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A celebration of people and animation

So what is it about I Castelli Animati that makes it one of the most loved animation festivals in the world? The answer is simple... and evident from the first moments of arrival. It's the people.

By Sharon Katz

So what is it about I Castelli Animati that makes it one of the most loved animation festivals in the world? The answer is simple... and evident from the first moments of arrival. It's the people. Luca Raffaelli, the artistic director, is a warm, intelligent man who is captivated by animation. The author of two books on the subject, his delight in cartoons and animation shapes the overall feel of this festival. Emanuela Marrocco is the operations director. Thanks to her and her hardworking team of Liz Fairs, Sabrina Perucca, Maurizio Quattrini, and Vincenzo Silvestri, the festival runs smoothly. There are 14, count 'em 14, international competitions, though each one runs no longer than 45 minutes, and many half that so there's time to really absorb the films. There are the Italian national competitions, workshops - highlights this year are Nick Park and Peter Lord (UK), Gitanjali Rao, Studio Misseri, Priit Pjarn (Estonia), Jim Capobianco (USA) - retrospectives, special screenings, showcase screenings, etc. etc. In other words, it's a packed schedule.

Peter Lord dances the night away

The festival takes place in one central locale which means lots of intermingling with fellow filmmakers. Meals are taken at one of two nearby restaurants, so we eat together as well and discussions continue uninterrupted over fabulous wines and plates loaded with traditional Italian cuisine. This is a very human festival, where people count for everything, in a country where joy and the sense are paramount (there's a candelabra in the shower of my hotel room!) Bring you heart and your soul ... and be prepared to enjoy yourself.

Sharon Katz is a visual artist working in still and animated imagery. Her award winning animations screen at art and film festivals around the world, and her drawings and paintings are held in art collections in Canada and abroad. You can visit her website at www.sharonkatz.net/about and reach her by email at katz@sharonkatz.net.

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