Artist Spotlight: Ynon Lan

Ynon Lan is an Israeli animator. He is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. In his short films he combines animation and live-action. His work received 3 Vimeo Staff Picks and appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Directors Notes, and other leading publications. His short graduation film Close the Shutters won awards and screened in over 30 film and animation festivals worldwide, including the Jerusalem Film Festival, the Vienna Jewish Film Festival, the Moscow Jewish Film Festival, and the Israeli Cinema Festival in Paris. Ynon is currently working as a director and animator in New York City.

What or who inspired you to want to be an artist?
Throughout my life, there have been films that deeply touched and moved me. These films made me think of life in a whole different way, or opened my eyes to cultures and points of views that I wasn’t familiar with. I was very moved by them in the moment, but more than that I also had a strong urge to be part of this group of individuals that create these meaningful and creative films.

What was your creative journey that has brought you to where you are in your career today?
I began my career as a visual effects artist working on television commercials at a large post-production studio in Tel Aviv. I learned a lot there and acquired valuable technical skills, but I wanted to learn more about film and art history. I wanted to dive deeper and study color and composition and figure drawing, as well as screenwriting. I also wanted to experiment with different animation mediums and develop as an artist, so I attended Bezalel and studied in the animation department. During my final year I created my short graduation film Close the Shutters. The film talks about memory and loss, and is based on personal experiences of myself and my family. It combines still photography, rotoscope animation, and stop motion. After I graduated I moved to New York. I was fascinated by this city (and still am) and I’ve created a series of short experimental videos that depict different aspects of it. I also directed and animated a couple of music videos for local bands.

What do you need as an artist today?
Grants and residencies, as well as networking events that provide opportunities to connect with producers and distributors, and allow you to pitch projects you’re developing in order to either secure funding or meet like-minded professionals to collaborate with.

What creative project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on a new animated music video, and I’m developing a script for my next short film that I hope to produce later this year.

What does it mean to you to have an organization like the AICF supporting artists and culture?
Having an organization that is solely dedicated to supporting Israeli artists and helping them share their work with an international audience is a wonderful thing and is greatly appreciated. Thank you.