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Film explores benefits of connecting with nature

RPA Artist-in-Residence creates short film animation

November 2020

Film explores benefits of connecting with nature

Animator Bethanie Montano is a storyteller.

“I love the creativity, artistry and challenge that is animation, and overall its power to bring stories to life,” she said.

This year, Bethanie was one of the artists selected as an Artist-in-Residence at RPA – one of the initiatives run by the hospital’s Arts + Health program, Arterie@RPA.

She was commissioned to create a short film animation which she titled Taking Root.

“It tells the story of a patient at RPA connecting with the natural world and the positive effect that it can have on them,” Bethanie said.

The animation was inspired by a collaborative artwork made by RPA’s patients, visitors and staff called Flower Power.

It’s an earlier Carterie@RPA textile project, designed by Kica Saar, during which participants stitched individual squares of patchwork featuring a flower, leaf, bird or bee.

The 150 individual patchwork pieces were then assembled to make a 3D “garden” – a large quilt that’s on display in the patient discharge lounge at RPA.

For her project, Bethanie began by sketching a character and developing her ideas using storyboards to map out each frame of the one-minute animation.

She used computer software to create the animation, holding a workshop at RPA hospital during the District’s annual March Arts Festival, which highlights the benefits of integrating The Arts into the design and delivery of health care.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, and the Festival cancelled, Bethanie continued to work on the animation at home.

“I wanted to capture the nature aspect of the Flower Power project.

“During the animation, an RPA patient enters the world of the artwork. They step outside the hospital and take an imaginative journey during which they’re able to re-connect with nature and as a result gain a little peace,” Bethanie said.

Sydney-based composer Luna Pan created the original score for the animation.

“It’s our first animation work at RPA,” Amanda Solomon, the Founder and Head of Arterie@RPA, said.

“It’s a wonderful evolution of the original project. It showcases the multiple benefits of the hospital’s Arts + Health program.

“Patients, visitors and staff benefit when they create individual works. The wider community benefits from viewing the collaborative installations on display at RPA. And, now there’s the short animated film – so that’s three different levels of creative process,” she said.

To learn more about Bethanie and her work, please visit

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