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ANIMA 2009 February 20 through the 28th Brussels, Belgium

I always look forward to ANIMA BRUSSELS , not just because it is in Brussels which is only a 30 minute train ride from my home in Gent, but because it is a wonderful opportunity to see a wide array of animation.  The Festival, housed in the beautiful Art Deco Flagey building, takes place February 20 through the 28th, Carnival week vacation in the city, and features programs for all ages.From Hayao Miyazaki’s new masterpiece,  Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, which I was lucky enough to see earlier this year to a tribute to American film maker Ralph Bakshi there will be something for everyone at ANIMA BRUSSELS.   Bakshi created the first X rated animated film with his 1972 adaptation of R. Crumb’s emblematic underground comic strip Fritz the Cat.

Fritz the Cat

One of my favorite events is the Parents/ Children’s Party which takes place at 11 AM on Sunday the 22nd.  Tiny tots, young film aficionados and their parents are treated to a lovely breakfast in the upstairs Studio 4 followed by a special screening of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.   If you have youngsters in your family, or can borrow one for a few hours, this is an event not to be missed.

Bill Plympton, icon of independent animation, will be a special festival guest and Nik has been invited to introduce Nina Paley’s award winning Sita Sings the Blues.  He will also give a question and answer session following the screenings.  You can be sure that Nik will also play some music in the festival bar also.

It wouldn’t be ANIMA without the International Competition with over 200 short, feature, commercial and music video films.  I don’t want to give away all of the surprises but if you are anywhere near Brussels on 20 through 28 February or need a good excuse to visit this beautiful Art Nouveau city, be sure to join Nik and I at ANIMA 2009.

You can get more information about ANIMA BRUSSELS from their web site: