Yvonne Andersen at Sun Gallery, mid-1950s
View Yvonne Andersen's Bag 5,
Let's Make a Film,
Provincetown: 1953 The First Summer,
The Sun Gallery Provincetown 1955-1959,
and Artists of the Sun
Yvonne Andersen is primarily known in the 16mm academic film world for
producing a well-regarded body of films made by children who attended her film
classes at her Yellow Ball Workshop in Massachusetts and other venues.
She was born September 7, 1932 in Long Beach, California, and received a BA in
Fine Arts from Louisiana State University in 1954. In 1955, along with husband
Dominic Falcone, she founded the Sun Gallery in Provincetown,
Massachusetts which became noted for launching offbeat shows featuring little
known, but cutting edge artists, one of whom was Charles Rogers “Red” Grooms.
Yvonne and Domenic founded the Provincetown Film Study Group in 1958. In 2007, she
revisited her Provincetown era, and made three outstanding films documenting the
gallery, the artists, town life in Provincetown, and her early years in New
York: 'Provincetown: 1953 The First Summer,' 'The Sun Gallery Provincetown
1955-1959,' and Artists of the Sun.'
In 1963, she
founded the Yellow Ball Workshop, which specialized in instructing
children on the art of filmmaking. At Yellow Ball, all the films were made
entirely by children, including art work, story, camera work, animation, editing
and sound track. She also produced films made by children for a number of other
organizations, including Newton (MA) Public Schools, Westinghouse Broadcasting,
and the 1970 White House Conference on Children. Her children’s films gained
national exposure through television shows such as the NBC Today Show
hosted by Hugh Downs, The Mike Douglas Show, The Great American
Dream Machine, and Harry Reasoner’s CBS program Who, What, When, Where,
Why. In 1977, she began teaching animation and special effects classes at
the Rhode Island School of Design, and was appointed head of the Film and Video
Department there in 1982. She wrote three books on film animation.
As Wendy Jackson notes in a 1997
interview with Andersen published by the Animation World Network,
“As an animation artist, teacher, filmmaker and author, Yvonne Andersen has
influenced the lives and work of hundreds of people. From organizing exhibitions
and experimental film screenings, to teaching animation to children and adults
at her Yellow Ball Workshop, she has been a radical and innovative pioneer in
everything she's done.”
Her production of films made by children brought her attention to us here at the Academic Film Archive of North
America. On the internet, we viewed
Bag 5, a film she produced
for Project Inc in 1966, made by children using flip cards and cutout
techniques, and it turned out to be the tip of the iceberg, as she’d produced a
number of other children-made films, many of which are available today in DVD
format through Yellow Ball Workshop. She and Willis
Simms, a public school teacher who taught animation techniques to junior
high students in California, are believed to be the first --- and perhaps only
--- producers to get national 16 mm distribution for their K-12 student-made films
(Simms’ first film, Circus,
was distributed by Bailey Films in 1959).
In December, 2013, Andersen wrote us, with this update: "After the Yellow
Ball Workshop I taught flat animation, stop motion and film special effects at
RISD [Rhode Island School of Design] for 23 years, and was department head for 9
years. I have been retired for 11 years now, and since that time computers have
gradually come in use for most of the student animation made there. They
continue to have a great stop motion class with a lot of hands on art…puppet
building, set building, as usual but the cameras are no longer 16mm Bolexes, but
still cameras connected to computer animation programs (there are certainly
advantages to this). My replacement at RISD, Agnieszka Woznica, is thrilled with
editing on a computer instead of the rewinds, viewers, motorized synchronizers
and sound boxes which seemed clunky and were always having to be repaired.
Everybody is thrilled with not having film lab problems and getting the results
quickly from the small amounts of animation footage shot each day."
Andersen’s filmography is extensive, including art films as well as children’s
films made for Yellow Ball Films and several other organizations. A
number of them were produced by her husband, Dominic Falcone.
Amazing Colossal Man, Te (1964) 6m. Presents an animated film created by twelve
children ages 5 – 12, students at the Yellow Ball Workshop. The film tells a
story about an invasion from outer space from the planet Aros.
Bag 5 (1966) 7m
A demonstration of the creativity and skill of children, ages 9 to 13, as
observed in their work in the planning and production of five short animated
films which they created using flip cards and cutout techniques. Made at
Cinder City Plus 6 (1966) 14m. Seven short cut-out animation films produced by
children, ages 6-16, students at The Pilot Film Workshop of the Lexington School
of Modern Dance (later renamed The Cellar Door Cinema).
Film Farm (1970) 16m. Presents a series of animated cut - out and flip card
designs made by children.
Harlequin (1972) 16m. Presents a series of animated cut - out designs made by
I'm Me (1970) 15m. Presents a series of animated cut - out and flip card designs
made by children for the 1970 White House Conference on Children. Includes an
examination of the young filmmakers at work.
Let's Make a Film (1971) 13m. Explores the activities of the Yellow Ball
Workshop, Newton, Massachusetts, which involves young people from the ages of eight
through eighteen who create their own films. Individual students demonstrate and
discuss the steps involved in preparing their films and show the finished
product. Three films being shown made in this film, 'The Enlightenment,' 'Eden,'
and 'Just a Fishment of My Imagination,' are included in Andersen's 'Plum
Masterpiece (1980) 14m. Teenage filmmakers animate their favorite paintings in
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. Techniques include xerography, cut-outs,
multilevel cels, rotoscoping, and three-dimensional paper. Produced by the
Department of Public Education, Fine Arts Museum of Boston.
Menagerie (1967) 22m. A collection of eight short animated films created by
children, ages 8 - 16, students at the pilot film workshop of the Lexington
School of Modern Dance (later renamed The Cellar Door Cinema). Includes
techniques of black and white clay animation, color, cut - outs, tear - outs,
collage and flip cards.
Mephisto's Little Film Plays (n/d), 18m. Presents a collection of short film
plays by young filmmakers, aged 14 to 21. Includes the film plays Ethereal
Voyage, POW, Subway, 27, Read 'Em and Weep, Skyway Drive - in and Cosmic
Messages (1972) 6m. Features a collection of five one - minute service spots on
nutrition and consumerism, made for Westinghouse Broadcasting, made by children,
ages 11 to 19.
Newton Mini – Films (1967) 15m. A demonstration of the creativity and skill of
children, ages 11 to 17, as observed in their work in the planning and
production of eight short animated films which they created using cutouts,
drawing on film and flip cards. Made in a public school in Newton, Massachusetts
for the Newton Creative Arts Center.
Pool (1968) 26m. Presents a series of 12 motion pictures made by children ages
seven to 16, students at the Lexington School of Modern Dance (later renamed the
Cellar Door Cinema), using animation and live action techniques. Produced by
Plum Pudding (1969) 22m. Presents a series of animated designs made by children,
including pixillation, clay, flip cards and papier-mâché. Three films in this
collection, 'The Enlightenment,' 'Eden,' and 'Just a Fishment of My
Imagination,' are shown being made in Andersen's 'Let's Make a Film.'
Rainbow Reel (1968) 15m. Presents a series of animated designs made by children,
students at the Newton Creative Arts Center, including flip cards, cells and
Trembling Cartoon Band (1972) 20m. Presents animated designs made out of cut -
outs, papier-mâché, flip cards and stuffed cloth.
Troll Troop (1973) 20m. Presents cut-outs and flip cards.
Yellow Ball Cache, The (1965) 18m. Presents a demonstration of the creativity
and skill of children, ages 5 to 15, students at the Yellow Ball Workshop, as
observed in their work in the planning and production of 13 short animated films
which they created using cut - out techniques.
"Provincetown Trilogy' Films (2007)
Provincetown: 1953 The First Summer (2007) 6m. This extraordinary home
movie is essentially a time capsule of Provincetown, Massachusetts, as it was in
the summer of 1953, consisting of old stills and silent black and white film. In
1953, Yvonne Andersen and Betty King, art students at LSU, went to Provincetown
for the summer to study with painter Hans Hofmann. Living there at the same
time, aspiring writer Dominic Falcone. The trio met in Provincetown, and for a
time were all working at the Lobster Pot Restaurant to pa their expenses. The
film depicts a small Cape Cod town full of artists, summer life, in a
wonderfully non-commercial era.
The Sun Gallery Provincetown 1955-1959 (2007) 10m. Andersen and Falcone
founded the Sun Gallery in the spring of 1955 in a storefront located at 393
Commercial Street, Provincetown. It was open to everyone, but specialized in
finding new young talent. It soon became a local hangout for poets, actors, and
artists, one of whom was a very young Red Grooms. The film documents the
artistic idealism and joie de vivre of Provincetown in the mid-to-late
Artists of the Sun (2007) 15m. The Sun Gallery in Provincetown hosted new
shows every Monday. This film shows some of the artists that were "regulars,"
filmed both at Sun as well as in New York. In the fall of 1958, Yvonne and
Domenic started the Provincetown Film Study Group, using a Bolex 16mm camera to
document their friends, gallery, and living environment. Artists portrayed in
this film include Dominic Falcone, Red Grooms, Lester Johnson, Alex Katz, Tony
Vevers, and Joan Wye.
Short films made by Yvonne Andersen with others
Apollinaire Unexpected (n/d, with Red Grooms)
Falcone (a tribute to her late husband, co-producer, and poet)
(1966) 19m. Presents a documentary on city life, using animation to express the
mystery, fantasy and pixillation of the city. Made with Red Grooms, Mimi Gross
and Dominic Falcone. Directed by Red Grooms.
I Saw Their Angry Faces (n/d, with Dominic Falcone)
Laundry, The (n/d)
Meow, Meow (1969) 8m. A lonely man finds a hungry alley cat and takes him home.
Eventually, he and the cat meet Green Face, the gangster. Directed by Red
Grooms, based on his art work.
One Hot Dog with Mustard (n/d)
Spaghetti Trouble (n/d, (with Red Grooms)
Truck Farm (1967) 4m. From drawings and a poem by Dominic Falcone, animation by
We Will Live Forever (1994), 5m.
Additional Sponsored Films made by Yvonne Andersen
Drop Of Honey, A
Golden Ball, The
NBC Peacocks, The
Roberts Childrens Clothing Store
Make your Own Animated Movies, by Yvonne Andersen
Publisher Little Brown Co.1970
Teaching Film Animation To Children by Yvonne Andersen
published by Van Nostrand Reinhold, a division of Litton Industries 1970
Make Your Own Animated Movies and Video Tapes by Yvonne Andersen
1991, Little Brown