The Los Angeles Animation Festival announced Tuesday that it has enlisted longtime LAAF supporter Sean Lennon as artistic director and will honor Bill Plympton at this year’s event.
The LAAF returns for its third annual event with new screenings of animated feature films and shorts from around the world, exclusive panels, and parties celebrating the animation community. The Festival will run from Wednesday, March 7 through Sunday, March 11 at the historic Regent Showcase in Hollywood.
Lennon has been a supporter of LAAF from its inception. He is an admirer and connoisseur of great animation, even working as an animator on his music video Would I Be The One, inspired by Fantastic Planet, which was screened at the first LAAF for Lennon, as it’s a film that resonates through much of his art and music. This year, LAAF will screen the film again, with an entirely live score featuring six musicians and five actors on stage.
Lennon has also hand-selected several films this year which have not been screened in quite some time. Lennon will personally introduce these unique films, which have had an impact on him and his career.
Events honoring Plympton will include the West Coast premiere of Adventures in Plymptoons, a documentary on his career by Alexia Anastasio, and a special screening of Plympton’s first animated feature film, The Tune, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Additional events include a cast and crew screening of The Iron Giant; a revival of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Team America: World Police; a screening of Shrek honoring its 10th anniversary and its win of the first Oscar for Animated Feature; a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Web sensation Dick Figures, which currently has 85 million views and counting; and MTV’s Liquid Television–sponsored event, featuring classic and new material from this iconic brand.
“Beyond celebrating the world of animation, LAAF provides up-and-coming animators the opportunity to connect with industry professionals and showcase their work,” said LAAF founder and co-director John Andrews. “This year, we’re excited to honor one of the greats of animation, Bill Plympton, whose work and independent career have inspired so many of us in the field of animation.”
“We’re so proud LAAF is celebrating its third year and has developed into the biggest international animation festival in California,”” said fellow LAAF founder and co-director Miles Flanagan. “This has been a labor of love for us, and we’re so thrilled to have such an amazing lineup at the festival, and the vision of this year’s artistic director, Sean Lennon.”
MTV’s Liquid Television is sponsoring a competition offering a $5,000 development deal. This year’s complete contest categories include Best Short (20 minutes or less), Best Feature, Best TV Episode (11 to 30 minutes), Best Animated Music Video and the special category, Best “Animation on the Edge.” This category looks to recognize an animator’s work that is on the cutting edge of humor, storytelling or technique aimed at a teen or adult audience.
Selected entries will play before each of the festival programs. All category winners will receive Toonboom software packages.
Details on entering can be found at www.laafest.com. All entries must be postmarked by February 14.
Here are some notable features of the programming and lineup:
Wednesday, March 7
Opening night party: hosted by Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants) featuring celebrities on stage, and live band Nylon Pink.
Teaser reels of LAAF and cartoon contributions from Jerry Beck.
Thursday, March 8
Akira: presented by Sean Lennon.
Friday, March 9
The Iron Giant: Special Charity Screening with cast and crew.
MTV and Titmouse present Liquid Television past and present.
Saturday, March 10
Dick Figures: Six Point Harness presents the Web sensation — with cast and crew LIVE recording.
Cal Arts: Special current and historical screening.
World Premiere of Adventures in Plymptoons: with honoree Bill Plympton and director Alexia Anastasio.
Shrek 10th Anniversary and Oscar Celebration Event: Gala, special event and feature screening.
A Monster in Paris: West Coast premiere with cast.
Team America: World Police with special guests from the film.
Sunday, March 11
Asifa-Hollywood presents the screening of a classic animated feature.
LAAF Awards Ceremony and 20th Anniversary Screening of Honoree Bill Plympton’s The Tune: Plympton will accept award in person.
Fantastic Planet: Presented by Sean Lennon with live score by Jesus Makes the Shotgun Sound.
Passes to attend the festival will be available shortly to the general public. Festival passes provide access to all screenings, events, panels and receptions. For details, visit www.laafest.com.
Festival passes and tickets to all individual events can also be purchased in person at the Regent Showcase, beginning on Wednesday, March 7.