It was quite a change from cold Estonia and Latvia to arrive at the sunny Rome airport. I had the honor to be invited to be a juror at the I Castelli Animati, 28 November through 2 December. This year the festival was held on the Cinecitta Campus, home to the legendary Cincecitta Studios, in honor of the 70th anniversary of the founding of this famous studio which stands as a symbol of Italian cinema. After a month where I traveled back and forth across Europe and Nik stayed in Gent working on music we were finally reunited when my driver left me at the festival hotel.
The festival encompassed many facets of the animation world from workshops, competitions for special effects, television series and web to the International Competition where I was on the jury. There were also a multitude of special guests from all over the world. The opening evening gala served as a sampling of the diversity of the festival that awaited us. Bruno Bozzetto’s new animated theme for the festival was premiered. The Pierce Sisters, winner of the 2007 Cartoon D’ Or was followed by the first four competition films. Nik performed his score for Fetch! as Nina Paley’s animation was screened and David Silverman talked about the birth of THE SIMPSONS on the Tracey Ullman Show.