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HAFF Unveils 2016 Feature Film Competition Selections

2016 edition of the Holland Animation Film Festival to include the world premiere of Igor Kovalyov’s short film, ‘Before Love.’

In two months the Holland Animation Film Festival will once again return to Utrecht. Organizers have announced the first four titles in the international competition for feature films -- Miss Hokusai, NUTS!, Little from the Fish Shop and Extraordinary Tales -- along with a gem, Igor Kovalyov’s Before Love, in the international competition for shorts. The 19th edition of the festival runs March 16-20, 2016.

Before Love (RU, 2016) | World premiere | Competition for Shorts 2016
After a decade, the internationally acclaimed Russian filmmaker Igor Kovalyov now releases a new animated short: Before Love. HAFF is thrilled to host the premiere at our festival in March, in the International Shorts Competition.

The heartbreaking story starts with a construction worker on a scaffold observing a young woman who is spying on her cheating boyfriend. Before Love questions solitude, misunderstanding and disunity in our life.

Igor Kovalyov was previously laurelled for his short films Hen, His Wife (1989) and Milch (2005). His work is characterized by a vivid, deeply personal imagination and a profusion of graphic detail. It is often slightly melancholy or alienating and pervaded with a dark psychological suspense. But he also tacks effortlessly between drama and comedy.

Miss Hokusai (JP, 2015) | Dutch premiere | Competition Features 2016
Katsushika Hokusai is arguably the most famous Japanese artist. His work inspired great artists such as Monet and Debussy. Miss Hokusai is an adaptation of the graphic novel “Sarusuberi,” focusing on the unknown story of Hokusai’s daughter, who contributed to his oeuvre. Director Keiichi Hara (Colorful) created a vivid and colorful portrait of a free, strong and talented young woman in Tokyo during the 19th century.

Miss Hokusai, produced by Production I.G (Giovanni’s Island), received praise at numerous film festivals last year. The anime is the winner of the jury award of animation festival in Annecy and received the Asian Pacific Screen Award for Best Picture.

NUTS! (US, 2016) | Competition Features 2016
Everyone is familiar with the bizarre experiments taking place in the medical world through the centuries. But not everyone knows that infertility among men was “healed” by transplanting goat testicles in the early 20th century. The contemporary, unconventional documentary NUTS! by American filmmaker Penny Lane tells the story of the infamous American doctor John Romulus Brinkley.

A combination of reenacted scenes in hand-drawn animation, archival footage and contemporary interviews with specialists in different fields of Brinkley shows his rise to wealth and fame.

Little from the Fish Shop (CZ, 2015) | Dutch premiere | Competition Features 2016
Overfishing, pollution, bad boyfriends and refugees: “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen gets quite a contemporary twist in the puppet animation Little from the Fish Shop by Czech director Jan Balej.

The Sea King decides to move to live amongst the humans with his daughters and his mother and they start a fish shop in the heart of the bustling harbor district teeming with people from every corner of the world. The youngest daughter Little has to stay indoors until she’s sixteen. She falls for J.J., owner of a night club where love can be bought, and decides to become human to win his love. He immediately has her on bar duty and she brings him prosperity and wealth but he leaves her unscrupulously and relegates her to kitchen help. However, she can’t summon the courage to sacrifice him and return to her family. A mesmerizing voice over takes you along to the inevitable ending.

Extraordinary Tales (LU, BE, VS, SP, 2015) | Dutch premiere | Competition Features 2016
With Extraordinary Tales, director Raul Garcia made a macabre anthology of the famous tales of “gothic” writer and poet Edgar Allan Poe. The film consists of five stories: The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar, The Mask of the Red Death and The Pit and the Pendulum. Each story has a different, unique animation style and is narrated by master storytellers such as Sir Christopher Lee (one of his last roles), Poe adapter Roger Corman, director Guillermo del Toro and Bela “Dracula” Lugosi.

Source: Holland Animation Film Festival

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.