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Celebrating animation again after 5 years
ANIMATION Nation returns to Singapore next month after a five-year hiatus - complete with cartoon features, shorts, seminars and workshops. Founded back in 2004 by the Singapore Film Society, the last edition of the festival was held in 2011.
With five screenings, two talks and two panel discussions planned, the works to look out for are the creations of critically acclaimed and award-winning animator Adam Elliot, who will be in Singapore to present the films.
The Melbourne-based artist's works to be screened include Harvie Krumpet, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2004.
It's the story of a man born with perpetual bad luck, and Elliot's character biographies are done with clay in stop-motion animation. He coined the word "Clayography" for his style.
His latest is the 22-minute Ernie Biscuit, that aired last year and will get its South-east Asian premiere in Singapore. It's a story of a deaf Parisian taxidermist who falls in love with a blind Australian whittler.
Full of energy
Animation Nation director Michael Lim says he met Elliot at Tropfest in Penang two years ago, and the animator was full of energy and very approachable, with a great sense of humour, as evidenced in his films.
"He's an absolute creative, and I had long wanted to bring him to Singapore and celebrate his achievements . . . and with his latest film release, it seemed most appropriate," he says.
Lim is also the founder of Singapore Special Effects and Animation group and board member of the Singapore International Film Festival.
He points out that animation has become huge in the last five years, especially as China and India got into the act and are producing their own works now.
"There's a huge appetite and it's growing," he adds.
The festival focusing on animation films showcases independent creations that aren't made by the major studios; hence their lower visibility. "So these are often not viewed in cinemas but we can see through these films that animation is not just for kids, and that they've enriched moviegoer's viewing options, plus also reached a maturity in their storytelling," Lim says.
The festival will open with Brazilian film Boy and the World (O Menino E Mundo) by Alê Abreu on Oct 13. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature this year. The colourful piece depicts the wonders and struggles of the modern world as seen through the eyes of a young boy.
The Singapore shorts section is a 56-minute compilation of animated short films displaying a variety of stories and styles by local students. A number of these films were finalists at this year's National Youth Film Awards held at *SCAPE. Most of this selection will also be screened in public for the first time.
With support from Alliance Française, the closing film is a French-Belgian-Japanese animated film directed by Dutch-British animator Michaël Dudok de Wit. The Red Turtle (La Tortue Rouge) is a co-production between Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli, and tells the story of a man who tries to escape from a deserted island and battles a giant turtle. It won the special prize in the Un Certain Regard category of the Cannes Film Festival this year.
Future of animation
Un Certain Regard is typically devoted to films - but rarely animation - that are more adventurous than the films in Cannes' main competition, with an emphasis on young and first-time filmmakers.
"Besides the talks and screenings scheduled, it is important to look forward to the future of animation, both locally and internationally," adds Lim.
- Animation Nation runs from Oct 13-16. Tickets are S$16 for the opening and closing films, and S$14 for all other screenings at The Projector. The programmes at *SCAPE are priced at S$5 for each day. Ticketing details available at www.sfs.org.sg/animation or at The Projector and Alliance Francaise websites. For enquiries, call 9017-0160.