Screening followed by a discussion with filmmaker Marta Pajek, who will join us virtually. Free for SAIC and DePaul students; tickets will be released Sunday, October 16*.

Pajek is quickly earning a reputation as one of the most gifted animators of her generation,” Philip Lewis, National Film Board of Canada

“Each of Pajek’s stories [are] simple at first, but filled with paradoxes and traps as we get deeper into them.” Tricky Women / Tricky Realities

October 20 at 6pm | Acclaimed Polish animator Marta Pajek is known for unsettling and enigmatic films about dreams, relationships, and women’s lives. Her latest is the award-winning triptych IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES AND OTHER STORIES, released as a series of individual films over six years. Rendered in elegant, ever-morphing black and white line animations, the trilogy uses the impossible figure—a drawing that follows the rules of perspective but cannot exist in reality—as both a motif and central metaphor. Each film uses a physical space—a house, the space between two lovers, a city—to examine intimate and global anxieties about gender, sexuality, liberation, and political violence. In IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES AND OTHER STORIES II (2017), a young woman confronts the disorienting demands of domesticity; in IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES AND OTHER STORIES III (2018), a couple sinks into a psychosexual romance; and in IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES AND OTHER STORIES I (2021), a grand dame explores the architecture of idealism, authoritarianism, and self-destruction. Pajek will join the program virtually to discuss the ideas and images that inspired the triptych, as well as her distinctive style. 

Presented in partnership with DePaul University's School of Cinematic Arts and the Video Data Bank.

This event will have real-time captions (CART). For other accessibility requests, please visit or contact

Festivals, Awards & Nominations

Grand Prix, GLAS Animation Festival
Grand Prix, Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film
Golden Dove, DOK Leipzig
Best Animated Film, Krakow Film Festival
Special Mention, Animafest Zagreb
Ottawa International Animation Festival
Annecy International Animation Film Festival 
Cannes Film Festival

About the artist

Marta Pajek is an animator from Kielce, Poland. She studied with renowned Polish animator Jerzy Kucia at Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and Estonian animator Priit Pärn at the Turku Arts Academy. Her striking animations employ a minimal palette, clean lines, and negative space, cohesively merging hand-drawn animation with CGI. Her films include AFTER APPLES (2004), NEXTDOOR (2005), SLEEPINCORD (2011) and the acclaimed IMPOSSIBLE FIGURES AND OTHER STORIES trilogy. She has received multiple awards for her works, which have screened around the world, including, among others, the Cannes Film Festival, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and Tricky Women/Tricky Realities, as well as the GLAS Animation Festival, and Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Films, both of which awarded her their grand prize.

SAIC Student Tickets

All CATE programs are free for SAIC students. Unless otherwise noted, SAIC student tickets are released five days prior to showtime. Tickets must be picked up in person from the Gene Siskel Film Center box office. A student ID is required.

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