Canadian cartoonist Seth, best known for comic books such as Palookaville, is one of the world’s great storytellers in the form. In his personal projects he transforms his poignant inner life into observant and witty graphic stories. He is also incredibly prolific, producing semi-autobiographical comics and award-winning commercial work, as well as what he calls his “little hobbies.” Director Luc Chamberland sheds light on his articulate subject, mixing insightful biography with vivid animation in an artful fusion of filmmaking techniques that perfectly captures Seth’s manifold creative universe. In this deft portrait of one of our most unique artists, Seth proves to be a wry and engaging narrator of his own life story and artistic process.
Canadian cartoonist Seth, best known for comic books such as Palookaville, is one of the world’s great storytellers in the form. In Seth’s Dominion, director Luc Chamberland has sketched a masterly portrait of this prolific artist, mixing insightful biography with vivid animation in an artful fusion of filmmaking techniques that perfectly captures Seth’s manifold creative universe.
From his moving and melancholy reflections on childhood—his bittersweet relationship with his parents, in particular—to his descriptions of his solitary, disciplined creative habits, Seth proves to be an enchanting narrator of his own life story. Chamberland peeks into his inner world, chronicling it with the same understated humility Seth applies to his own work. And the work itself, including art Seth created in his youth, will be a revelation to those unfamiliar with it.
Seth’s close friends and colleagues, accomplished cartoonists Chester Brown and Joe Matt, marvel at his output. In his personal projects, Seth transforms his poignant inner life into drolly observant graphic stories. And it would not be hyperbole to find analogies to Proust in what Seth has referred to as his “memory drawings.” In addition to the semi-autobiographical comics, there is the award-winning commercial work, which includes illustrations for major publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker and Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern. Then there are his “little hobbies,” as he calls them. One of these is an increasingly epic project entitled City of Dominions. Over the past decade, Seth has imagined and constructed—in his basement—a model of a make-believe city in Northern Ontario.
Seth seems intent on fabricating worlds he’d like to live in—like the house he shares with his wife Tania (and two cats). He and Tania also share an interest in persona building and the aesthetics of the past, though he refutes critiques of his work that consign it to the realm of simple nostalgia. It’s more complicated than that, he tells us.
Self-aware, wry and articulate, Seth makes a fascinating documentary subject, and given full access to his life, Chamberland has crafted an inspired film—a kind of reverie with a lilting cadence that gently drifts back and forth between the artist’s personal and professional worlds.
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
ORIGINAL MUSIC AND SOUND DESIGN
SETH (GREGORY GALLANT)
JOHN HENRY GALLANT
TANIA VAN SPYK
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
JOHN MINH TRAN
DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS
OANA SUTEU KHITIRIAN
HYUN JIN PARK
DIGITAL IMAGING CONSULTANTS
SOUND EDITING ASSISTANT
FOLEY AND MUSIC RECORDING AND MUSIC MIX
JEAN PAUL VIALARD
TITLES AND CREDITS
ROSALINA DI SARIO