An unforgettable edition of Anima has come to an end, as much for the quality of its program and guests as for its profusion of spectators. The organizers have estimated a 30 percent rise in attendance this year compared to last year's figures.
Anima, the Brussels Animation Film Festival, ended on Saturday February 28 in great spirits and after nine days, full of discoveries and meetings on every floor of the Flagey building. An abundant program, numerous activities and a vast international competition confirmed, if there was ever any need to do so, the appeal of a festival that is one of the leading European showcases for world animation.
The French short SKHIZEIN by Jeremy Clapin walked away with Anima 2009's Grand Prix for an animated short film, with a prize of 3,000 Euros, offered by the Gouvernement de la Region de Bruxelles Capitale along with a grant to use Toon Boom professional animation software. The best short film prize went to KUDAN by Taku Kimura from Japan, and the jury awarded three special mentions to Bill Plympton's HOT DOG (USA), LIES by Jonas Odell (USA) and DINNER IN LISBON by Andre Carrilho (Portugal).
The international jury awarded the best student short film to KEITH REYNOLDS CAN'T MAKE IT TONIGHT by Felix Massey (U.K.). Best music video went to "No Place Like Home" by Rosto (The Netherlands) and best commercial to Tiji TV's LE VOYAGE by Yoann Lemoine (France). The children's award for best short film went to WALLACE AND GROMIT: A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH by Nick Park (U.K.).
SKHIZEIN and WALLACE AND GROMIT: A MATTER OF LOAF AND DEATH also received the audience short film awards, while the best feature award went to SUMMER DAYS WITH COO by Keiichi Hara (Japan) and THE PIANO FOREST took the audience award for best children's feature.
The national competition jury awarded the Grand Prix of the French Community to LA VITA NUOVA by Christophe Gautry and Arnaud Demuynck, the Sabam award to LA SVEDESE by Nicolas Liguori, the SACD award to ZACHTE PLANTEN by Emma De Swaef and the TVPaint award for a student film to MILOVAN CIRCUS by Gerlando Infuso.
With its national competition, panorama and the much appreciated "open screening" sessions, exhibitions such as "From Strip to Screen," "Panique au Village" and Kinky & Cosy, along with the presence of DreamWall, Victor Studio, Walking the Dog and Digital Graphics, Belgian animation was pushed to the forefront over the nine days.
The new "Animatin" screenings and the afternoon sessions boosted the young Anima audience, not to mention the many evening "sold out" screenings, which all beg the question: Where is the crisis in animation? Of course, it's too early to give an answer, as all the productions presented at Anima were already underway before the start of the downswing this autumn. But the one thing that is certain is the ever-growing public's desire to learn while having fun and thrills off the beaten tracks.
The success of Master Classes by Bill Plympton and Kyle Balda and the packed out Futuranima conferences go to prove that although Anima is a festival for the general public, it is also a major appointment for animation professionals.
Make a date for the next Anima in Flagey, Brussels from February 12-20, 2010.