The Pulse of Living Beings: An Evening with Jim Trainor

Presented by The School of Film, Cinema Project, & Experimental Film Festival Portland


Working almost exclusively on 16mm for his entire career, Chicago filmmaker and animator Jim Trainor’s preferred technique is Sharpie on typing paper. This is the medium he used to create THE ANIMALS AND THEIR LIMITATIONS, a series of pulsing line-drawn animated films featured at this year’s Experimental Film Festival Portland. Exploring the natural/animal world, the series uses a witty balance of scientific exposition and humorous narration often coming from the animal itself (one piece screened in the 2004 Whitney Biennial in New York). It is also the medium he used to explore the animalistic, psychopathic behavior of a 1940s serial killer in the 1997 film THE FETISHIST, his first widely distributed work, which has a running time of 38 minutes, is composed of 20,000 separate drawings, and took 11 years to complete. Tonight, as an introduction to his interests and working methods, Trainor screens THE FETISHIST to decipher how he uses the dream state, metaphoric fantasies, and other approaches to investigate derailed social behavior. He follows with work-in-progress clips from his latest project, THE PINK EGG, a live-action feature film, complete with a script and actors. The subject matter is still social behavior, but here it plays out in the life cycles of seven main characters, all of them wasps and bees. How this “funny, austere horror movie” continues his artistic trajectory is the focus of an extended Q&A session and discussion.


Tuition: $35.00
Equipment/Lab Fees: $0.00


Northwest Film Center School of Film
934 SW Salmon Street, Portland, OR (Corner of 10th & Salmon)


JIM TRAINOR is a filmmaker and animator living in Chicago and teaching at the School of the Art Institute. The 2010 recipient of the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts and numerous other honors, he is a featured visiting artist in this year’s Experimental Film Festival Portland. His many films have screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival, Sundance, and in the Whitney Biennial, as well as many other venues. In addition to the films mentioned above, he has also completed HARMONY, THE MAGIC KINGDOM, and THE PRESENTATION THEME.

TRAINOR screens a program of his films from THE ANIMALS AND THEIR LIMITATIONS as part of the Experimental Film Festival Portland, 7 PM on May 24, at The Mouth @ Zoomtopia, 810 sW Belmont. For full program details, visit

You can view Trainor’s “The Bats” below:

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