A Very Long Night/Your Ideal End, 2017

A Very Long Night/La Noche Más Larga - Your Ideal End is an experimental animation about physical, sexual and psychological abuse. The animation is inspired by my research around this topic, as well as live testimonials of adult survivors. As I began to storyboard the scenes of the animation, I wondered how the story could end and felt compelled to create an opportunity for academic and community engagement. With the support of a Rocket Grant, I created an interdisciplinary partnership between the Visual Art Department and the Psychology Department at the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS). As a result, Bibliotherapist Dr. Biri Rottenberg and I designed a series of workshops integrating creative tools and therapeutic processes geared toward therapists in training—namely KU clinical students—and also for the staff at The Willow Domestic Violence Center (Lawrence, KS), who work directly with trauma survivors. After several presentations and many conversations, workshop participants contributed ideas which inspired themes of the animation. With their permission, I incorporated different suggestions, based on personal experiences or imagined scenarios of what they considered to be an ideal end to the story. Thus, the final animation is the result of collective voices and the collective imaginary, where various individuals, working closely in this arena, contributed their ideas for possible paths to healing such a traumatic experience.

The imagery was originally inspired by my illustrations for a book written by Juan Velasco Moreno, titled The Massacre Of The Dreamers/La Masacre De Los Soñadores (Polibea Press, Madrid: 2010), which tells the story of two children who are victims of abuse. While playing make-believe games of “Cowboys and Indians,” the children allude to an adult named “Buffalo Bill,” who visits them at night and plays with them, but who actually is a sexual predator.

  • Maria Velasco
    Director
  • Maria Velasco
    Producer
  • Matthew Gonzales
    Animation
  • Special Animation Assistants: Brian Hawkins, Katie Fessler, Ryan Benedick
    Animation
  • Shinning Mountain Adams
    Sound
  • Strings: Jennifer Robinson
    Sound
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Experimental, Short
  • Runtime:
    10 minutes 27 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 24, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    4,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Depth of Field International Film Festival (DOFIFF)

    Official Selection+Award of Excellence, Animation category
Director Biography - Maria Velasco

María Velasco is a Spanish-born artist who has been living and working in the US since 1991. Her interdisciplinary work consists of site-specific environments, urban interventions, sculptural objects, and temporary public art commissions. Her work deals with issues of displacement, migration, gender identity, vulnerability, and the structures of authority that govern our lives. She has shown her work nationally and internationally in university and private museums, and contemporary art venues such as The Soap Factory in Minneapolis, MN; the Contemporary Arts Forum in Santa Barbara, CA; the ARC gallery in Chicago, IL; the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence, KS; H&R Block Artspace, the Kansas City Artists Coalition, Avenue of the Arts in Kansas City, MO; the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art in Saint Joseph, MO; the Paula Cooper gallery and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, both in New York City.

Internationally, she has exhibited in Salón Tentaciones (Madrid, Spain), Museo Del Barro (Asunción, Paraguay), Paradise Gardens Biennial VI, (Darmstadt, Germany), Mexico, Argentina and Morocco. Her work appears in prestigious publications including Art In America and Sculpture Magazine, and has been reviewed by The Kansas City Star, Art Focus Oklahoma; The Village Voice, and the Chicago Reader. She was Artist-in-Residence at Sculpture Space (2007) and International Artist-in-Residence at Proyecto 'Ace, in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2012). In 2016, she was Artist-in-Residence at Green Olive Arts, in Tetouan, Morocco. In the summer of 2019, she attended Marble House Project residency in Dorset, VT, and her first family-friendly residency at Elsewhere Studios, in Paonia, CO.

Her professional contributions include leading independent curatorial projects, discussion panels, and workshops nationally and abroad. She has been a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts (Washington DC) in 2002 and 2005 and has served in the Board of Directors for MidAmerica College Art Association (MACCA), and in various committees at College Art Association (CAA). She has received numerous awards and grants; most notably, a Rocket Grant Award-a program of the Kansas City Charlotte Street Foundation and the University of Kansas Spencer Museum of Art (funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts); Lighton International Artist Exchange Program Grant; Kansas Arts Commission Collaborative Grant; Avenue of the Arts Foundation Grant; Kansas Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Art, and Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation Emerging Artists Grant. Velasco was the first student in Visual Art to obtain a scholarship through the Madrid-California Education Abroad program at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid, Spain.

María Velasco received her Bachelor Degree in Painting from the Universidad Complutense of Madrid in 1989, and her Master of Fine Arts in New Genre from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1993. She is a Professor of Visual Art in the Expanded Media Department at the University of Kansas, and teaches courses in Installation Art, Social Practice, Expanded Media, Professionalism in the Arts, Contemporary Theory and Criticism, and Drawing. She currently lives in Lawrence, KS with her thirteen-year old son, Alex, who loves to draw, read, compose music and play viola.

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Director Statement

The full installation consists of graphite drawings, large-scale digital prints, and animation, conjuring up domestic imagery, allusions to play and role-playing, children’s drawings and figures that come to life, all interconnected as a series of non-linear events. The viewer moves through the space, figuratively a home, and the animation takes them into "other worlds" where the strangest things happen. The installation emphasizes the tension between psychological and physical space while highlighting the vulnerability of the children and the mysterious presence of menacing adults.

The imagery for this animation was originally inspired by my illustrations for a book written by Juan Velasco Moreno, titled The Massacre Of The Dreamers/La Masacre De Los Soñadores (Polibea Press, Madrid: 2010), which tells the story of two children who are victims of abuse. While playing make-believe games of “Cowboys and Indians,” the children allude to an adult named “Buffalo Bill,” who visits them at night and plays with them, but who actually is a sexual predator. All characters are fictional.