A post-real PSA about life during quarantine, vaccine hesitancy, social media algorithmic rabbit holes and conspiracy theories through the lens of a people experiencing Colony Collapse Disorder.
Director Biography – John Jota Leaños, Sean Levon Nash
John Jota Leaños is a Mestizo (Xicano/Chumash) interdisciplinary artist, documentary animator concerned with the embattled terrains of history and memory as they relate to nation, power and decolonization. A Guggenheim Fellow of Film and Media, Creative Capital Artist and United States Artist (USArtist) Fellow, Leaños’s practice includes a range of media arts, documentary animation, video, public art, installation and performance introducing alternative perspectives into the public imagination through strategic revealing, social documentation, and symbolic intervention. Leaños’ animation work has been shown internationally at over 90 film festivals and museums including the Sundance Film Festival; Cannes Film Festival, France; PBS.org; Manifesta 13: La Biennale Européenne de Création Contemporaine, aluCine Toronto Latin@ Media Festival, Ars Electronica 2020, Tehran International Animation Festival, Iran, and the Morelia International Film Festival, México. His installation and performance work has been shown at the Whitney Biennial, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and others. Leaños’ animated films have won Best Animation at the 2014 39th Annual American Indian Film Festival, 2014 XicanIndie Film Festival, Denver, Best Animation, Arizona International Film Festival and VideoFest, San Francisco. He is currently a Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz in the Department of Film and Digital Media.
Sean Levon Nash (Choctaw, Muskogee Creek) is a Black Native American artist who combines traditional forms with contemporary expression. Nash creates subaltern animation that is rooted in historical research and comic storytelling and blends tribute and satire with historical injustice to build awareness and speak to pressing contemporary issues around the intersection of race and ethnicity. His documentary animation work has screened at over 40 film festivals over the last few years, most notably the award-winning, Los ABCs ¡Qué Vivan los Muertos! which screened at the Sundance 2006 Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival 2006 and Cannes Short Film Corner, France. Nash teaches Art History and Diversity Studies at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.
The animated short L’Hesitance emerged from Covid-19 quarantine and the outgrowth of the superstructures of surveillance capitalism, paranoia, white nationalism, and what is being called the “post-real.” Influenced by (and parodying) the French sci-fi classic, La Jetée (1962), the work is a remix of a decade-old animation by Tony Coleman called, “Conspirabee.” Directors John Jota Leaños (Xicano-Italian/Chumash) and Sean Levon Nash (Choctaw, Muskogee Creek) set out to complete the new work within a three-week period. The work was not intended to be released to the public as it was purely an animation exercise. We showed it to a few friends who all encouraged us to share the work. So here it is!
Filmmaker, Jeff Orgill:
“C’est manifique! You have captured the moment and shone new light on it. It’s the kind of film that reaches into you and drags stuff out. I watched it a few times – it’s packed and layered, demanding – it’s got a some ‘fuck you’ sauce I haven’t tasted in a while and the bee dance graphic hit and lit nerves.”
Animation Historian, Karl Cohen
“A fascinating experience. Perhaps it should win a non-sequitur award.”
Philosopher, Jean Baudrillard:
“This stimulation of the hyperreal is the only signification valid in simulacra underlying future matrixes of dissidence.”
Chicana Filmmaker/Critic, Osa Hildalgo de la Riva:
“I have never seen a piece with so much depth. It made me feel a lot – the colors, the pace, the text, the messages, even the fonts! I loved it. At times, I felt the despair of individual and collective doom. I felt the character(s) elevating, transporting into a higher self, and joining the plant world. The way the many who died moved together was haunting. I look forward to seeing it many more times.”
Native Artist, Cristobal Martinez:
“Hahhhahahaaa!!!!! I can’t stop laughing y todavía quiero llorar. The production is great – I loved the sounds and visuals! I think this will be much appreciated by all who view it.”
Chicano Critic/Theorist Bill Nericcio:
“Very cool! or, better put … sacré bleu, tres wow!
Chris Marker, estilo xicanx!”
Written and Directed by John Jota Leaños and Sean Levon Nash
Original hand-drawn animation by Tony Coleman
Animation, Sound, and Voice-Over by John Jota Leaños
Voice-Over by Adriana Gordon