[NOTE: Posted partially unedited due to health problems ~ Curtis]

Association International du Film d'Animation
(International Animated Film Association)

October 2016




RSVP NECESSARY - contact: karlcohen@earthlink.net

Two NFB co-productions hit it big in Annecy this year, sweeping the top two awards with Franck Dion (France) winning the Grand Prix for A Head Vanishes and Theo Ushev (Bulgaria) winning the Special Jury Award for Blind Vaysha. Both directors will show and talk about their new work. Ushev will also screen The Man Who Waited (2006) and Sonambulo (The Sleepwalker), 2015. Dion will also show L’Inventaire Fantome (The Phantom Inventory) – 2004 and Monsieur Cok, 2009. The NFB will also show BAM by Howie Shia and My Heart Attack, by Sheldon Cohen. Cohen’s best known work is The Sweater.


KEN PONTAC IS BUSY WRITING A SERIES OF INSANE COMICS, GEARING UP TO WORK ON A NEW SERIES OF OUTRAGEOUS “HAPPY TREE FRIENDS” ETC. He worked on the Netflix show Kong - King of the Apes which was picked up for a second season so he will write half of the episodes with another writer doing the other half. His comics project is a six issue run of a DC comic book called Wacky Raceland, which is a mash-up of the old Hanna Barbera series from the 60's and Mad Max. http://www.cbr.com/the-gloriously-insane-hot-mess-that-is-wacky-raceland-1/ He is also working on the videogame, State of Decay 2 set in a zombie apocalypse world. He believes, “Many of the lessons learned in that game will be useful in a Post Trump world.” Work on the next Happy Tree starts soon.

Ken was co-producer of Bump InThe Night made locally ad was art director of the last Gumby episodes made in Sausalito.

THE ACADEMY AWARDED 4 STUDENT OSCARS FOR 2016 IN ANIMATION They were awarded to Die Flucht by Carter Boyce from DePaul University; Once upon a Line by Alicja Jasina from USC; The Wishgranter by Echo Wu from Ringling College of Art and Design and Ayny by Ahmad Saleh from the Academy of Media Arts Cologne, Germany.


HE MUST SEE FEATURE AT THE MILL VALLEY FILM FEST IS MICHAEL DUDOK DE WIT’S ‘THE RED TURTLE’ It won a Special Jury Prize at Cannes, got A+ rave reviews, and was picked up by Sony for US distribution (opens Jan. 2017). De Wit won an Oscar in 2001 for Father and Daughter and was nominated in 1995 for The Monk and the Fish. This Robinson Crusoe inspired feature was produced with Studio Ghibli. Indie Wire called it a “touching odyssey… elegant simplicity that points to deeper truths... a quiet little masterpiece of images, each one rich with meaning that collectively speak to a universal process.”

Two other animated features

Miss Hokusai (Sarusuberi) directed by Keiichi Hara, Japan, won the Jury Award at Annecy and three awards at the Fantasia International Film Festival. An inspirational manga, impressive artwork, about the daughter of the famed 19th-Century artist Hokusai. Saturday Oct 8 4PM, Lark.

Molly Monster from Germany by directors Ted Sieger, Michael Ekblad, Matthias Bruhn. This is a really whimsical feature for young kids, with delightfully silly looking characters and a very innocent but charming G rated story. Sunday, Oct 9 11 AM, Lark and Sunday Oct 16, 11AM, Rafael.

The festival also includes The Tower by director Keith Maitland (US), a recreation (rotoscoped footage) of the horror created by the sniper who shot and killed 16 people from the University of Texas tower in 1966. It won 3 awards at SXSW.

MILL VALLEY FILM FESTIVAL TO SHOW A PROGRAM OF ANIMATION FEATURING WORK BY DAN McHALE, NINA PALEY, MICHAEL DUDOK DE WIT AND OTHER ARTISTS The program 5@5: Poets features hand drawn, CG, and stop-motion work: Splotch by Dan McHale, Daewit by David Jansen, Germany; Stardust Serenade by Kathleen Quillian, Chad Gadya by Nina Paley and Theodore Gray, Honky Cat by Tamara Hahn, Stems by Ainslie Henderson, UK; Father and Daughter by Michael Dudok de Wit, Netherlands, 2000; Borrowed Time by Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj, and Clouds by Diego Mclean, Canada. Dan McHale and Andrew Coates live in the Bay Area. Shown twice at the Rafael on Friday Oct 7 at 5 PM and Friday Oct 14 at 9PM.

In another program the festival will show Soar an animated short by Alice Tzue from The Academy of Art in San Francisco. The festival runs Oct. 6 – 16.

LEE MARRS HAS A NEW BOOK OUT She just compiled an anthology of The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge Girl Blimp with a forward by Gloria Steinem. Lee has retired from teaching animation at Berkeley City College. Pudge is available from Amazon.

COMMENTS ON “KUBO” By Shaina Fender I would like to comment on the seamless blend between the world of tangible props and CG effects that include an opening scene upon the ocean that is so rich you can almost feel the wind and the mist on your face. The blend of techniques used makes the world richer, not as a way to cheat the hard stuff.

Travis Knight, the director, told us “the Skeleton King was about a seventeen foot puppet all together. We had to keep him in separate parts or he wouldn't have fit in the studio.” One of many larger than life magical monsters featured in this film that could have easily been replaced by digital puppets but weren't. Instead they were all made to scale in tangible space so that they could truly be face to face with our hero Kubo.

It seems that with every new innovation in technology Laika makes in its films it makes the tangible more mind blowing and unique.. From start to finish this film is a beautiful journey both inside the suspension of disbelief and out.

Note: Shaina is studying animation at the Art Institute of San Francisco.

NBC/UNIVERSAL LAYS OFF ABOUT 200 FORMER DREAMWORKS EMPLOYEES Approximately 200 positions at the Glendale campus were terminated in September. They were office workers, not animator who are needed to finish works in progress. The terminated worked in distribution, consumer products and other areas where NBCUniversal staff can take over their tasks.

SEE RARE FOOTAGE AND MEET THE VIOICE ACTORS OF “LEGEND OF KORRA AND AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER” Saturday, November 19, 7-9pm, a benefit for the Cartoon Art Museum at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, tickets $28-38 http://www.friendsforbenefits.org/legend-o-korra-last-airbender/

GREAT STOP-MOTION MOMENTS http://www.io9.gizmodo.com/check-out-a-century-of-stop-motion-animation-from-king-1786167724

NEWS FROM GKIDS They have announced they have obtained the distribution rights to My Life as a Zucchini. A critically acclaimed stop-motion animated Cannes selection directed by Claude Barras. It is also Switzerland’s Best Foreign Language submission for the 2017 Academy Awards. They have also posted online trailers for two features they will release later this year, Miss Hokusai and Ethel and Ernest,

http://www.awn.com/news/gkids-announces-acquisition-my-life-zucchini ~ http://www.awn.com/news/new-trailer-arrives-ethel-and-ernest-feature and


EXCERPTS FROM A “HOLLYWOOD REPORTER” INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL EISNER TALKING ABOUT JEFFREY KATZENBERG AND MICHAEL OVITZ Michael Eisner is now 74 and he runs the venture capital firm Tornante that produces Netflix’s BoJack Horseman. He served as president and CEO of Paramount Pictures from 1976-1984 and chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company from 1984-2005.

Ovitz was the former CAA chief who Eisner hired to become Disney's president following the sudden death of Frank Wells. He also had to fire him a year later at a reported cost of $140 million. Eisner says, "I made a mistake… Everybody, Warren Buffett, Tom Murphy, everybody thought this was the most brilliant move ever made. He was on the cover of magazines as 'the most powerful guy in Hollywood.' He was enough younger than me that it would be a very comfortable thing. It just didn't work. He was the opposite of Frank Wells. It was a partnership that was born in hell. Whether it was his fault or my fault is irrelevant. … Very quickly, I realized it was a mistake. … It only took a year to get out of it, but it was a year of difficulty."

Another Disney employee whose departure cost Eisner a lot of capital, financial and otherwise was Katzenberg. When Katzenberg, who followed Eisner from Paramount to Disney and was nicknamed Eisner's "Golden Retriever" for his loyal service, was not promoted to president upon Wells' death, he was furious and sued the company for $250 million. They later settled, and Katzenberg went on to form DreamWorks Animation. "Katzenberg wanted to be promoted," Eisner says. "I'm not sure that was the right idea. But Roy E. Disney [Walt Disney's nephew and a force on Disney's board who Eisner says "could be a troublemaker"], who did not like him at all, I forget the reason, but Jeffrey probably did not treat him the way that Roy would have wanted to be treated, said to me, 'If you make him the president, I will start a proxy fight.' So that was out of the question. Couldn't do it. Had to let him go... I probably could have talked him into doing something less than that [president], but Roy made it absolutely crystal clear, and it wasn't worth the fight."

CHINA’S COMMERCE MINISTER IS LOOKING INTO “UNSPECIFIED COMPLAINTS” THAT THE DREAM-WORKS SALE COULD HURT COMPETITION IN THE CHINESE MARKET China is launching an anti-trust investigation into Comcast's recent acquisition of DreamWorks Animation based on anti-monopoly laws according to Reuters. No details were given about the objections. Our justice department approved the purchase after finding no threat to competition, but China can block international deals when it determines they pose a threat to competition in the country (such actions are rare). The issue might concern the value or role of Oriental DreamWorks in Shanghai since DreamWorks owns a 45 percent stake in that studio.



HIROSHIMA, REVIEWED BY STEVE SEGAL The Hiroshima Animation Festival is a wonderful gathering of animators, artists, students, writers, and animation fans. The theme is Love and Peace and despite the language barrier there was a warmth and friendliness throughout the festival. The city is big and bustling and in August it's hot and humid. The film screenings are all held in one expansive building, with parties held in nearby areas. It's a short walk to the Peace Memorial and museum. I took the opportunity to visit it a few times, it's a very moving place.


There were three primary screening rooms and the programming goes on from approximately 9am to 9pm in each theater with a few exceptions. In addition there are gallery shows, meet the artist rooms, an education section with many booths for schools and companies who cater to schools (TV Paint was conspicuously in the front). So if you make good use of your time and tax your eyeballs you may see one fifth of what's here.

The second floor lobby was the entrance to all three theaters and it was also the place for dealer's booths. What an amazing array of desirable animation paraphernalia: books, DVDs, flipbooks, t-shirts, caps, banners and original art. Upstairs there were displays of original art by Renzo Kinoshita and Yoji Kuri. Kuri was easily approachable in the dealers’ area as he was selling his huge book of cartoons, which I could not resist even though I can't read the captions.


There were several feature length films presented in the main hall: Karol Zeman Film Adventurer is a feature length documentary and a wonderful overview of the Czech pioneer who directed the films The Fabulous World of Jules Verne and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. The documentary uses a clever connecting device of having Czech students try to recreate his effects without using digital technology. The film traces his career from his studying accounting at his father's demand to creating the most successful Czech film export in history, and now he is virtually unknown today. There were many clips from his visionary films and some delicious behind the scenes shots. There was a picnic at a lake but as a big Zeman fan, I didn't want to miss this and it's just too damn hot to be outside, even at a lake.


Another compilation feature was The Turning Table, an overview of the films of Paul Grimault. He introduces his films to some of his own cartoon characters. He pulls out film reels and shows clips from his celebrated films on his movieola editing machine. Grimault exhibits a rich full flowing style of animation, obviously influenced by Disney. It is perhaps too fluid with every movement full of flourishes and depth. The film is not very compelling on its own, but the clips make you want to see more of this film maker's work. And since I had only seen still pictures of Grimault, it was nice to see him in action.


Three unique animated features had their Japanese or Asian premieres here. O Apóstolo is a Spanish stop motion feature written and directed by Fernando Cortizo. Even though IMDb lists its release date as 2012, it had its Japanese premiere here. It's a dark nightmarish adventure with a search for hidden loot that leads our hero seemingly to the depths of hell. Even though the look and lighting were intriguing I found the plot too repetitive.


Sabogal is a hand drawn feature made in Colombia in 2015 and it had its Asian premiere here. It has the stark monochromatic look of graphic novels to tell the story of a lawyer who fights for human rights against powerful underworld figures.


Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol who directed the excellent Oscar nominated French cartoon A Cat in Paris have teamed up again for Phantom Boy, where a boy with special powers helps a wheelchair bound police officer fight a crime kingpin.

At least one big studio was represented when director Alan Barillaro and producer Marc Sonheimer from Pixar presented a highly detailed talk about their beautiful short film Piper, which many have already seen in front of Finding Dory. Concept and character design, lighting and how far to push a film that looks realistic. One of the most interesting aspects was the beautiful score by rock guitarist Adrian Belew who worked with music legends Talking Heads, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, and Nine Inch Nails. In answer to a question about how Pixar operated, Marc said that Pixar is willing to take risks, as with a first time director like Barillaro and first time film composer Belew.

One of my favorite things to do at the festival was to sit in the lobby where there were tables and chairs and chat with people. If I'm lucky they speak English. On the second day nobody was around so I sat by myself and made a small drawing for the back of my badge. An elderly Japanese couple asked if they could sit and of course I said yes. They opened up the festival catalog and pointed at a picture of Momotaro and I said "first Japanese animated feature", they seemed surprised that I knew that. Then the woman pointed at the man and said "son of director." That's the great thing about a festival, everybody there is interesting.

On Sunday all the judges presented their work with explanations of their creative process. One judge identified in the program as Lisa Tulin and/or Lasse Persson. As you might expect this animator is a cross dresser and his/her work frequently reflects that alternate life style. The films are quite funny in a slightly bawdy vein, and the animation is very full and accomplished. When I approached Lisa about this she said she was a classically trained animator who learned the principles at Sheridan College in Canada from famed animators Kai Pindal and Derek Lamb.

Christine Panushka

Christine Panushka approaches her work from more of a fine arts background. She talked about her paintings and how that often leads to her films. One of her works is a 30 foot high grid of panels of faces. Most of her work shown focused on people, lots of people. She denied the idea that her films are entertainment, but even though the work is not traditional storytelling they are lyrical and engaging, and never go on too long.

Regina Pessoa has only made three animated films so far but any one of them would assure her a place among great animators. She presented an especially fine overview of her process both conceptually and technically. Her first film being created by drawing lines on plaster then scraping them off as she created the successive frames. She then worked in a sort of scratch board technique with each frame being a separate drawing (I was able to purchase one in the dealer area). After mastering that technique, her studio informed her that she would have to use computers to make her films. So she developed techniques to add imperfections to the look of her drawings. She also showed a short video of the small animation museum she runs with her husband Abi Feijó in Portugal.


Taku Furukawa showed several of his dense but cartoony films and talked about how he got into animation and his process. Some of his films contained a mind-boggling amount of activity.

Jean-François Laguionie

Hiroshima Festival honorary president Jean-François Laguionie has established himself over a 50 year career as animator and director. His work is painterly. He has worked with cels and cutouts and CG. He presented his early short works The Lady and the Cellist (1965), A Bomb by Chance (1969), Peter and the Mermaid (1972), The Mask of the Devil (1976), The Actor (1975), Rowing Across the Atlantic (1978) and his first feature Gwen, the Book of Sand. There was no presentation of his later feature films: A Monkey's Tale (1999), L'île de Black Mór (2004), The Painting (2011) which had a limited run in the USA and the soon to premiere Louise en hiver.

There were also five series of films shown under the banner Best of the World, which led me to believe this was an overview of the best international films from around the world, but it was instead submitted films deemed not good enough to be included in competition making the title ironic. Of course "best" is always subjective and some of these films are quite good. There were also programs of children's films and a constant stream of the history of Japanese animation.

Of course the crux of a film festival is the competition. The first night screening kicked off the proceedings with Taiko drummers, kids dancing and kabuki style dragon heads. The festival creator and vice president Sayoko Kinoshita opened the festival with a lively welcome before the first presentation of films in competition. After four nights of competition screenings the judges selected their choices for prizes.

Here are some of the winning films


The Grand Prix went to a delicately hand rendered surreal The Empty by Jeong Dahee from the Republic of Korea. It expresses the empty place left by a loved one in our life.


The Hiroshima Prize went to Among the Black Waves, a dark charcoal looking Russian film by Anna Budanova. It's about what happens to love when there is no freedom.


The Debut Prize went to Gabriel Harel's compelling Yùl and the Snake, a film from France about two brothers and a boorish drug dealer. The dialog, character development, storytelling and drawing style impressed me when I saw it among the films eligible for Oscar consideration.


Renzo Kinoshita Prize went to the French Peripheria directed by French artist David Coquard Dassault. It is a haunting realistic looking depiction of dogs exploring some abandoned buildings. It won a major prize earlier this year at the GLAS festival in Berkeley.


Special International Jury Prize went to Yulia Aronova's amusing One, Two, Tree, an enjoyable Swiss cartoon about a tree who emulates the things around him. This is a film appropriate for children.

Here are a few of the other films that caught my attention.


Mrs Metro is a student film with very black humor about a hapless bag lady who accidentally leaves her baby on a subway. The simplified drawing style, exaggerated gestures and facial expressions had me laughing out loud all through the film.


Borderlines is a clever parable about two men sharing a space and constantly reworking their space to accommodate their needs. The very simply designed student film is by Hana Nováková from the Czech Republic where she studied under Michela Pavlatova.


Paul Dreissen's Cat Meets Dog explores themes and a style familiar to his fans. The film from The National Film Board of Canada uses multiple screens to tell alternate storylines as a cat and dog search for romance.


The stop-motion film Tik Tak by Ülo Pikkov from Estonia is a highly detailed account of a mouse disrupting a clock maker, played by a pixilated human actor.


The final film presented for competition was Erlking by Swiss film master Georges Schwizgebel. Any film by this artist is worth noting and Erlking lives up to the high standards of his previous works. The painterly scenes split apart and come together to tell the story by Goethe of a father and son, with Schubert and Liszt music provided by Schwizgebel's son, Louis Schwizgebel a very accomplished musician.

There was a notable absence of CG, or at least a CG look. Peripheria was created with CG models but it looks hand drawn. All in all the competition films were innovative, evocative and entertaining. I recommend the Hiroshima Animation Festival as long as you can stand the heat.


Nik, Lei Lei, Nancy, Nadezhda Svirskaya and Sasha Svirsky


6 – 11 JUNE 2016
by Nancy Denny-Phelps

Animafest Zagreb is the second oldest animation festival in the world, after the Annecy International Animation Festival. It has always been an excellent festival, but this year Artistic Director Daniel Suljic set a new standard for festival excellence. Along with the six International Competition programs, the Student Film Competition, two Croatian Film Competitions and nine feature films, the week was packed with special events.

Honoring Raoul Servais

The opening night ceremony got off to a rousing start with the presentation of the 26th Animafest Zagreb Lifetime Achievement Award to the Belgian master of animation Raoul Servais by Margit “Buba” Antauer, President of the Festival Council. The Animafest Council who select the honoree said that they chose Servais because he is “a stylistically opulent and diverse author who mostly uses drawing, but nonetheless often changed his drawing style. In some works he used images of human figures combined with live action and animation and in many other ways making a name for himself as one of the early explorers of the possibilities of digital technology”. In films such as Harpya which won the Palm d’Or at Cannes in 1979 and Papillons de Nuit (1998) Raoul became one of the most important innovators and representatives of existentialist animation, occasionally blurring the boundary between animation and live action.


Raoul, who is 88 years young, premiered his latest short film Tank at the Gent International Film Festival last year where they also honored him with an exhibition and reception. On the 15th of September 1916 during the battle of the Somme the British army for the first time in history used tanks to break through the enemy lines in the trench war. Tank was made as part of a collection of animations created by European animators to pay respect to those who died during WWI. He is currently finishing his feature Duiven.

As well as being an animation pioneer in 1963 Raoul founded the first animation school on the European continent at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Gent, Belgium. In 1984-5 he served as President of ASIFA (International Animated Film Association) and since 2010 he has been the Honorary President of the organization. Even more important than the numerous awards he has won and all of his many achievements, Raoul Servais is one of the nicest people that I know and he is always willing to share his expertise with young animators.

The day after the Lifetime Achievement Award was presented, the Belgian Ambassador to Croatia hosted a reception to honor Raoul. There was also a retrospective screening of nine of Raoul’s films spanning from the 1965 Chromophobia to the 2015 Tank.

The 2016 ASIFA prize

Next, members of the ASIFA International Board who were present, Vesna Dovnikovic, Corrie Francis Park, Thomas Renoldner, and I took to the stage to present the ASIFA Prize. The award is given annually to a person who has contributed outstanding achievements in the art of animation. I had the extreme honor and pleasure to present the award to my good friend and colleague Giannalberto Bendazzi.

Giannalberto is a professor, journalist, and one of the foremost animation historians in the world. He began writing about animation in 1965 at the age of nineteen and attended his first festival in 1969. In 1994, his book Cartoon: 100 years of Cinema Animation was published. After seven years of extensive research, his long awaited follow-up three volume masterpiece Animation: A World History was published last year. The three volumes cover every region of the world with detailed profiles of the animators, some of whom have never been written about in English before. The award, a beautifully framed drawing by Raoul Servais from Tank, was presented to the surprised Giannalberto by Raoul on stage.

Animation Studies Award

The last person to be honored on stage was Marcin Gizycki who received the festival’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animation Studies. This award, originated in 2002, is the only one of its type to be given at any festival. Marcin is an animator as well as a visual art historian and one of the most important European animation experts. He is also a teacher, splitting his time between the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States and Warsaw, Poland. A trailblazer in animation studies, Marcin has written extensively about avant-garde and Polish film between the two world wars as well as the different artistic alternatives to Disney. He is also Artistic Director of the prestigious Animator International Animated Film Festival in Poznan, Poland.

The Films

All six of the competition programs were very strong. I was particularly impressed with A Coat Made Dark by Irish animator Jack O’Shea. The film takes the viewer into a darkly mysterious and sinister world where everything is based on greed, exploitation, and abuse. I couldn’t feel any sympathy for either of the two main characters, one the manipulating user, the other reduced to being a slave to the other one by the glitter and seductive allure of gold.

O’Shea specializes in classic hand drawn animation techniques which added to the dark, gritty feeling of the film. As much as I appreciated the story and the excellent dark animation which set the tone for the story the film made me feel that the grit and dirt had rubbed off on me and I wanted to go take a shower. A Coat Made Dark was awarded the Zlatko Grgic Award for the best first production apart from educational institutions. The award is named for Zagreb born Grgic who was nominated for the Academy Award for Short Films for his 1979 Dream Doll which was produced by Bob Godfrey.


In Peripheria, French animator David Coquard Dassault has created a beautifully crafted film set in the not too distant future, when packs of wild dogs inhabit large abandoned council estates. As I watched the dogs going about their day, playing, defending their turf, or napping I was not prepared for the very unexpected and unsettling ending.

I have been a big fan of Phil Mulloy’s films for a long time. Phil knows exactly how to go right to the heart of the dark side of human nature. His films take no prisoners when it comes to portrayals of contemporary social, political, and religious values in humorous, often shocking ways. The Christies series of short films which were eventually collected into three feature films called The Christies Trilogy is a perfect example of Phil’s unique caustic humor.

Phil’s latest film Endgame definitely pushes satirically grotesque limits of taste. Phil’s “heroes” Richard and George like to play war games over the weekend to relax after a tough week at the office. As the festival catalogue says “The dispassionate atmosphere and minimalistic style with which the growing brutality is handled slowly wipes the smile from your face, before making sure that it doesn’t remain”.

Endgame won the Animafest Grand Prix qualifying the film for the Oscar race as well as the Cartoon d’Or. I would love to be a fly on the wall as some voting members of the Academy watch this film. In bestowing the award the jury said that the film is “Bold, sly, and witty, but ultimately chilling,” and that sums up Endgame perfectly.

All of the films in the festival were not doom and gloom. One Hell of a Plan makes me laugh every time that I think about it. Two hapless burglars hatch a foolproof plan to rob a little old lady of her life’s savings which is buried under her bedroom floor. The robbers release dozens of cats into the neighborhood which starts all of the dogs barking to cover the noise of their pick ax digging in the bedroom. They finally manage to dig up the money but then everything snowballs out of control and turns into the worst night the burglars ever spent and gives new meaning to the old saying “Raining cats and dogs”.

One Hell of a Plan was directed by the dynamitic Folimage duo Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli. The pair created the 2012 Oscar nominated feature A Cat in Paris. Felicioli also worked as a production designer on the 2001 feature Raining Cats and Frogs directed by Jacques-Remy Girard, a film I still enjoy watching.

Not all of the action took place in the screening rooms. For the fifth year in a row the festival partnered with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MSU) to present a selection of site specific animations on the museum’s media façade. The thirty minute program of fourteen short films ran continuously from 8PM to midnight from May 24th until the end of the festival. The program ran the gamut from Petris, the tale of two dogs who are looking for love by playing Tetris by Damir Grbanovic and Lea Vicko of Slovenia to The Birth of Fascism by Croatian Slobodan Tomic. He created the feeling of loneliness and anxiety that fascist terror creates. Tomic skillfully utilized a series of animated sequences within the architectural verticals of the museum which was one of the rules of the competition. He received the award for the Best Site Specific Work from the festival.

New Animation Books

I was honored to be invited to conduct the book presentations of Olivier Cotte’s and Corrie Francis Parks’ recently published books. Olivier wears many different hats as a film director, writer, graphic novel author, and animation historian. He is known for such books as Secrets of Oscar-Winning Animation: Behind the Scenes of 13 Classic Short Animations. In Zagreb he introduced his latest book 100 Ans de Cinema D’Animation – La Fabuleuse Aventure du Film D’Animation A Travers Le Monde (100 Years of Animated Films: the fabulous adventure of animated film around the world). It is a technical and historical worldwide encyclopedia of animated film from its inception to the present day. The book has over 500 pages, numerous color illustrations and retails for 32 Euros from Dunod Press in Paris. At present the book is only available in French.

Corrie Francis Parks presented Fluid Frames: Experimental Animation With Sand, Clay, Paint and Pixels. In Fluid Frames she walks the reader through the process of setting up a studio, selecting, and working with materials and combining the physical under-the-camera production with compositing and effects to enhance the animation. The 239 page fully illustrated book is published by CRC Press. A hardback copy is 75£ and is also available in paper back for 33.99£.

Since working together on the film Books On Books, Chinese artist/animator and rapper Lei Lei and Nik Phelps had wanted to do a live performance based on it. Lei Lei created the images and Nik did the music for the film. They finally got the opportunity to do it one night at the festival club.

Other Events

Books On Books is Lei Lei’s tribute to his father. In 1988 when China opened up to the rest of the world his father published Book Cover Collections in the West. Many outstanding concepts of book cover designs were introduced into China in this book which has influenced young Chinese designers ever since. For the performance Nik remixed the music he composed for the film and Lei Lei VJ remixed his collage images. As the images were projected and the music played, Lei Lei rapped and Nik played live.

Many animators also play musical instruments so the festival night club was packed on Animator’s Jam Night. Artistic Director Daniel Suljic is an animator as well as a dj, song writer, and musician who plays in two bands. He took to the stage that night to play guitar and sing.

Traditionally one of the highlights of the festival is the picnic. Guests were treated to drinks and a delicious meal on the grounds of a picturesque guest house with a fabulous view across the surrounding countryside.

For the third year Animafest Scanner ran concurrently with the festival. The two day symposium aims to create an inter-action of theatrical and practical discourse and to stimulate exchange between film makers and scholars. The symposium was grouped into five topics: “Animation Awards,” “Animation in the Raw,” “The Zagreb School of Animation,” “Current Trends in Contemporary Animation,” and “Animation and Games.”

“Animation in the Raw” explored the works of filmmakers that are consciously operating against the so-called “rules of good film making” in animation. Tess Martin, an independent animator from Seattle who lives in The Netherlands, talked about the fact that most animators in the Pacific Northwest are self-taught rather than the product of well-known animation schools. She also stressed that unlike in Europe where there is government support for animation, there is none in the US.

At the closing night ceremony a special award was given for the Best Animation School to the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. The award given by the Student Film Competition Selection Committee was presented for the school’s openness to new media practices and techniques while fostering creative animation. Read more about the festival at: www.animafest.hr

READ NANCY’S REPORT ON The 7th Annual Golden Kuker International Festival of Animated Film 9 – 15 May 2016 - Sofia, Bulgaria at www.animationfest-bg.eu


Newsletter Editor: Karl Cohen
Contributors include Nancy Denney-Phelps
Next month’s cover illustration will be by Ricci Carrasquillo
Proofreader: Pete Davis
Mailing Crew: Denise McEvoy, Dan Steves, Shirley Smith
Special thanks to the National Film Board of Canada, Marty McNamara, the Walt Disney Family Museum for our Oct. event; Nancy Denney-Phelps for representing our chapter on the international ASIFA board, to our webmaster Dan Steves who also keeps our mailing list and a lot of other things and to our treasurer Karen Lithgow.
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