and 2001. In 2012 he was Fellowship recipient, and in 2013 he won the Innovation Cycle award from the Washington Filmworks Innovation Lab.
As part of his Fellowship’s Meet the Artist requirements, on June 1, 2013, Webster had Ballard building materials shop, ReStore, swarming with attendees. Webster discussed and improvised animation–the goal for the day: “Grab anything from around the store and make it come to life.” He began by assembling filmable objects from what he calls “junk”–things like “anthropomorphic hand tools [and] oven knobs suitable for conquering the world”–atop a prop table concocted with parts from the shop’s salvage bins. Upwards of 150 artists, contractors, and local families, as well as the shop’s two cats, gathered around the table at various intervals during the day to watch his work his magic with a camera, and even to take over filming as he cheered them on. Read more and see the finished video from Webster’s Meet the Artist event.
Rocketmen, The Department of Municipal Rocketry, from a promotion for West of Lenin Theater, 2011.
One Atomic Termite, from the film Borrowing Time, 2004.