Disappearing Pathways is an award-winning animated film by Michael Covello and Elizabeth Schneider.
Michael Covello and Elizabeth Schneider are a collaborative duo of fine art animators working transdisciplinary across the arts, film, writing, and audio art. Our narratives interweave concepts about art, architecture, psychology, ecology, and environmental science. The narratives in our animations are highly influenced by natural settings and how humans relate to them both symbolically and literally, in particular through the lens of the Anthropocene.
In “Disappearing Pathways”, the narrative follows a man suffering from auditory hallucinations tied to the natural world – or have the plants really discovered a way to communicate to those of us open to listening? We leave this up to the viewer to decide, but regardless, the presentation of nature in this work reflects the Anthropocene-era concept of nature as an active (often aggressive) player on the world stage.
Throughout the animation, we depict “nature” in a variety of ways, from the engulfing, majestic beauty of an enchanted forest to the humble, resilient, and ubiquitous weed. Culturally, nature can be both coveted or undesirable simply by virtue of perspective. When dealing with this categorization, our first question was: when does a plant become a weed? And then we began to think about how the symbol of the weed could be used to examine our own role in society. When does a “human” become a weed? Is this tied to how we navigate and understand community and communication? In relation to mental health, when does a thought become a weed in one’s mind?
Disappearing Pathways is our poetic exploration of these questions, and an examination of how perspectives can shift depending on where you are standing.
This animation has been screened at the following National and International venues in 2021:
New York Independent Cinema Awards (awarded “Best Animation” in April 2021)
Amsterdam International Short Film Festival (awarded “Best Animation” in May 2021)
London Independent Film Festival
San Francisco Independent Film Festival
Buffalo International Film Festival
Sydney Underground Film Festival
T-Shorts Animation Festival
ARTSxSDGS Online Festival