PLATFORM Animation Festival Opens Friday in L.A.

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PLATFORM, the internationally acclaimed animation festival, is hosting a three-day event in Los Angeles from Friday to Sunday, October 26 to 28.

In collaboration with CalArts and the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT), PLATFORM will showcase exciting and innovative new animated films and talent while also celebrating animation’s heritage through special screenings and informative panel discussions.

Drawing upon some of the freshest perspectives on the world of animation, festival director Irene Kotlarz has discovered a new generation of curators for this year’s festival. Says Kotlarz, “It has been a special pleasure this year to work with a talented group of CalArts animation students who have helped select the program. Their creative thinking perfectly complements the festival’s mission to be a platform for artists, to break boundaries, and to reflect developments in new media. Together we are really excited to bring PLATFORM to Los Angeles with an outstanding range of premieres, exclusive screenings, and special guests.”

CalArts dean of the School of Film/Video Steve Anker is thrilled to have his students partner in crafting the event for Los Angeles. “The PLATFORM Animation Festival makes a great case for the continued vitality of animation as an independent, personal art form. In just one weekend, an astonishing array of programs has been organized that will give L.A. viewers a chance to see dozens of films, ranging from the beginning of cinema to the latest Internet sensations, that together present a wonderful kaleidoscope of animation as a visual art,” says Anker.

Introducing films that have won worldwide acclaim to animation fans in Los Angeles, PLATFORM will screen highlights from the Annecy International Animation Festival. One program will focus on student films, and a second will present films from established artists, offering viewers a wide variety of story-telling and stylistic entertainment.

Embracing the latest platforms for animation, the festival will feature both screenings and panels that focus on how the internet has changed the industry. Showcasing another realm of groundbreaking animation, PLATFORM is honored to present a special preview screening of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Paperman, followed by a panel discussion with the key filmmakers of this short film.

To honor the history of animation and those who have broken boundaries through the years, PLATFORM will share special retrospective screenings of some of the student films from CalArts’ most famous alumni, such as John Lasseter and Craig McCracken. Reaching even further back into animation history, PLATFORM will present an archival screening of the short films by Ladislas Starewitch, the surrealistic stop-motion pioneer. His work in the 1910s to 1950s initiated the genre of fantastical, gothic stop-motion animation whose line of influence can be traced directly to contemporary filmmakers like Tim Burton and Henry Selick.

Funded in part with generous support from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, PLATFORM is honored to have additional support from its founding sponsor Cartoon Network, as well as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disney Television Animation and ASIFA Hollywood.

The schedule for the festival is as follows:

Friday, October 26

7:30 p.m.: Ladislas Starewitch. A rare screening of 35mm archival prints of short films by the influential surrealistic stop-motion pioneer played to live music. Polish-born Starewitch lived most of his life in Paris, creating fantastical, sophisticated and entertaining narrative films featuring strange insect and animal characters. The compilation screening will include such titles as L’Epouvantail (The Scarecrow), Amour Noir et Blanc (Love in Black and White), La Reine des Papillons (Queen of the Butterflies) and Les Yeux du Dragon (Eyes of the Dragon).

10 p.m.: Best of World Student Animation. Screening of selections from Annecy 2012 representing a broad spectrum of schools from all over the world. The program will include such award-winning student films as I’m Fine Thanks, directed by Eamonn O’Neill, and The Making of Longbird, directed by Will Anderson.

Saturday, October 27

12 noon: Streaming: A Conversation About Animators on the Web. Panel discussion to help answer the questions that today’s animators today face, considering the bewildering array of options and platforms for getting their work out to an audience: Should they put it out on the Web, and if so, which site? Should they give it away for free, or can they make money? Should they invite comments? Should they hold off and try to get into festivals? Will they miss the boat? Panelists include Jason Sondhi (Vimeo), among others. Moderated by Aaron Simpson (Mondo Media).

2 p.m.: Preview of Disney’s Paperman. Special screening followed by a panel discussion with director John Kahrs, art director Jeff Turley and animation supervisor Patrick Osborne. Applying a technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction in this short film.

4:30 p.m.: Best of World Animation. Screening of selections from Annecy 2012. Films include Michaela Pavlátová’s Grand Prix winner Tram (2012) and experimental artist Stephen Irwin’s Ottawa Grand Prix-winner Moxie (2011). Other award-winning films include Hisko Helsing’s Junkyard (2012), which just won the Nelvana Grand Prize for Best Independent Short Animation at the 2012 Ottawa International Animation Festival, and Oh, Willy (2011) by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels, which has won Best European Animation Short Film at Cartoon D’or and Grand Prix for Shorts at the Holland Animation Film Festival this year.

7: p.m.: PES: A Retrospective. Special presentation. The director and animator of numerous witty short stop-motion films and commercials, PES has a huge following at festivals and on the Internet. PES will screen and discuss a selection of his work. including his renowned The Deep (2011).

Sunday, October 28

12 noon: “Awesome” Cartoon Network. Screening and panel. A selection of shows and creative interstitials that exemplify an influential trend in TV and Internet animation, appearing first in the network’s Powerpuff Girls. Reaching its height with the pioneering Adventure Time, the culture of “awesome” emphasizes a clean and bubbly esthetic, positivity, and distinctive, random humor. The screening will be followed by a panel of Cartoon Network artists, including Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time) and JG Quintel (Regular Show). Introduced by Rob Sorcher, chief content officer at Cartoon Network, and moderated by Animation Magazine editor-in-chief Ramin Zahed.

2:30 p.m.: CalArts: A 40-Year Evolution, Program 1. Screening. A retrospective of CalArts animation, first presented at Annecy 2012. Two screenings of examples from four decades of CalArts’ programs in character and experimental animation, featuring student films by John Lasseter, Henry Selick, Craig McCracken and Steve Hillenburg, as well as more recent graduates, including Miwa Matreyek and Kirsten Lepore.

5 p.m.: Life After College. A distinguished panel that spans several generations of CalArts graduates who have been successful in various fields of the industry as creators of successful TV series, as standout animators on the Web, or as practicing independent artists. As they discuss their paths from graduation to artistic and professional success, the panelists will offer a range of options as role models for aspiring young artists. Panelists include Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Falls; Craig McCracken, creator of Powerpuff Girls and Wonder Over Yonder; Mike Moon, vice-president of creative at Disney TV Animation; Michael Patterson, experimental film artist, teacher and commercial filmmaker; and Miwa Matreyek, animator, designer and multi-media artist. Moderator: Jerry Beck. With thanks for generous support from Disney Television Animation.

8 p.m.: CalArts: A 40-Year Evolution, Program 2. Screening. A retrospective of CalArts animation, first presented at Annecy 2012.

The 2012 Platform International Festival takes place at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT). REDCAT is located at 631 West Second Street in downtown Los Angeles at the corner of Hope Street, inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure and in adjacent lots.

Tickets are $10 for the general public, $8 for members. Discounts are available for multi-program purchases. Tickets may be purchased by calling (213) 237.2800, at www.redcat.org, or in person at the REDCAT Box Office on the corner of West Second and Hope Streets (30 minutes free parking with validation). Box office hours are noon to 6 p.m. through Saturday and two hours prior to curtain.

PLATFORM is part of the ongoing Jack H. Skirball “Film at REDCAT” series of screenings and presentations by independent film and video makers from around the world. For more information, visit www.redcat.org/category/redcat-event-type/film-video.

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