DOUGLAS Hotel launched The Storyteller in Residence program in August 2022 as an initiative to celebrate the diversity of artists and creators, as well as provide a platform for these creatives to share their work for a broad audience in a public setting. There has been a wide variety of artistic mediums showcased in this space, from photography to music, and even podcasts. New creators are highlighted monthly and among those highlighted, are a number of VFS alumni including last month’s artist Sabina Jaramillo for her short film “The Voice.”
For the month of October, we have the work of Bea Labikova, a VFS Classical Animation alumna, who works as an animator and illustrator, specializing in hand-drawn animation. The DOUGLAS is showcasing her animated short film “Healing Song.” This film focuses on a bowhead whale’s attempt to reverse climate change by resetting the icebergs, and has themes of hope, determination, community, and – you guessed it – healing our planet from environmental destruction.
Bea describes her animation style as “characteristically detail-oriented, intricate and colourful”, which can be seen through the film’s breathtaking visuals. The vibrant colours, combined with the ethereal musical score, give it a mystical quality and draws the audience into the powerful journey of a whale’s desperate desire to protect its home.
Bea not only animated this film, but she is also the brain behind the story, design, production, and even composed the film’s music with fellow musician Raphael Roter. If being an animator wasn’t enough, Bea is a professional saxophonist and musical improviser, specializing in avant-garde, modern jazz, and Slovak folk music. She was chosen for the Artist in Residence for the Arctic Circle Expeditionary Program in 2022 and spent 3 weeks sailing the arctic circle while working on her solo music project “Mount Joy.” For this project, she coupled fujara (a large wind instrument – don’t worry, I had to Google this too) and saxophone with electronics, creating sounds that reflected the arctic tundra. Being a glacial setting, this was also a prime spot to work on “Healing Song” (can I write about wine and do field research in Italy? Asking for a friend).
Outside of her animation work, Bea is the co-founder and visual artist for the Women From Space Festival, a space for women to perform exploratory music over International Women’s Day weekend. She is passionate about empowering women and providing an opportunity for women to promote their work.
Don’t miss your chance to see “Healing Song” in-person at the DOUGLAS hotel for the rest of October!