By Nancy Phelps
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.
The first two mornings were devoted to The Kids, Be There! Special screenings and workshops were designed especially for school age children and their teachers. Tomas Giovanis the Greek illustrator, animator, and comic book artist, better known as Tomek gave a special workshop designed specifically for young would be animators called Animation Is All Around Us. He also designed the festival poster.
Programs for older audiences got underway on the second afternoon with two presentations of works from the students at Ionian University. These were followed by two of the four programs that made up the short animation competition plus a screening of Graduate Films in competition. The highlight of the evening was the Greek premier of Chico and Rita. Friday evening following the official festival Opening Ceremony, the audience was treated to the Oscar nominated film The Illusionist.
Zbigniew Rybczynski was the official festival guest. Zibigniew presented a workshop on The Art of Making Modern Image Creation. The Academy Award winning (Tango, 1981) Polish director’s film The Orchestra was screened along with Oscar nominated British animator Barry Purvis’ Rigoletto in a tribute to the marriage of classical music and animation.
Canada was the featured country, and there was a screening of a program from the Ottawa International Animation Festival. The creative, zany worlds of Richard Condie and Cordell Baker was paid tribute with Which Way to Winnipeg?, a program of their films.
A highlight of the festival was the two screenings of work by the renowned Czech master of stop motion animation Jiri Barta. A video interview with Barta gave the audience a personal look into the life and work of the acclaimed director.
The Closing Ceremony was highlighted by the jury awards. Animator, director Stelios Polychronakis, Jury President, was joined by Ionian University Associate Professor Marianna Strapatsaki, and Peggy Carajopoulou-Vavali, chief executive, PCV S.A. to award the Grand Prix to The Man Who Slept by Ines Sedan of France. Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage, by French animator Bastien Dubois won the Jury Prize. Michel Korb took the Best Music in an Animated Film Award home to France for the score he wrote for Joanna Lurie’s The Silence Beneath the Bark.
The jury stated that their decisions were unanimous. They chose to award films “that used the expressive means of animation in the best possible way to handle universal topics, treated in a sensitive, always contemporary and poetic manner”.
Ben Cady, a student at University of Wales, Newport, received the Graduation Film Award for The Goat and the Well. Jury President Magdalena Sebestova along with Christian Papas and Leonidas Koufalis awarded a special mention to Echo by Belgian student Dennis Van Den Bergh. The Audience Award was voted to the film O from Greek animator E. F. Ioannidis. The ceremony was followed with a closing party.
Be There! Received support from the Municipality of Corfu and Ionian University. With continued support from them and the enthusiastic audiences that attend the 2011 edition of the festival, Be There! 2012 should be even more exciting.
You can read all about the 2011 festival and see photos at their website: