Brisbane Animation Festival
Key festival organizers, from left to right: Jane Creasy (Festival Coordinator), Peter Moyes (Festival Coordinator), Darren Hughes (President, Queensland Animators Group), Clare Kitson (Channel 4 UK), Max Bannah (independent animator), and Jonathon Dawson (Associate Professor, Pacific School of Screen Production).
There were some noticeable gaps in this year's inaugural festival. Oddly, there was no Asian animation, which has a high level of significance in the aesthetics of contemporary Australian work. The emphasis on the television sites of exhibition made the sessions perhaps too decontextualized; as a result, we were left with images without placing where they have come from and why they were grouped together. Future programming may benefit from a more designed pattern of selection than how they were exhibited for the various television programs. Although there was no ghettoization of Australian and local animation, there was also no session which specifically highlighted its recent achievements. Organizers, including Darren Hughes of the Queensland Animators Group, indicated this would definitely be part of the plan for the next festival.
What made the festival doubly enjoyable for many participants was the National Animation Conference held at Griffith University on the Friday and Saturday. The conference was decidedly production and exhibition oriented and allowed for some worthwhile discussions of the transforming commercial environment in animation.
The Brisbane Animation Festival has all of the ingredients of becoming a major event on the international and national calendar. Watch for it in future and plan for a visit to the Antipodes with Brisbane Australia as your gateway in 1998.
David Marshall is the Director of the Media and Cultural Studies Centre at the University of Queensland in Brisbane and writes and lectures on television, film and popular culture. He is the author of Celebrity and Power (University of Minnesota) to be released in March 1997.