Stories in Sand and Glass: Animation by Caroline Leaf

with Caroline Leaf
Friday, February 4, 2022 - 7:00pm

Caroline Leaf will attend this in-person screening via Zoom.

Caroline Leaf began animating as a college senior in a Harvard class, where she put sand from her family’s Massachusetts cottage on a light box and molded stunning black-and-white silhouettes with her fingers, forks, and combs. Sand animation requires a great deal of practice and patience: a single frame is a “one-off performance” that adds or subtracts a few tiny sand grains. Leaf later applied this labor-intensive process to painting on glass and scratching off film emulsion. This film program explores Leaf’s career, from her student short film Sand or Peter and the Wolf (1969) to films made for the National Film Board of Canada, including shorts based on Inuit legends (The Owl Who Married a Goose, 1974), Kafka and Mordechai Richler stories, and women-centered experiences (Entre deux soeurs, 1991). These films retell classic tales of animals and families through daring experiments with sand, paint, inventive narration, and synthesizer scores. Leaf’s swirling sands and dyes on film leave an unforgettable mark on how we interpret fables and interact with film characters. Curated by Amy Skjerseth (CMS) as part of the Film Studies Center’s Graduate Student Curatorial Program. 

(Caroline Leaf, Canada/USA, 1969-91, 59 min., 16mm and digital video) 

Full Program

Sand, or Peter and the Wolf (1969, 10 min, 16mm)
The Owl Who Married a Goose: An Eskimo Legend (1974, 7 min., digital video)
The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa (1977, 9 min., digital video)
The Street (1976, 10 min., digital video)
Interview - Caroline Leaf & Veronika Soul (1979, 13 min., digital video)
Entre Deux Soeurs (Two Sisters) (1991, 10 min., digital video)

Films courtesy of the National Film Board of Canada and the Harvard Film Archive.

Masks and proof of vaccination are required for entry for this in-person event at the Logan Center. Learn more at