Now Streaming: Shannon Amen is a Haunting Portrait of Loss

Courtesy of the NFB

By Pat Mullen

Experience a personal and multifaceted essay on grief and loss in Shannon Amen. Now streaming for free from the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), Chris Dainty’s stunning animated short doc pays tribute to his friend and artist Shannon Jamieson, who took her own life following an intense inner struggle between her sexuality and her faith. Dainty’s film draws upon Jamieson’s own artistic techniques to honour her life, work, and spirit. Shannon Amen also pioneers ground-breaking animation of its own as Dainty creates unique “icemation” to convey Jamieson’s fragility using life-sized ice sculptures.

“I felt for this short, it [using icemation] made sense as a way of showing Shannon’s soul,” said Dainty in an interview with Laura Atherton for POV at the Ottawa International Animation Festival last fall. “There’s something about ice that is so beautiful. Ice is heavy and strong, but can also break easily, so it just embodied Shannon.” _ hannon Amen_ is a poetic and haunting elegy for a lost friend, but it’s also an essay on the inner torments that LGBTQ youths like Jamieson experience as the world continues to struggle to embrace people of all experiences with open arms.

Synopsis: Shannon Amen unearths the passionate and pained expressions of a young woman overwhelmed by guilt and anxiety as she struggles to reconcile her sexual identity with her religious faith. A loving elegy to a friend lost to suicide.

Watch Shannon Amen today from the NFB:

Shannon Amen, Chris Dainty, provided by the National Film Board of Canada