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rocks in my pockets 

Zeitgeist Films will release ROCKS IN MY POCKETS, the debut animated feature by Signe Baumane. ROCKS IN MY POCKETS had its World Premiere at the 2014 Karlovy Vary Film Festival where it was the first animated feature ever to take part in the Karlovy Vary International Competition. The film will open at the IFC Center in New York on September 3rd, NOT 5th, and at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles on September 12. A national release will follow.

In the animated gem ROCKS IN MY POCKETS Latvian-born artist and filmmaker Signe Baumane tells five fantastical tales based on the courageous women in her family and their battles with madness. With boundless imagination and a twisted sense of humor, she has created daring stories of art, romance, marriage, nature, business, and Eastern European upheaval—all in the fight for her own sanity.

Employing a unique, beautifully textured combination of papier-mâché stop-motion and classic hand-drawn animation (with inspiration from Jan Svankmajer and Bill Plympton), Baumane has produced a poignant and often hilarious tale of mystery, mental health, redemption and survival. 

Director’s statement:

The idea for ROCKS IN MY POCKETS came from my stream of consciousness. Like most people I think about a wide variety of things, some fantastical, some mundane, but my mind keeps coming back to thoughts of “ending it all” and the ways I could go about doing it. Why? Why do I think this way? And why I am still alive despite such thoughts? I find the fragility of our minds fascinating. Life is strange, unpredictable, sometimes absurd and I try to see the humor in it all. 

While I was studying at Moscow State University, I got pregnant and married the father of my future child, a Russian artist. After my son was born, I started having dark obsessive thoughts. I sought council with a local psychiatrist to whom I confessed that, at 18, I had tried to commit suicide by taking an excessive amount of Dimedrol. I was immediately sent to a Soviet mental hospital and locked away for four months. The official diagnosis was schizophrenia, but this was downgraded to the “lesser” one of manic-depression after my parents bribed medical officials.

Despite the diagnosis, I returned to the university, graduated successfully, and started my career as an animator. It turned out that I was not the only one in my extended family having dark, obsessive thoughts. In fact, I had plenty of company. Unfortunately, not all of the sufferers were able to fend their demons off.

ROCKS IN MY POCKETS is dedicated to my family members who did not survive, and to my surviving family, who still live in the aftermath. The film is dedicated to the hope that we sustain in our darkest moments.

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