The Animator’s Picnic is inspired event programming – stop all proceedings, go to a park, eat, drink, see and be seen. On this unseasonably beautiful Autumn day, as I gaze out on the crowd of young animators, I can’t help but think…I feel so old. Nothing like a large gathering of energetic young hipsters, free from the burdens of metabolic decline and hearing loss, to remind you just what a sorry-ass geez you are. The crowd gets younger, the walk to the Bytowne Cinema gets longer and no amount of Advil or Scotch can change that. Sometimes I wonder, if I start talking to a young female animation student, am I perceived as someone who has something useful to say, or just a perve? Can one be both?
I know it must be Ottawa Animation Festival time because it’s been roughly a year since my last verbal manhandling by an airport customs agent. Happy Anniversary! I seem to be a magnet for every disaffected flak vested agent looking to brush up on their 12-step time mismanagement drill.
I recently was introduced to Action On Film International Film Festival located in Pasadena by my friend, Alex Ballar.
US networks like CN, Nick and Disney have been producing creator driven shows for years. With few exceptions, it is a fairly new approach abroad. At the Annecy International Animated Film Festival this year, it was apparent that this method is starting to catch on abroad and regional channels from US studios like CN and Disney have been leading the charge.
The 2011 Annecy International Animation Festival was so full of films, business, friends, special events, and parties this year that it was impossible to do and see everything. Here's a breakdown of a crazy week by the lake...
So what exactly have we learned at MIFA? Have we gained something meaningful? I have to admit I need more time to answer such a question, to see if an event of this kind brings along something worth the effort invested into just coming over. After all, if the animation business is about relationships / partnerships, then there needs to be a lot more work done after the event beside the initial quick flirting.
There were hundreds of games on display at E3 this year, but we’ve selected five titles that stand out from the crowd. For attendees at the show, these are some of the big games that people will be talking about long after the glitz and glamour of the convention is over.
Another great year of E3 in downtown at the Staples Convention Center. Lots of interesting announcements and events this year. The art exhibition “Into the Pixel” continues to chronicle the ascent of console game graphics from popular culture and street cred to the rare refined air of original paintings inspired by well-known games. It’s a national sentiment, even the National Endowment of the Arts and the Smithsonian have gotten into the act with shows centered around “the art of video games” (http://americanart.si.edu/exhibitions/archive/2012/games/).
You may find a trade show to be a common gathering event that any industry has. But what I saw and experienced at MIFA is that this gathering is more than unique. How friendly and open minded everybody is, considering that most of the people are competitors one way or another. It’s actually pretty unbelievable.
On Thursday, June 2, 2011, I attended Kidscreen’s day long “everything you wanted to know about apps but were afraid to ask” workshop. It was great! Not only did it cover the basics, the companies attending and panelists were top-notch and the focus was on making better apps for our kids audience. Held at the beautiful Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, the group was small and intimate and there was plenty of time to network.The attendees were an interesting mishmash as we all convened from our different backgrounds—kids programming, gaming, educators, researchers, etc.—to learn about this new, historically expanding space. How does it work? Who are the best companies in the field? What are the best games? What are the problems facing this new fantastically fast-growing field?
First time travelling to Annecy, a place that has such a positive canotation just through people talking about how it was like when they visited the Festival, that thinking about coming myself was tempting for quite some time already. Now I took the chance. We have arrived late on Tuesday, June 7th taking it slowly from sunny bohemian Prague to a slightly rainy, but still pretty warm, French town on a lake under the Alps. That’s one nice and picturesque idea to explore this week.
25 hours after leaving my comfy LA bed, I’ve arrived in Annecy. The calm is in direct contrast to my second flight, from DC to Geneva. Sprawled within 5 feet of my seat were not 1 but 2 families, 6 kids total, 4 parents, 1 nanny and 1 set of grandparents. In an age of fundamental change in airline comfort, service and safety, where the indignities of modern travel begin when you undress to get through security, one thing seems perfectly clear – kids either should be confined in storage or not be allowed on planes at all.
This year the sun was shining down brightly on the Trickfilm Festival in Stuttgart in more than one way. Outside, the sky was a beautiful blue and in the screening rooms the films were as brilliant as the sun. While the competition programs were strong and the feature films in competition offered some interesting surprises, and the highlight of the festival for me this year was the large number of special presentation screenings.
My flight to Geneva leaves tomorrow morning at 7:50, an ungodly hour to begin 24+ hours of delirium shuffling through airports, getting groped by stink-eyed security drones, squeezing into airline seats designed for anorexics, all the while wondering why I’m not home asleep in bed, or watching Archer reruns while sipping a delicious Kamikazee.
The debut edition of BE THERE! CORFU ANIMATION FESTIVAL was the first animation festival to be held on this beautiful Greek Island. A large audience from throughout the island enjoyed a wide array of programs and workshops as well as the opportunity to meet Greek and international artists from the world of animation.
This year Anima Brussels (4 through 13 March 20) pulled out all the stops to celebrate the festival’s 30th Anniversary. In addition to the seven programs of World Shorts in competition and numerous feature films in and out of competition, there was an outstanding roster of who’s who from the world of animation. Read all about this great event!
Nancy Denney-Phelps travels to Norway to take part in the Fredrikstad Animation Festival. The event has an emphasis on screening Nordic animation but offers so much more. Along with Nordic short film and student competitions and screenings of animation aimed at the family audience, two days were devoted to seminars with international guest speakers from all branches of the animation world.
I first met the organizers of the KLIK Animation Festival at the Annecy Animation Festival a couple of years ago and they assured me that their festival is fun, fun, fun. When they invited me to Amsterdam to be on the Short Films and Political Animation jury, I jumped at the opportunity and it did turn out to be some serious fun.
The second day of CTN Expo was overflowing with interest for the informative panels, some of which I couldn't even get into, so I perused the exhibition floor and walked the lobby, making new friends and running into old ones.
The CTN Expo has returned to Burbank for the second year. The conference has expanded a great deal from last year's event. It also has seen an explosion of attendees, which pushed off the scheduled start times of all the events as the eager guest were being registered. This created some bumps along the road for the two-year old event, which is again valiantly put together by Tina Price and her tiny staff with help from a host of volunteers.
No other festival I’m aware of consistently generates as much controversy as does the Ottawa Festival. People may scratch their heads at the judging decisions in Annecy (insert favorite French joke here), but in Ottawa, beer-fueled grumbling and incessant whining are as much a part of the annual festivities as head-scratching competition screening introductions and the cavalcade of toothless panhandlers lining Rue Rideau.
Saturday morning. Sitting in P.J.’s, the coffee shop around the corner from the Shaw Center. Except for a handful of sessions today, Red Stick ended Friday night with the awarding of the Golden Baton. The winner (of the three candidates discussed yesterday) was Chris O’Neill’s elegiac (how many times to you get a chance to use that word?) Lilac Wine. Earlier in the fest O’Neill had described his video as the remembrance of loved one who was no longer around, whether via the end of a love affair, or death.
Whoops, my bad: what I called Red Stick’s ‘Best of the Fest’ award yesterday is actually their “Golden Baton” prize, and I saw all three films last night. In addition to the music video Lilac Wine, the two other contenders were a Hitchcockian spy spoof (Pigeon: Impossible) and the student effort Blackface, a mystical jungle tale.
I arrive at Baton Rouge’s Belle Hotel, which until April was the Sheraton Baton Rouge. (BR from here on, saves space.) The hotel’s terrible online reviews don’t seem to apply, as the place is actually quite nice. (Wish the internet service was a little more steady, but I’m online now – for the moment…)
The closing ceremonies bring an end to another Ottawa International Animation Festival. And while I await my connecting flight in Newark for the final leg of my journey home, I linger just a bit longer on the images in my mind of all the wonderous activities of the past week. Though I was constantly too warm or utterly frozen and could never get comfortable wearing layers and a heavy jacket, I was able to stop griping often enough to have a thoroughly great time. Here are some images from the closing.