El Doctor

This visual animated poem travels between desperation and dark comedy and asks the question “Would at the moment of death we realize the beauty of those things we abhorred in life?” 

EL DOCTOR takes place in a crumbling Mexican hospital at the turn of the century in Mexico.  Inhabited by surreal characters including a man shot with one hundred holes, a girl who has sprouted morning glories, and a woman who thinks she is a horse, the doctor in charge prefers to drink. The Saint of Holes and a mysterious gargoyle rearrange the Doctor's fated demise and send him on a journey of altered perspective.

This 23 minute animated film was written by Blue Kraning (FEAR ITSELF), and celebrates the nature of perception and the miraculous.  Taking over five years to complete, the film is entirely hand painted by a small group of artists in Los Angeles and Mexico. Including animation by Maria Vasilkovsky and Gerard Goulet (TRIPLETS of BELLVILLE), and the film features historic Mexican music recordings from the Arhoolie collection. The voices for the film were recorded by non-professionals in Morelia, Mexico.  The Doctor is played by José Luis Avalos and the Gargoyle is played by Los Angeles actor, Patrick Bauchau.

Inspired by my love for Mexico, funded in part by PBS,  EL DOCTOR hopefully celebrates both the miraculous and the profane.

Tinged with elements of magic realism and Mexican culture, and told using vivid oil colors, American animation El Doctor is a dazzling, haunting and poignant evocation of a man’s final moments.
It’s safe to say the legendarily absurdist Luis Buñuel might have sparked to the sordid, gruesome charms of renowned animator Suzan Pitt’s five-years-in-the-making short “El Doctor”. A trippy, magic-realist expedition through the mind of a pickled old Mexican doctor on his regret-filled last day on Earth, “El Doctor” makes rich use of Pitt’s hand-drawn movement technique: Her squirmy human (and nonhuman) forms wiggle in the frame like a bacteria party in a festive petri dish. She also incorporates other dazzling experimental processes, including sand animation and painting directly onto film stock. Overall the effect is playfully grim and somehow wondrous, an ode to the living, breathing fantastic in Mexican folk art.
— Robert Abele, LA TIMES
Rare, gorgeous emotional power
— The New York Times
A superb example of animation’s creative and intellectual potency.
— Time Out NY

Selected Screenings

Best Short Film, Sin Fronteras Film Festival - New Mexico
Special Jury Prize, Huesca International Film Festival - Spain
Best Animated Film, Ojai International Film Festival - Ojai, California
First Prize for Animation, Morelia Film Festival - Morelia, Mexico
First Prize for Animation, Arizona International Film Festival -Tucson, Arizona
Special Jury Prize, I Reel Film Festival, Seattle - Washington
Museum of Modern Art - New York
SICAF 2010 - Seoul, Korea
Rio International Short Film Festival - Brazil
New York Film Forum - New York
Stuttgart International Animation Festival - Stuttgart Germany
Ottawa International Animation Festival - Ottawa Canada
Monstra Animation Festival - Lisbon, Portugal
Lincoln Center “Suzan Pitt’s World”- New York City
The Tate Modern - London
Institute of Contemporary Arts - London
Zagreb International Animation Festival - Zagreb
Guggenheim Balboa Museum - Barcelona, Spain
L'Etrange Film Festival - Strasburg, France
Image Forum Film Festival - Tokyo, Japan
Cinanima Film Festival - Portugal
The 14th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film - Stuttgart, Germany
Festival de Cine Espanol - Malaga, Spain
Anima Mundi 2007 - Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
SICAF 2007 Animated Film Festival - Seoul, Korea
The Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF) - Melbourne, Australia
London International Animation Festival - London
International Animation Festival - Hiroshima, Japan