ID

Superbia by Luca Tóth

Here's a bittersweet surrealistic story of the man and the woman in gender-bending colors. Watch (the mature-themed) Superbia by Hungarian director Luca Tóth. The 15 minutes film...

There's a Tiny Border Between Utopia and Dystopia: Interview...

Two talented people talk about their politically-conscious animation work. Our interview with Serbian animation directors Ana Nedeljković and Nikola Majdak Jr. They were first...

Painting and Other Delights: Q&A With Juan Ibañez

Spanish animation artist Juan Ibañez works and invents on El Greco, Hieronymus Bosch works. How to combine painting, animation and pedagogy? Seville-based Spanish animation...

Ruben Brandt, Collector: Ηungarian Feature on Art and Heist

A new Hungarian animated feature from the awarded animator Milorad Krstic premieres at the 2018 Locarno Festival. An animated feature that combines psychotherapy, the art world...

9 Ways to Draw A Person by Sasha Svirsky

Imagination should take a poetic leap forwards. Watch 9 Ways To Draw A Person by Sasha Svirsky. Russian animation director Sasha Svirsky first wrote a poem, "9 Ways to Draw A...

News

Steven Woloshen Premieres The Dead Sea Scrolls...

Woloshen: I am incorporating every aspect of handmade manipulation into one film. For experimental...

Ruben Brandt, Collector: Ηungarian Feature on...

A new Hungarian animated feature from the awarded animator Milorad Krstic premieres at the 2018...

Book: The Computer-Animated Film by Christopher...

KCL University professor Christopher Holliday argues computer animated films constitute a genre in...

New EAA Board Members, Two More Categories Added...

European Animation Awards also extends the number of nominated films from 3 to 5 in its second...

10 Recipients of the Animation Educators Forum...

ASIFA-Hollywood and the Animation Educators Forum (AEF) announced the scholarship winners for...

Regina Pessoa, Joanna Quinn, Špela Čadež,...

Ann Marie Fleming, Lei Lei, Michèle Cournoyer, also invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures...

Ülo Pikkov Gets Animation Doctorate With...

Estonian animator and scholar Ülo Pikkov successfully defended his PhD thesis on Eastern European...

Animation Development Course: Cuba

Paul Bush, Joanna Quinn and Gerd Jockell teach animation in an 8-week training programme....

Georges Schwizgebel Designs the 17th Countryside...

Jean-Luc Slock, Élise Labbé will join Schwizgebel in the Cyprus festival jury. Renowned animation...

Festivals

Anibar Goes 50/50 in its 9th Edition

The Peja festival will also feature both Belgium animators Lora D’Addazio and Britt Raes for this...

2018 Fest Anča Festival Report: Time To Talk On...

Uri and Michelle Kranot, Milos Tomić, Ivana Sebestova, Sanni Lahtinen win at the 11th Slovakian...

17th Countryside Animafest Cyprus: Selection...

Max Andersson, Vladimir Leschiov, Riho Unt, Veljko Popovic, in this year's Countryside Animafest...

Koji Yamamura, Ushev, Propaganda Focus at the...

The 11th summer celebration of animation in Žilina, Slovakia is ready to begin, between 28 June...

Animafest 2018 Feature Competition Or Why...

Olga Bobrowska reports on the latest 2018 edition of Animafest Zagreb and the feature films...

Theodore Ushev Comes to 2018 Fest Anča

The Oscar-nominated director will attend the Slovakian Žilina festival, 28 June-1 July 2018....

Bloeistraat 11, Funan Get 2018 Annecy Prizes

All the winners of the 42nd Annecy Festival. The juries awarded 19 prizes on Saturday 16th June at...

13 Special Prizes for Annecy 2018

Lucia Bulgheroni, Nienke Deutz, Vincent Paronnaud, Boris Labbé, This Magnificent Cake! get special...

Graduation Competition 2 @ Annecy: Two Estonians...

The French film Stockholm and Swiss/Israeli film Travelogue were also standouts of the second...

Academic CFP

14
Aug
Sonoma County, CA
Visual Music Symposium (14-16/8/18, Sonoma County, California) invites call for papers.

04
Oct
Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
The Midwest Popular Culture Association/Midwest American Culture Association seeks proposals for papers and panels both on Western animation and on anime.

06
Oct
University of Southern California
Breaking the Glass Frame: Women and Animation, Past, Present, Future Los Angeles Symposium takes place 6-7 Oct 2018 at the University of Southern California.

10
Nov
University of Warwick, UK
Call for paper for an interdisciplinary symposium on Animals, Adaptation and Animation at University of Warwick, 10/11/2018.

17
Jun
Lisbon, Portugal
The 31st SAS Annual Conference will take place in Lisbon, 17-21 June 2019.

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REVIEWS

Mirai by Mamoru Hosoda: Lessons To Be Learned

The latest feature film by Summer Wars director Mamoru Hosoda is a gentle family comedy of manners, which really takes off at the film's final reels. This may not be one of Hosoda's more...

Seder-Masochism Review: Let's Dance

US independent animation director Nina Paley makes the story of Exodus an overwhelming musical extravaganza, which still finds time to register its gender-based raison d' être. In the beginning,...

Dilili In Paris (Dilili à Paris) Review: Defending Modernism

The new feature film by Michel Ocelot (Kirikou and the Sorceress, Azur and Asmar) has the art and science aligned to save the world from gender-based catastrophe. It would be easy to tell that...

This Magnificent Cake! Review: To Have Your Cake and Let It Go

Personal journeys of lost cause mingle with vestiges of colonial power in the stand-out stop-motion animation feature by Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels. This is a feature animation film that has...

Captain Morten and the Spider Queen Review: A Sea Journey Back Home

A film easy to like and harder to cherish. Review for the stop-motion Estonian feature film, Captain Morten and the Spider Queen. They don't make films like this anymore -at least, in the US studio...

Pixar – Ιmagination Κidnapped

Mr. Kropka delves critically into Pixar’s narrative and aesthetic strategies. Animation is quite commonly seen as nothing more than mere entertainment. On top of that, the idea that animation is...

 The 2017 Oscar award race for short animation films has a definite pattern - and cements a recent trend in animation preferences.

It was certainly a situation of bad timing; 3 announcements of major awards/festival coincided the same day. First, the 45 Annie Awards Nominations, which offered an unprecedented record of 10 nominations for Cartoon Saloon's The Breadwinner (dir. Nora Twomey).

Then, the Academy Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced their shortlist of 10 pre-selected films which continue to the next nomination stage, and get their chance at an Oscar (feature animation films don't get a shortlist, but move directly to the nomination phase).

At the same time, the 2018 Sundance animation shorts selection revealed what everybody already had imagined: if there's any justice at all to be done to the animation world outside the world of big animation festivals, all these nominations would need magically to be combined, in order to get a coherent view of what's at stake in contemporary animation production.

Otherwise, one cannot explain the curious Oscar shortlist pattern that has started to appear in recent years -and this irrespectively of the quality of the included films themselves. US student films -this year we have In A Heartbeat by Beth David and Esteban Bravo and Cradle by Devon Manney - compete with both animation veterans, a Pixar / Disney short, and some European shorts which feature children or animal characters. A National Film Board of Canada short usually manages to enter both the shortlist and nominations.

In 2017, Glean Keane with his Dear Basketball takes the place of Richard Williams Prologue last year. NFB, which had a nomination in 2016 with Theo Ushev's Blind Vaysha, did not make it this year. However, Hedgegog's Home by  Eva Cvijanović  (a co-production between NFB and Bonobo Studio) was nominated in the Annies instead (Best Animation Short).

So, it is not really a case for technique of films for children anymore: Oscar shortlists and nominations wish to combine both the old and the new, 3D animation with stop-motion (the fine film, itself a combination of puppet animation, hand-crafted elements and 3D,  Negative Space by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata has managed to capture the hearts of more people than they actually fit in the boy's suitcase); whereas the sly Garden Party by Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon brings memories of Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard transformed to a frog colony -and it works.

Oscars want them all, but they want it in their own way.

Otherwise, the continuous recent scandal of not including films which are outside this circle cannot be explained. Zbig Rybczynski won an Academy Award for his 1980 Tango, but Špela Čadež can't even be nominated for her more narrative-based, David Lynchian excellent parable of alcoholism in Nighthawk (Slovenia/Croatia). Čadež was at the 2017 Sundance festival, and Niki Lindroth von Bahr follows in her festival footsteps with the musical existentialism of The Burden -again the film absent from both Oscars and the Annies.

Annies fare better in the feature department -but no Psiconautas there, whereas Loving Vincent is being nominated in the category it has the most weaknesses: writing.

But it definitely needs to be acknowledged that the independent animation feature category in the Annie Awards has opened up the field for more diversity in the other categories as well.

So perhaps it's the time for the Academy  to do something similar, and introduce at least an independent/ Foreign animation short category (if not feature as well)? Foreign language category in live-action films is haphazard, but still can get some of the finest films of the year. A similar category and selection either by countries or festivals alone could bring similar results. Studio and US films could still be judged as a separate short category by the existing system and Academy branch.

It's true that in this case only one film per country could compete, and there are various logistics and interests involved that could make it equally problematic (who selects, what will be the role of the animation branch etc.) But, letting all difficulties aside,  it will definitely give an additional chance to films that otherwise have no chance to compete in Animation Short  category, as now structured.

Independent animation community may feel that Sundance and animation festivals is indeed the natural habitat for films like Among the Black Waves  (Anna Budanova),  I Like Girls (Diane Obomsawin),  Impossible Figures and Other Stories II (Marta Pajek),  Love (Réka Bucsi), Nothing Happens  (Michelle Kranot, Uri Kranot ) - so who cares about the Oscars, anyway? 

That could indeed be the case, but still  this does not help the visibility of independent animation on the other side of the Atlantic, which also controls most of the marketing tools and weapons to publicize its nominees around the world.  

It is a harsh game around these awards, and perhaps if some of the filmmakers had the budget and the stamina to campaign for their film in the US, it would indeed make a case for a more comprehensive overview of short animation production. The other option, of course, would be to do the staff that the the Oscar-awarded Piper film is made of -but really we need more diversity around here.

Vassilis Kroustallis

Training - Pitching

The King and the Thief by Albert 't Hooft & Paco...

Twelve projects originated from countries across Europe were selected for the fifth edition of...

86 Projects for Cartoon Forum, Spotlight on...

The 29th edition of Cartoon Forum presents projects from 21 countries in Toulouse. Check some of...

Animation Development Course: Cuba

Paul Bush, Joanna Quinn and Gerd Jockell teach animation in an 8-week training programme....

Co-Production and Networking Opportunities in...

A new network of Nordic countries animation is born, to help with info and structure of...

Christopher At Sea, Archipelago Win 2018 Annecy...

All the winners of the Short, TV and feature film pitches of the 2018 Annecy Festival. SHORT FILMS...

11 Animation Projects for the 2018 Bridging The...

The 4th Bridging the Gap Animation Lab announces its selection. Nicolas Schmerkin, Manuel...

Registration: CARTOON Forum 2018

The premiere European pitching forum for TV projects is open for registration till 29 June....

Animation Goes Transmedia: 5th CARTOON 360

The fifth edition of transmedia pitching event CARTOON 360 moves to Lille, with 24 participating...

Floating, Of Unwanted Things and People, Rabbit...

View all winners of the 6th Visegrad Animation Forum. The sixth edition of Visegrad Animation...

Production

Steven Woloshen Premieres The Dead Sea Scrolls...

Woloshen: I am incorporating every aspect of handmade manipulation into one film. For experimental...

Ruben Brandt, Collector: Ηungarian Feature on...

A new Hungarian animated feature from the awarded animator Milorad Krstic premieres at the 2018...

Preview: Agouro (Augure) by David Doutel and...

Another family in trouble. Here's the trailer for the upcoming short animation Agouro (Augure) by...

Preview: This Magnificent Cake! by Emma De Swaef...

5 stories, one stop-motion vision. The new mid-length effort by the Belgian directors of Oh, Willy...

Sylvain Chomet to Adapt Korean Novel Familiar...

The Illusionist director is in mid-negotiations to adapt and animate renowned Korean novelist...

Buñuel In the Labyrinth of the Turtles: Trailer

Coming in 2018, the new 2D animation story on one of the greatest film directors, Luis Buñuel....

Another Day of Life by Damian Nenow and Raúl de...

After the critically acclaimed (and Oscar-shortlisted) Paths of Hate, Damian Nenow prepares the...

Captain Morten and the Spider Queen Gets a Trailer

A lot of anticipation surrounds the upcoming stop-motion Estonian feature film, Captain Morten and...

Women In Animation 2018 Summit: Programme Lineup...

Live streaming will be available for the 2018 WIA Conference. Dorota Kobiela, Nora Twomey,...

INTERVIEWS

There's a Tiny Border Between Utopia and Dystopia: Interview with Ana Nedelković and Nikola Majdak Jr.

Two talented people talk about their politically-conscious animation work. Our interview with Serbian animation directors Ana Nedeljković and Nikola Majdak Jr. They were first heard internationally...

Painting and Other Delights: Q&A With Juan Ibañez

Spanish animation artist Juan Ibañez works and invents on El Greco, Hieronymus Bosch works. How to combine painting, animation and pedagogy? Seville-based Spanish animation artist Juan Ibañez works...

I Am Always Committed To Things Important In Life: Interview with Mats Grorud

Mr. Kropka, director of ReAnima festival, interviews Norwegian director Mats Grorud. The day was going to be sunny and without large banks of clouds in the sky; the thermal sensation of a hot summer...

Animation Is Our Subsconscious Language: Interview with Lucia Bulgheroni

A puppet with a soul to lose. Cannes-awarded Italian director Lucia Bulgheroni talks to Zippy Frames about her stop-motion short, Inanimate . Having been awarded at the recent Cinefondation Cannes...

Project to Watch: Floating by Jelena Milunovic

it recently won the Best Short Animation project at the Visegrad Animation Forum. Serbian director Jelena Milunovic and producer Milos Ivanovic talk about their Floating film. It's hard to invest...

Each Family Is a Planet: Interview with Alberto Vázquez

Spanish animation director and artist Alberto Vázquez talks about his feature film Birdboy:The Forgotten Children (Psiconautas), and his artistic style and mandate at Zippy Frames. He seems to be...

Building a new Jordan animation from University of Petra: Interview with Tariq Rimawi

Peter Schavemaker interviews Jordan animator and filmmaker Tariq Rimawi. On October 15, the second year of the four year bachelor’s degree program Animation and Multimedia Design - held within the...

The animation in Norway is made in the attic: Interview with Ove Heiborg

Mr. Kropka, an animation afficionado, interviews Ove Heiborg, film producer at Qvisten Animation Studios, Norway. This story might have begun on Monday 4th September at 10 in the morning. It was at...

Women rule at Norwegian Animation Volda Festival

The Norwegian animation festival Animation Volda is being held between September 14-17. This year's theme is Women in Animation. Zippy Frames interviewed Karoline Sundet , one of the four women...