Cardiff: A Difficult Year To Be Any Festival
A Good Time For All
Despite the almost continual rain and clouds, the festival goers had a great time. I heard several times, "We didn't get back until 5:30 a.m.!" However, as far as professionals went, the festival really didn't get going until Thursday and by Saturday afternoon most people were beginning their trek back to London. Based on my experience with Los Angeles' World Animation Celebration, placing this event in London would not help attendance. Folks in L.A. tended to keep getting distracted by work during WAC and some were never able to venture out of the office for even an afternoon. The cost of passes and the lack of day passes were cited by some as being the reason for not attending.
Everyone had fun at the various pubs and restaurants located in central Cardiff, but the festival was almost devoid of large parties, another victim of the recruiting hiatus. The closing night party was the traditional day-glo paint bash thrown by Nickelodeon and Klasky Csupo. While still the only evening party of the event, the main room was too hot, loud and smoky to be able to speak to anyone and didn't have the vitality (sorry, I couldn't resist) that the same party had at Cardiff and WAC two years ago. Still the students I saw were dancing the night away and seemed quite pleased.
All in all, as I climbed onto the train to Manchester for a delightful day visiting Barry Purves, Cosgrove Hall and Mackinnon and Saunders, I thought it had been a productive festival. While the contacts were not chock-a-block and every film was not new, I felt that I really got to spend time with and speak to the people I met, and not just hurriedly exchange business cards. (Sometimes though since the professionals were only jetting in for a day or two, one really had to grab them when one saw them.) Perhaps this is the benefit of having so many animation festivals in a year. Not everyone was there--some were too busy working, some didn't want to make the trip, others were just tired of festivals--but frankly, it can be overwhelming and frustrating to not be able to see everyone who is present. I think Cardiff, in the face of Annecy's announcement to go annual in the year of Zagreb, Ottawa and Hiroshima, came out okay. No, the world didn't show up, but there were still plenty of people to meet and things to see and learn anyway, in this important world animation community.
Good job Jane. We'll see what another two years brings us.
Heather Kenyon is editor-in-chief of Animation World Magazine.
A Good Time For All