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First Light

Director: Amy Lee

United States, 2020, 9 min

Shooting Format:Digital

Festival Year:2021



Cast:Maren Montalbano , Jessica Beebe

Crew:Writer: Ellen Boscov. Producers: Stephanie Gumpel, Ellen Boscov. Animator: Amy Lee Ketchum; Composer: Ellen Boscov


Rising from the sea monster of death, a young woman's ghost leads her grieving sister through the heart of darkness in search of light.


About the director

Amy Lee Ketchum is a Philadelphia based artist and experimental animator working across painting, sculpture, and time-based media.

She creates poetic narratives and abstract worlds which draw from personal and collective memory, metaphysical narratives, and dance. In her work she explores the evocation of ecstatic states which range from slow and meditative, to wild and phantasmagoric. Through her artmaking practice she searches to connect urban humanity's severed tie to nature and spirituality.

Amy holds an MFA in Animation from the University of Southern California, and a double bachelors in Art and Architecture from UC Berkeley. Her work has been shown on broadcast television, various international film festivals, and on the Centre Pompidou web channel. In addition to filmmaking she teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts where she is the Chair of the Animation Department.


Filmmaker's note

The story of "First Light" is revealed through a synthesis of music and art; a hybrid of traditional hand-cut puppet and hand-drawn 2d character animation with digital effects, and an original classical score. Its poetry is sung by Maren Montalbano and Jessica Beebe, vocalists in Grammy®Award-winning ensembles.

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