DjangoFest Northwest Gets Animated

Drew Christie

Drew Christie

Originally posted to

Anyone who has attended DjangoFest Northwest (DFNW) knows how lively things can get in the little seaside town of Langley. This year, though, the annual gypsy jazz festival promises to be even more animated, thanks to the work of esteemed animator, illustrator and filmmaker Drew Christie.

Christie, a Langley resident, has won wide acclaim for his innovative, hand-drawn style. His short film Song of the Spindle screened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in 2012, and his animated work regularly appears online for The New York TimesVanity Fair and other top outlets. He is currently producing a short piece for DFNW that highlights master guitarist Django Reinhardt’s personal triumph over tragedy, which led to his creation of the gypsy or “hot” jazz guitar technique.

For Christie, the project was a natural fit. “Music is one of the most important things in my life,” he says, “so everything I make in some way revolves around music I love. Making something about Django is the perfect embodiment of that because of the combination of beautiful music and inspiring human story.”

A guitarist himself, Drew has previously attended the festival, and his work includes numerous illustrations of instruments as well as a much-admired tribute to JJ Cale for The Times’ Op-Docs.

“I've been wanting to make an animation about Django Reinhardt ever since I first heard his music,” he adds, “so this is basically a dream project.”

Originally hailing from Seattle, Christie developed an interest in visual art while attending Skyline High School in Sammamish, then honed his filmmaking skills at The Film School headed by actor Tom Skerrit and other industry leaders. Drawn by Whidbey’s laidback attitude and artistic spirit, Christie moved to Langley in 2013 with his now fiancé Amanda Moore. The two opened Kalakala Co. Animation and sister company Kalakala Co. Mercantile, a hybrid craft beverage bar and curio shop that offers handmade items for the kitchen, home and body, as well as exclusive artworks.

Look for Christie’s animated DFNW piece later this summer. In the meantime, you can check out his many other projects at And while you’re in Langley, be sure to stop by Kalakala Co. (138 2nd Street) to say hello and sip a seasonal brew or cool vinegar drink on the back patio.