SVA Film & Animation

Alumni Blog: Bat-Ami Rivlin

2016 graduate Bat-Ami worked with Animator Ivan Viaranchyk on their Dusty winning thesis film, Night Shadows. Here, she tells us about screening the film at the Madeira Film Festival in Madeira Island, Portugal.


Night Shadows is a short animation by Ivan Viaranchyk and myself, centered around loss, grief, memory and love. We made the animation with the intent to create something that has a strong narrative behind it and that could mean something more than the sum of technical skills and aesthetic decisions that are made in the creation of a short film.

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A still from Night Shadows

We started submitting the animation to festivals shortly after Night Shadows won the Outstanding Achievement in Animation Production Design award at the 2016 Dusty Film and Animation Festival. The first festival that screened the film after the Dustys was the Canberra Short Film Festival in Australia. We were thrilled to be showing all the way across the globe, and at such an established festival at that (22 years and counting!). With SVA’s support, we went on to showcase the film in many more festivals, currently screened/scheduled to screen Night Shadows in 5 continents, 13 cities, and 15 film and animation festivals.


We never thought that the film would reach this big of an audience. To think that this all started from a thesis project is mind boggling.


IMG_2148This April I had the opportunity to represent Night Shadows at the Madeira Film Festival in Madeira Island, Portugal. Arriving at the island, the first thing you notice is how gorgeous everything is. From pictorial cities and buildings to striking tropical nature, sprouting from volcanic stones that point to the eruption that birthed the island over one million years ago. The Madeira Film Festival is set at the historic Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias, in the center of Funchal city at the south side of the island. We were very excited to have Night Shadows’ Portuguese premiere in Madeira, especially after seeing the festival’s lineup; showcasing huge productions such as Captain Fantastic, The Handmaiden, and Rams alongside their short film program. As I met the festival staff and director, I couldn’t help thinking about Senior year at SVA, and how far this project has come. Working on Night Shadows with Ivan Viaranchyk was incredibly challenging and rewarding, but I would have never guessed that less than a year after it’s completion we would be invited to screen and present the film at festivals around the globe.
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Following Night Shadows’ screening on April 20th, there was a quick Q&A session that invited audience members to ask film representatives different questions. As I was discussing the development of the film’s concept and narrative backbone, I noticed how rewarding it is to be given the opportunity to explain the thought process behind this long and tiring project. Crediting inspirations and contextualizing the piece allowed the audience to get a deeper look into the film’s core. Apart from the mere trip to Madeira, which was amazing, the film festival itself is a wonderful platform for filmmakers to showcase work and interact with each other. The programs are beautifully structured to contain a taste of many different genres, styles, and nationalities, resulting in an exciting week of cultural and cinematic delight.

Filed Under: Alumni Blog