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CINANIMA: A Festival by the Sea and 'Home Town' to Hiroshima

Cinanima, Portugal's international animated film festival, is reviewed by Sayoko Kinoshita.

Inside the theater at CINANIMA `97. Photo by Thomas Basgier. © Animation World Network.

Held from November 11-16, in Espinho, Portugal, CINANIMA (Festival Internacional de Cinema de Animação) celebrated its 21st anniversary this year which was marked by a record number of high quality films participating in both screenings and competition. Among screenings, competitions and an exhibition of Portuguese works coupled with a debate hoping to foster Portuguese animation productions, CINANIMA also held four retrospectives. One program brought attention to the fight against racism while another was dedicated to Finland. Bob Godfrey (U.K.), honorary festival chair, was also honored, as was Sayoko Kinoshita's late husband, Renzo Kinoshita (Japan). Ms. Kinoshita relates for us the importance of this festival to her. A list of winners follows.

Whenever I attend CINANIMA, on the last day of the Festival, I always feel like I do not want to leave, and that I cannot wait to come back again in the near future. All of the Festival staff members have always been very kind and charming throughout the event's 21 year history. The people welcome us warmly. So, whenever I come back, I always feel glad and satisfied to be returning.

CINANIMA festival director Antnio Gaio (left) speaks with festival guests. Photo by Thomas Basgier. © Animation World Network

Our History with CINANIMA

Renzo and I first met António Gaio, the Festival Director, in the late `70s when he was still working at the city bank. We went to the bank, and were at a loss when the officer told us that regrettably they could not exchange Yen in Espinho. Then a smiling gentleman came to the counter, and while looking at the Japanese Yen bills with interest, said that he would privately exchange the money, keeping the Yen bills for his collection! It was Mr. Gaio. Later, we came to know each other more through his daughter who was working as a volunteer for the Festival. We were invited to his house for a delicious dinner and also admired the beautiful lacework art made by Mrs. Gaio. Another thing we were surprised to see was Mr. Gaio's comic book collection of the world. He showed us so many interesting Portuguese comic books that we even purchased some in Lisbon after the Festival. Since then, when we attend CINANIMA, it has become our pleasure to bring several Japanese comic books to Mr. Gaio as a small gift. Of course, by now, his daughter is married and has children of her own but I imagine that her house is nicely decorated with her mother's lacework.

From that time on, Renzo and I were not only making animation films but were also trying to create an international animation festival in Japan in order to better our field. Thus, our experience of participating in the heart-warming Festival, held in such a nice town like Espinho, greatly encouraged us to realize our dream. At that time, I never thought that Mr. Gaio would be the future Festival Director, and he too, I suppose, did not imagine that we were going to actualize the Hiroshima festival after many years of effort.

CINANIMA's Inspiration

In the past, we always attended CINANIMA as filmmakers, taking our new film with us. Renzo passed away early this year, and I was very pleased when they kindly held a retrospective of our films during CINANIMA `97. In the program, I especially included Geba Geba Show Time, a comical animation that is popular in Japan. I was happy to see the audience laughing, children and adults alike.

The Children's Program at CINANIMA always plays to an audience teeming with children. The auditorium is filled with their laughter and excited cries and I always feel as if I am sitting in the middle of a bull ring. I am sure that any filmmaker would find it rewarding to sit among them.

Whenever I attend CINANIMA, I recall the innocent feeling I had when we realized the first Hiroshima Festival in 1985. I feel like recovering my pure heart and attitude. I believe it is because the organizers and staff members of CINANIMA really love the art of animation, and welcome the filmmakers warmly, with all their heart. In CINANIMA, all kinds of animation is appreciated in the same forum: animation for children, commercial work, experimental fine art animation, etc. All are loved by the audience.

I can say with confidence that CINANIMA is one of the ideal Festivals for me. The competition programs are full of the most recent works which I have never seen before. In town, many nice restaurants welcome us with delicious wine and foods. There, we can easily enjoy meeting with new friends. Espinho was one of the towns in which Renzo wanted to live. I hope that I can make Hiroshima feel the same way for the animation people of the world.

Sayoko Kinoshita is director of the Hiroshima International Animation Festival in Japan.

CINANIMA '97 honorary festival chair, Bob Godfrey. Photo by Thomas Basgier. © Animation World Network.

GRAND PRIZE CINANIMA '97: The Mermaid by Alexander Petrov (Russia). Jury comment: "The Jury decided to award this prize, unanimous, for the beauty of the film and the brilliant animation, but also for the career and work of the director."

CATEGORY A (less than 6 minutes): L'Homme aux Bras Ballants by Laurent Gorgiard (France). CATEGORY B (between 6 and 13 minutes): Death and the Mother by Ruth Lingford (United Kingdom).

CATEGORY C (between 13 and 26 minutes): Famous Fred by Joanna Quinn (United Kingdom).

CATEGORY D (between 26 and 52 minutes) Honorable Mention: Flatworld by Daniel Greaves (United Kingdom).

CATEGORY E (Feature Film): The Blue Arrow by Enzo D' Alo (Italy).

Jury comment: "So that quality animation for children continues to be made."

CATEGORY F (Publicity and Institutional):Ottawa Signal Film by Marv Newland (Canada).

CATEGORY G (First Film): The Man in the Lower Left Hand Corner of the Photograph by Robert Morgan (United Kingdom).

Honorable Mentions: Cheri viens voir by Claire Fouquet (France). Dead End Town by Philippe Capart (Belgium).

CINANIMA '97 guests gather in the lobby. Photo by Thomas Basgier. © Animation World Network.

CATEGORY H (Didactic and Information): Words by George Geertsen (Canada).

Honorable Mentions: Gatofone by Pedro Serrazina (Portugal). Talking about Sex: A Guide for Families by Candy Kugel/Vincent Cafarelli (United States).

CATEGORY I (Title Sequences for TV and Cinema): Love in a Bottle by Jane Hawes (Sweden).

CATEGORY J (Series) Gogs by Deiniol Morris/Michael Mort (United Kingdom).

PRIZE OF THE CITY OF ESPINHO - JURY'S SPECIAL AWARD Jury comment: "For the quantity and excellent quality of the films presented in this edition, the Jury decided to award this prize to the Royal College of Art."

PRIZE MIO JOS ABEL (Best European film - animation quality): Deviant by Eoin Clarke (United Kingdom). Spring by Silke Parzich (Germany).

PRIZE YOUNG PORTUGUESE DIRECTOR: Transformations by Andre Marques (Portugal).

PRIZE ALVES COSTA (awarded by the journalists present at this festival): The Mermaid by Alexander Petrov (Russia).

PRIZE RTP (awarded by the Portuguese State TV Channel): La vieille dame et les pigeons by Sylvain Chomet (France).

PUBLIC PRIZE OF THE AUDIENCE: Flatworld by Daniel Greaves (United Kingdom).

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