Animate Your Heart Out with Kelly Gallagher



Femme militancy, punk rock, and tears, otherwise known as the classic ingredients to a great Valentine’s Day. Thankfully, Kelly Gallagher’s evening screening on February 14 provided all three.

A reel of Gallagher’s works took us on a journey through the “herstory of the female filmmaker.” From the biographical pieces on revolutionaries to intimate personal stories of family and friendship, Gallagher presented her work through “DIY animation.” Following the tropes of her work, Gallagher’s style, characterized by found footage and photographs, cut-outs, and collages, evoked something so deeply personal, feelings that were universally relatable (hence, the tears… all in good Valentine’s Day fashion).




Gallagher’s DIY style is motivated by how it demystifies the time and labor of the creative process, making it not only transparent but also accessible. This theme continued in her hands-on workshop the next morning.

Participants entered the workshop with varying levels of experience. Some were there for classes, some wanted to build on prior animation experience, and others happened to be passing by. But by the end of the afternoon, all would become filmmakers.




Using clear 16mm film strips and sharpie markers, we all worked on our own sections of film, drawing, and scribbling frame by frame. Our projects would soon come to life, combining as an animated short.

Our finished product was loaded into a projector and displayed on the wall. We watched a series of dots turn into bouncing balls, squiggly lines into heartbeats, and bean sprouts into fish. Our abstract agglomeration of doodles became an exciting minute-long visual journey that could only have been the result of collaborative work.

Implementing VCAM’s Makerspace, we learned about the nitty-gritty tasks that go into making film. In much the same way the dots we drew transformed onscreen, my perspective on filmmaking was changed by Gallagher’s workshop.


Written by Julia Coletti ’21. Edited by Matthew Ridley ’19.

Photos by Alexandra Iglesia ‘21.