Calgary, 2009, 8:25, Dir: Lyle Pisio
Lyle Pisio returns for the second year in a row with another exquisitely animated stop motion piece, The Empress, inspired by and created for the song Empress by Montreal’s Briga. This time, themes of addiction and the failure of courage, which preoccupied Pisio in last year’s metaphysical Visages, join loneliness, desire, love, miscommunication and loss in a wistful and altogether gentler vein, tinged with comic injections. Basking his duo of hesitant, whittled-out, mannequin lovers in warm, yellow light and pitting their tentative interaction against a sideshow that features an angry, inattentive bartender pestered by two nattering barflies, Pisio’s depiction of the fragile first moments of falling in love is haunting and bittersweet.
Lyle Pisio started out in the early 1980’s as an alto sax player and founding member of no less than five Calgary based bands. He has always thought of the mostly free-improvisational music he plays as narrative in quality. In mid 2000 he bought his first digital camera and started making very short stop motion animation films with objects found on the highway on long bicycle trips. By early 2007 he had quit his job as an instrument repair technician to pursue his dream of being an artist. Approaching his craft using a variety of techniques, Pisio has made a number of his films with computer programs that he wrote himself. His works have been screened at world festivals and broadcast on Canal+ in France. Pisio’s other films are Corpse (2002), TV and The Unholy (2004), Another Lost Soul (2006) and Visages (2008), which was featured in Prairie Tales 11 and won best animation at the WT International Film Festival in Os, Norway. He now lives with his wife and 2 cats in Calgary, where he has been all his life (mostly in the basement).