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Brussels Turns 20!

The Brussels Cartoon and Animated Film Festival celebrated its 20th anniversary. Join us for a special photo gallery of twenty years.

The 20th anniversary of the Brussels Cartoon and Animated Film Festival (Festival du dessin animé et du film d'animation) was celebrated February 21 -- March 3, 2001. One of the longest festivals of the year Brussels is unique in the amount of programming it offers for both locals and professionals.

The official selection and retrospective screenings take place mostly in the evenings and the afternoon screenings are devoted to the local school kids who flock to the cinema in big groups. Although not competitive, the festival has an official selection for both feature and short animations. Out of the 575 entries for the short film section the festival chose 114. These films came from 20 countries, but are mostly from Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. Eight feature animations were presented during the festival as well. The most interesting was Optimus Mundus, a 60-minute Russian film made to celebrate Moscow's 850th anniversary. It includes 55 short pieces done by an international group of animators. It is a true fireworks display of styles, techniques and stories. The feature film program included: The Emperor's New Groove by Mark Dindal (USA); Heavy Metal 2000 by Michaël Coldewey and Michel Lemire (Canada/Germany); My Neighbours The Yamadas by Isao Takahata (Japan); and Otesanek by Jan Svankmajer (Czech Republic).

In addition to the feature program, the festival presented six international programs of short films, two international programs of student films and two programs of Belgian films. The broad variety of retrospectives included a tribute to New Zealand filmmaker Len Lye, a focus on Australian animation, Norwegian Inger Lise Hansen, masters of clay animation and animated memories from the past 20 years of the festival. In addition, French studio Folimage was presented in an exhibition.

The "making of" section of the festival featured Nick Ranieri (Walt Disney), chief animator on Cuzco in The Emperor's New Groove; Philippe Glukman (PDI) on the upcoming Shrek and Neil Crepela (The Secret Lab), visual effects supervisor on Dinosaur.

The 20th Brussels Cartoon and Animated Film Festival also handed out its top European awards. There were prizes only for national films, because the international official selection is non-competitive. Because Brussels is the capital of Belgium, a country with two separate language-based communities, there are, of course, two national Grand Prixs. The prize of the French-speaking community went to Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar for their film Panique À La Cuisine and the Dutch-speaking Flemish community prize went to Aljosja Roels for the film Plasticrash. Both prizes were 100,000 Belgian francs (US$2,320). The Brussels Festival is also one of the partner festivals of Cartoon, the animation platform of the European Union. Cartoon's prestigious annual Cartoon d'Or prize is given to one of the European winners from the partner festivals each year. Because there is no international competition, the Brussels Festival names the candidates itself. The films named to compete for the next Cartoon d'Or in September are: Chicken Kiev by Thomas Stellmach (Germany), Father And Daughter by Michael Dudok de Wit (Britain), Le Processus De Xavier by l'Hermuzière and Philippe Grammaticopoulos (France), Le Puits by Jérôme Boulbès (France) and the two regional winners mentioned above.

To conclude the festival, for the second time, animation professionals met for three days for Anima, an event held March 1 3. This 4-day industry event featured various conferences, screenings and panel discussions. Topics included: Sound And Music In Animation, with lectures by Canadian composer Normand Roger; Animation Effects, with guest speaker Kim Keukeleire, an animator for Clayart, Will Vinton and on Aardman's Chicken Run; Writing For Animation - Authors' Rights; and a round table featuring animators working abroad.

We are proud to feature courtesy of The Brussels Cartoon and Animated Film Festival, a gallery of photos from their twenty years of putting together amazing programs, conferences and lectures, and social events. Congratulations Brussels! View the gallery photos on the following pages.

Heikki Jokinen is a freelance critic and journalist based in Helsinki, Finland. He specializes in comics, short films and animation. He is chairman of the Finnish Art Critics' Association and the former president of ASIFA Nordic, the ASIFA regional body for the five Nordic and three Baltic countries.

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