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Animation (MA)

Ann Upton

Ann Upton is a visual artist and filmmaker from Waterford, Ireland. Her work exists at the intersection of the minimal and surreal.

Ann graduated from the National Film School, IADT (Dublin) in 2019 with a 1st Class BA (Hons) in Animation. There she received the Windmill Lane Animation Award, and presented her graduate thesis at the first academic symposium for the creative arts at IADT. Her graduate film 'Dorothy' premiered at the Galway Film Fleadh in 2019, and went on to screen at Indie Cork, Salem Horror Fest, and Animation Dingle among others.

In 2020 she was commissioned by Creative Ireland and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to produce her minimal and abstract short 'Act IV', with Galway Film Fleadh and Indie Cork also among its screenings.

Ann works as an associate lecturer on the BA Animation program at IADT, where she facilitates artistic under-camera productions. She pursues independent filmmaking opportunities while working in freelance animation and design.

Headshot of Ann Upton. White background.

Ann pursues projects which feel like a puzzle to be solved. Filmmaking for her is therefore a personal and exploratory endeavour.

Academic research plays an important role in Ann's methodology, and is often where inspiration and ideas spark. Her final project at the RCA, titled 'The Looking Game,' was initially inspired by labyrinths, eye tracking, and Miro boards. In the piece she explores the relationship between audience and narrator, questioning its reciprocity and eliciting empathy for the non-human.

Ann is interested in exploring and interrogating the structural aspects and typical conventions of filmmaking. She is drawn to found materials, with a particular interest in all things instructional and scientific.


"A Two Way Mirror with the Lights Switched Off."

Eyes are tracked and attentions plotted as a fictitious audience follows the narrator's orders. They are divided by the screen and though they try, neither can see through to the other side. We can't be sure if the bond they form is reciprocal, or if the audience was ever even there to begin with. 


A film by Ann Upton

Sound Design Ann Upton & Jamie Mathews

Sound Mix Joe Hirst

Voice Victoria Grove

Personal Tutor Carla MacKinnon

Paper landscape with ground, sky and clouds. 8 red dots arranged as overlay.
Blue paper mountain on light blue backgroun
Paper scene with tree, grass, sky. 8 red dots arranged in grid overlayed.
Paper cow on green background
Paper landscape with 6 red dots overlayed.
green and red poster made of paper, also showing mountain and tree, advertising film 'The Looking Game'.
Film Poster

Proof of Concept

The basic concept for the looking game was developed in term 1 of the MA. This short piece was made to demonstrate the basic mechanism and art direction. The footage was shot in one day. This piece became the foundation of the now nearly 7 minute film. The visual identity of the piece remains true to this original, while the intentions, scripting, tone and personality have shifted greatly. I enjoy working with this method of project development where a a short demo or proof of concept is made, instead of working with detailed storyboards. 


Paper cut-outs

Not Their Children

The Prompt: To choose a piece of audio, and use found footage to create a film with a completely new tone. We had about an hour and half to pull it together, and the piece hasn't been edited since then. This audio is from a video called A Cavan Halloween, 1986, sourced from the RTE online archives. Children were interviewed about the mischief they had planned for Halloween. I used the audio along with found footage and turned it into a folk horror short.


The Prompt: To create an abstract short under the theme Hypnagogia, I chose to code an image and sound combination as representing 'awake,' and another combination as representing 'asleep.' I used copyright free archive footage, with a particular interest in scientific demonstrations and visual metaphors for rhythm. I then started to introduce a 'space' between them, a portion of time interrupting the pattern, to represent the theme. 

contents page pluralist arts publication
The Pluralist: 9197 Words in Blue NeonContributing to this issue of the pluralist was the first step in my animation experimentation in term 1.
Dorothy: BA graduate project IADT, 2019.
Act IV, 2021.