Fiona Tinwei Lam & Tisha Deb Pillai, film-makers, Canada
Fiona Tinwei Lam, writer, Canada


Plasticnic is an animated short that wryly depicts the extent and impact of the accumulation of plastic in the environment as people continue to purchase, use and discard single-use plastics. We seek out and enjoy nature while simultaneously (and obliviously) destroying it. We are heedlessly gambling with the future of the oceans, of countless marine species, plant species, future generations of humans--in short with the future of the planet.


Lori Ersolmaz

Fiona Tinwei Lam on the project

Plasticnic originated as a shape/concrete poem written by Fiona Tinwei Lam as part of a series of concrete/visual poems on plastic pollution. The poem was first published in Raum literary magazine in Scotland in 2017 and will be included in her upcoming collection, Odes & Laments (Caitlin Press, 2019).

For the poetry video, Fiona was inspired by plastic kids' fridge magnets that she wanted used for the title and credits and bright primary colour scheme. She wanted images of plastic straws, cutlery, clamshells containers, cups, plastic wrap and bags to accumulate in a mandala around the plastic plate. Instead of having the text of the poem appear on the plate (as in the print version), she decided to just have the word "plastic" appear in different fonts and colours (just as plastic can take different forms and colours) when uttered, to act as a kind of pulse.

She was inspired also by the artwork made out of marine plastic debris she saw at the Washed Ashore exhibit in Bandon, Oregon, and incorporated photos (with permission) from, a non-profit that has kids and adults in local communities turn plastic and marine debris into artwork that has travelled to various aquariums and the UN in New York. Fiona met Tisha in Oregon at the Northwest animation festival where they both had pieces selected for screening. Tisha was a newly graduated animation student from Emily Carr University of Art & Design and was game to take on a new project.

The Plasticnic poem is part of a larger collection of concrete/visual poems, which will be paired with another plasticpoem currently in the works, and slated for completion in spring 2019. Both are part of the book, Odes & Laments (Caitlin Press, 2019) by Fiona Tinwei Lam.

Fiona Tinwei Lam
Fiona Tinwei Lam

Tisha Deb Pillai
Tisha Deb Pillai


REEL Poetry, Houston, USA, 2019
Athens 7th International Video Poetry Festival, Greece, 2018
Trenton Film Festival, USA, 2019
Newlyn International Film Festival, UK, 2019


Fiona Tinwei Lam has authored two poetry books and the forthcoming Odes & Laments (Caitlin Press, 2019). A finalist for the City of Vancouver Book Award, she edited The Bright Well: Contemporary Canadian Poems on Facing Cancer and authored the illustrated children's book about Alzheimer's, The Rainbow Rocket. Her work appears in over thirty anthologies, including The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry: 10th Anniversary Edition and Forcefield: 77 Women Poets of BC. Her poetry videos have screened at festivals locally and internationally including the Co-Kisser Poetry Film Festival (Minneapolis), Visible Verse (Vancouver), Sadho Poetry Film Festival (Delhi), Athens International Video Poetry Festival (Greece), Zebra Festival (Germany), Interfilm Short Film Festival (Berlin), Ani'mest Animation Festival (Budapest), Northwest Animation Festival (Portland), Cadence Video Poetry Festival (Seattle), DOXA documentary film festival (Vancouver), and the Film & Video Poetry Symposium (L.A.). She teaches at Simon Fraser University's Continuing Studies in Vancouver, BC.

Tisha Deb Pillai was born in India and currently resides in Vancouver BC, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Media Arts in Animation from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her animation film, If You Fall, has screened at various film festivals including Cinanima, Ottawa International Animation Festival, TIFF Canada's Top Ten, NY International Children's Film Festival, Northwest Animation Festival, Animation Nights New York, and Vancouver International Women in Film Festival. If You Fall has also been added to the permanent collection at the Education Department Resources at the Museum of Modern Art. As an animator living between Canada and India, her work has been inspired from two vastly distinct worlds of colours, cultures and ideas. She enjoys telling stories from personal experiences and memories, and weaving them into narratives with a universal theme.
For their contributions, advice and assistance, thanks to:
Alison Pridham, Aljaž Koprivnikar, Ari Raijas, Bill Mousoulis, Brendan Bonsack, Brian Short, Bronwen Manger, Caroline Rumley, Charles Olsen, Chris Luscri, Chris Windmill, Claudia Larose-Bell, Darko Duilo, Dave Bonta, David Quiles Guilló, Eduardo Yagüe, Fiona Tinwei Lam, Francesca Guiliani, Gemma Grist, Helen Dewbery, Ian Gibbins, Ivana Bojanić, Jackson, Jane Glennie, Jim Robson, Karen Dawson, Kathryn Darnell, James Meetze, Lino Mocerino, Liran Shachar, Lois P. Jones, Lori Ersolmaz, Lucia Sellars, Lucy English, Luigi Starace, Maria Vella, Marc Neys, Martin Kelly, Matt Hetherington, Matt Mullins, Mike Hoolboom, Nigel Wells, Pam Falkenberg, Paul Casey, R.W. Perkins, Sissy Doutsiou, Sylvia Toy St Louis, Vicky Mousoulis, the film-makers, writers and their collaborators.