Ruth Lingford is one of Britain’s foremost
animators and a teacher of high repute.
Her first career was as an Occupational
Therapist with mentally ill old people (and bringing up a family).
She has been making short animated films since completing a BA in
Fine Art and Art History in 1990 and an MA at the Royal College of
Art in 1992.
In 1993 she was awarded an Arts Council of
England animate! grant to make What She Wants (1994, 4
min), an experimental film about sex and shopping produced entirely
on a home Amiga computer. After a 3-month Animator’s Residency at
the Museum of the Moving Image, she received a Channel 4 commission
for Death and the Mother (1997, 11 min) based on a Hans
Christian Anderson story, another Amiga-based work which has won
prizes at many international film festivals.
Ruth Lingford’s films are made using 2D
digital techniques, often combining drawing and treated live
footage. A typical example, Pleasures of War (1998, 11
min) made for Channel 4 and the Arts Council of England, is a
retelling of the Biblical story of Judith and Holofernes, and
explores female aggression and the links between war and sexual
desire. It was devised in collaboration with the novelist Sara
Maitland and again created on desktop computers. It is described in
The Critic’s Choice as ‘one of the 150 best films ever
She is known for ‘feelbad films’ which use the
seductive medium of animation to draw the audience in and take them
to uncomfortable places. An example is The Old Fools
(2002, 6 min) is a film of a Philip Larkin poem, voiced by Bob
Geldof, which looks at senile decay and the inevitability of
Her commercial work has included a 20-minute
educational film on glue-sniffing, and extensive animation work on
Peter Gabriel's Real World CD-ROM multimedia project, Ceremony
of Innocence. She was a principal animator on Silence
(1998, Halo Productions for C4), winner of a Gold Hugo at the
Chicago International Film Festival and Special Prize at the
Hiroshima International Animation Festival. In 2002, she
collaborated with the Shynola collective on An Eye for an
Eye (2002, 5 min 30 sec) a music video for UNKLE, which won
the McLaren Award at the Edinburgh Festival 2002.
She has taught at the Royal College of Art,
the National Film and Television School, the University of
Humberside and the University of Wolverhampton. Since September
2005, she has been teaching at Harvard University as Professor of
the Practice of Animation.
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