Together, a short film | Hope and solidarity

Written by

Audra McClain

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Artwork by Sheree Hovsepian and Isabela Dos Santos. ![Artwork by Sheree Hovsepian and Isabela Dos Santos.](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1611515604888-FY18WL7HOYXO7V6H67SF/Together%2C+a+short+film_FLAUNT.jpg) Artwork by Sheree Hovsepian and Isabela Dos Santos. _Together, a short film_ brought together numerous artists of varying styles to create a viewing experience like no other. Commissioned by National YoungArts Foundation, the animated short tells a story of community, hope, solidarity and interdependence, told through images of birds. The film uses nineteen artists’ paintings and drawings of birds in more than 1,500 digital frames, animated by Psyop duo Igor+Valentine and written by Brandon Mugar and Reuben Hower. The film is set to debut on January 25, 2021 at 5pm PST'/8pm EST on [youngarts.org](https://youngarts.org), and the digital frames will be available for a purchase of $175 in support of YoungArts. Read _Flaunt_’s conversation with Sarah Arison, YoungArts Board Chair who led this project alongside Thomas Wilhelm, Jay Franke and David Herro, and Michi and Charles Jigarjian and make sure to check out the film! * * * **_Together, a short film_ is a collaborative project between several artists. What was the process like piecing this all together and seeing numerous artists’ work become one big piece?** National YoungArts Foundation is dedicated to helping artists pursue a life in the arts and provides support to artists at all stages of their development. We work with artists in ten disciplines across the visual, literary and performing arts, and encouraging cross-disciplinary collaboration is central to our work. _Together, a short film_ demonstrates how collaboration can create something extraordinary while both celebrating the achievements of established artists and highlighting the artists of the future that it will help support. Commissioning a film like this takes an exceptional team. We started the process by working with the CALLEN writing team of Brandon Mugar, Reuben Hower to develop the storyline, and partnered with animation directors Igor + Valentine and creative production studio Psyop to help bring our artists’ works to life. The characters of the film—the birds themselves—where created and donated by our YoungArts community of artists including award winners, alumni, notable guest artists and educators. **How would you describe the film’s story and message?** _Together, a short film_ is a moving story about solidarity, interdependence and community. Its overall message affirms that artists hold the transformative power of hope, and that we need them to challenge us as a society, to develop new language, and to continue leading us in empathy and humanity. **Each artist who collaborated to create this film created images of birds, what is the significance of birds? Why birds?** The idea of using birds as the main characters of the film came from the writing team and we loved it. They personify humanity, each highly individual but part of a community that seeks to support each other. Each of the original artworks contributed to the project clearly show the artist’s aesthetic and personality, and it allowed us to bring the YoungArts community together in this very poignant way. **What does it mean to you to be able to give these artists an opportunity to work on a project like this?**  What I love about this project is that it includes highly sought-after artists, like KAWS, as well as artists that are in the early stages of their professional development—and therefore will be unfamiliar to many—side by side on parallel footing. It is what YoungArts is all about. Community, collaboration and ageless artistry. YoungArts exists to support and provide opportunities for all award winners throughout their entire careers. This is just one example of what we try to do day in and day out. **What are you most excited for viewers to see from this short film?** I hope this film brings its viewers a sense of hope and joy. We have all been through so much this past year and this film encapsulates the importance of interdependence to persevere and move ahead. **Is there anything else you’d like to add about this project?** As Chair of the Board of YoungArts I would be negligent in my duties if I didn’t say that if you are able, you should collect one of the digital stills from the film. They are stunning one-of-a-kind works of art that in so many ways will speak to this moment for decades to come. Not to mention that your purchase will support artists today and throughout their careers. Everyone should tune into the National YoungArts Week and performances, writers’ readings, and our exhibition opening January 25 to January 30 at 8 p.m. EST on youngarts.org!  The film will premiere on January 25 and will be screened every night. Please join us as we celebrate this year’s YoungArts awards winners and meet the next generation of artists.