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"The Doll" at Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland

In conjunction with the summer exhibition Keith Mayerson: My American Dream, MOCA Cleveland held the Pride Edition: Projector Night short film festival, screening work from artists in the LGBTQ+ community in Northeast Ohio. Films were selected and curated by MOCA Cleveland staff.

A short film by MANDEM (the artist conglomerate fronted by FSU Art MFA ’15 Maize Arendsee), The Doll (Act III) was the opening film screened at the event, followed by a Q&A session with MANDEM where they discussed the film’s production. “The film was made using pixilation, stop-motion animation with live actors, so every frame was a still photo – over 2,000 of them. We added frame-by-frame textures to artificially age it, so in some ways it’s a forgery.”

MANDEM also discussed how an alinear fairy tale about fertility, magic, monsters, and othering was relevant to the queer community. “We’ve placed modern concepts on fairy tales — like using the point of view of ‘The Other’ — and we present it as a century-old film, reinserting ourselves into history. Many queer youth are rejected by their parents, and ‘Doll’ asks: If you want a child but they turn out to be the ‘monster,’ how do you respond? And if you are the ‘monstrous child,’ how do you respond to that?”

The Doll (Act III) is available to watch online courtesy of Dirty Chai literary journal, where the film was published: (Story originally published at


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