Consuming Spirits

Feb 01 - Feb 07, 2013

(Chris Sullivan, USA, 2012, Blu-ray, 135 min)

A small-town Appalachian noir, a backwoods baroque, Consuming Spirits spins a narrative of three characters connected by crime and the local newspaper. Shot frame-by-frame in 16mm over the course of fifteen years, director Chris Sullivan skillfully utilizes cutout, pencil-drawn, collage, and stop-motion animation—sometimes all within one scene. These variations in style are crucial to the narrative, raising the familiar hard-boiled aesthetic to new heights. Sullivan succeeds in creating with great artistry a hermetic, self-contained world emanating from his own unique and vivid imagination. Wholly original, Spirits is a stubbornly analog aesthetic that's both beautiful and unsettling.

“Every frame in Chris Sullivan's American Gothic saga aches and echoes from a place of unique artistry, meticulous craftsmanship and great imagination.  It is the little touches, the small world-building and grounding details that make Consuming Spirits feel so rich and so worthwhile. It is adult animation at its best and most unique, and a film which exudes the true spirit of American independent filmmaking.” – Ben Umstead,

"A monstrous visual achievement… one of the most uniquely humanistic animated features of all time." -Joseph Jon Lanthier, Slant

"a kind of milestone in its genre...Sullivan’s rambling, folkish story about Appalachian men and a backwoods DUI has a “Rashomon”-like quality." -John Hartl, The Seattle Times

"If Chris Sullivan’s film were a novel, it would rank up there with Sasha Sokolov’s A School for Fools." -Charles Mudede, The Stranger


CONSUMING SPIRITS (trailer) by Chris Sullivan from chris sullivan animation on Vimeo.

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