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Lori Malépart-Traversy’s amusing and effective animation tackles taboos around consent and female sexuality

The graduate’s work includes award-winning videos for Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre
July 31, 2018
By Molly Hamilton

Lori Malépart-Traversy, BFA (studio arts) 14, BFA (film anim.) 16, didn’t always know she wanted to work in the animation field.

“I studied fine arts in CEGEP. My goal was to be an artist or something like that, so I continued my studies at Concordia, where I finished my degree in studio arts in 2014,” she says.

Lori Malépart-Traversy, BFA 14, BFA 16 Right after graduating from Concordia, Lori Malépart-Traversy helped create the short animation videos for Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre’s campaign on consent and bystander intervention. | Photo: Simon Nguyen

It was during her studio arts studies that Malépart-Traversy discovered her passion for animation. “I started to do little stop-motion animation films by myself in my fibres class,” she says. “I really enjoyed it, and I saw that my classmates really enjoyed my movies too.”

After earning her degree, she set out to pursue a second BFA, this time in Concordia’s animation program. “I really enjoyed it because I found it combined all the aspects I like — storytelling and the different art techniques, and it’s something a bit more specific than visual arts,” she says.

Her graduation film Le Clitoris has received international media attention and has made rounds at film festivals around the world. The three-minute film explores the history of the female organ and its significance to the female body.

After graduating, Malépart-Traversy and her classmate, Daniel Sterlin-Altman, BFA (film anim.) 16, were chosen to create short films for the Concordia Sexual Assault Resource Centre’s Fresh Take on Consent campaign.

They created a series of clever yet effective animated videos. The films feature a variety of fruits as characters and illustrate different scenarios depicting the importance of providing sexual consent and of bystander intervention.

“I’m not exactly sure how we ended up with fruit but we thought it would be good because they could be any gender and any race,” Malépart-Traversy says.

Poster for Le Clitoris Lori Malépart-Traversy’s short film Le Clitoris deals with female sexuality in a light yet educational way. | Photo: Lori Malépart-Traversy

Others agreed that it was a good idea. The Fresh Take on Consent campaign was named Platinum Winner for Best Practices in Communications and Marketing from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), an international association of educational institutions in June 2018. Three months earlier it won the 2018 Gold Award for Best Practices in Communications and Marketing from CASE District 1, which covers eastern Canada and northeastern United States.

Malépart-Traversy is now working full time on a project at the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) on female masturbation. “It’s going to be a series of videos that explores women’s memories, to show that masturbation can be different for every woman and to also show that it’s normal,” she says.

Female-sexuality focus

So far, most of Malépart-Traversy’s work tackles issues of female sexuality. “I think it’s a good combination because with animation you can show some stuff that might be difficult to show in live action,” she says.

“For example, with Le Clitoris, I was able to create this character, the clitoris, all with drawing. It would have been weird in live action. It also gives this cute, attractive visual which, I think, could attract more people to watch the film.”

When her project with at the NFB is finished, Malépart-Traversy isn’t sure what will be next or whether or not her work will continue to address issues of female sexuality. Yet she feels there are many more avenues to be explored on the topic.

“We don’t talk about female sexuality in a genuine or honest way so I think there’s a lot more to say about it. There are still a lot of taboos that exist,” she says.

Today Malépart-Traversy expresses appreciation for the animation program professors she worked with at the Concordia’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, including Luigi Allemano, Shira Avni and Luc Otter.

“I think there are a lot of good teachers in the animation program, but what makes it very special is that it’s a small program and you really feel like a family,” she says.

Watch Lori Malépart-Traversy’s short animated film Le Clitoris.

Watch the Concordia’s Sexual Assault Resource Centre campaigns on consent and bystander intervention.

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