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Also Known As: Faith Elliott Hubley, Faith Chestman Died: December 7, 2001
Born: September 16, 1924 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Profession: director, animator, producer, screenwriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

First in concert with her husband John Hubley, with whom she collaborated on several Oscar-winning animated films, and on her own following his 1977 death, Faith Hubley was one of the most gifted animators of her era. With a poetical soul and an eye for abstract images that nonetheless were emotionally solid, Hubley's uniquely beautiful works were intensely personal, far from the mainstream cartoons where the couple had originally gotten their start.Faith Chestman was born September 16, 1924 in Manhattan, one of four children born to a pair of Russian émigrés, Sally and Irving Chestman. She rarely spoke of her childhood in the poor immigrant neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen, although some of her more personal animated films hinted at a bleak and abusive upbringing. Leaving home at 15 without finishing school, Chestman adopted the stage name Faith Elliott and became an actress. A career on Broadway did not pan out, so at the dawn of World War II, an 18-year-old Elliott moved from New York City to Hollywood, where behind the scenes jobs at the movie studios were suddenly open to self-assured young women due to the hiring shortage caused by the draft. From the lowly rank of messenger at Columbia Studios,...

First in concert with her husband John Hubley, with whom she collaborated on several Oscar-winning animated films, and on her own following his 1977 death, Faith Hubley was one of the most gifted animators of her era. With a poetical soul and an eye for abstract images that nonetheless were emotionally solid, Hubley's uniquely beautiful works were intensely personal, far from the mainstream cartoons where the couple had originally gotten their start.

Faith Chestman was born September 16, 1924 in Manhattan, one of four children born to a pair of Russian émigrés, Sally and Irving Chestman. She rarely spoke of her childhood in the poor immigrant neighborhood of Hell's Kitchen, although some of her more personal animated films hinted at a bleak and abusive upbringing. Leaving home at 15 without finishing school, Chestman adopted the stage name Faith Elliott and became an actress. A career on Broadway did not pan out, so at the dawn of World War II, an 18-year-old Elliott moved from New York City to Hollywood, where behind the scenes jobs at the movie studios were suddenly open to self-assured young women due to the hiring shortage caused by the draft. From the lowly rank of messenger at Columbia Studios, Elliott quickly rose to more impressive positions in the sound and music field, where she gained skills as an editor that became very important in her later career. Elliott moved into film editing on the B picture "Go Man Go" (1954), a fictionalized version of the birth of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team.

While in Hollywood, Elliott met and married a rising young animator named John Hubley, who at the time best known for his work with the pioneering United Productions of America (UPA). When the Hubleys' left-wing political views (John had been a key figure in an animators' strike at Walt Disney Studios in an attempt to unionize the shop) were questioned during the Red Scare of the 1950s, the couple moved to New York. While John opened his own animation company, Storyboard Studios, which at first specialized in animated TV commercials, Faith worked as the script supervisor on Sidney Lumet's classic courtroom drama "Twelve Angry Men" (1957). By the end of the decade, the Hubleys cemented their creative partnership in an independent setting. On most of their cartoons, John was credited as director and Faith as producer, with shared writing credits, but in fact, it was an organic, free-flowing partnership that both contributed to equally. Their four children were an integral part of their work together. Sons Mark and Ray starred in the Oscar-winning 1959 short "Moonbird," based on tapes Faith and John had secretly recorded of the boys creating a spontaneous adventure story. Later films used the same technique and inspiration starring the couple's two daughters, Emily (who later became a noted animator herself) and Georgia (who fronts the long-running indie rock band Yo La Tengo).

The Hubleys continued working together until John's death on the operating table during open heart surgery on February 21, 1977. Their final released work together was "A Doonesbury Special" (NBC 1977), a low-key TV adaptation of the controversial comic strip written by the Hubleys with its creator, Garry Trudeau and completed by Faith following John's death. By this time, Hubley had already begun creating more personal, abstract animated works such as "Women of the World (WOW)" (1975), begun after she was diagnosed with cancer. Following John's death, Hubley maintained a strong work ethic, completing at least one film a year, most often exploring themes such as motherhood, creation myths and social justice. Her films became staples of the festival circuit; "Yes We Can" (1989) and "Sky Dance" (1980) were both nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, while "The Cosmic Eye" (1986) was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. During this period, Hubley was also an instructor at Yale University, teaching a class on storyboarding in the school's department of art. Faith Hubley died of cancer in New Haven, CT on December 7, 2001.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Yes We Can (1989) Director
2.
  Time of the Angels (1988) Director
3.
  Cosmic Eye, The (1985) Director
4.
  Step By Step (1978) Director
5.
  Whither Weather (1977) Director
6.
  Second Chance Sea (1976) Director
7.
  People People People (1975) Director
8.
  WOW Women of the World (1975) Director
9.
  Cockaboody (1973) Director
10.
  Upkeep (1973) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Animated Women (1995) Herself
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Notes

Hubley on her dissatisfaction with the home video medium: "Most of my films are out of DVD, and I understand that that's better than home video. I trust that the people how are serious about works in that medium will sit still and not ger up and wander around, eating and making telephone calls. But we need to be back in theaters." --quoted to The Onion, March 22, 2000.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
John K Hubley. Animator. Frequent collaborator.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Mark Hubley. Horse trainer.
son:
Ray Hubley. Film editor.
daughter:
Emily Hubley. Animator.
daughter:
Georgia Hubley. Musician. Drummer for the rock band Yo La Tengo.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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