Tag Archives: Film Festival

Dementia Tale Wins for Animated Short in San Pedro

The Reality Clock

The Reality Clock

Amanda Tasse’s “The Reality Clock,” in which a watchmaker searching for his lost clock loses himself in memory, was named Best Animated Short at this year’s San Pedro International Film Festival (SPIFFest).

The Reality Clock” is an experimental animated portrait of an elderly watchmaker as he struggles to accept the influence of early-stage dementia on his identity and sense of time. Shot in full stereoscopic 3D, using time-lapse photography, pixelation, live action and stop-motion animation, the film immerses the viewer in the internal experience of the character, expressed through metaphors of a clock, house, and morphing landscapes.

After confusing a simple memory evaluation, The Reality Comprehension Clock Test, the character misplaces his favorite pocket watch. As he embarks on a journey for the missing watch, memories overlap with present reality, distorting his sense of time and place. As he grasps for his identity, “Reality Clock” questions who and what the raw essence of a person is when stripped bare of new memories and rational lucidity.

The inspiration for “The Reality Clock” grew out of Tasse’s conversations with elderly patients with dementia when she volunteered for a hospice organization from 2005 to 2007. Realizing that most films portray dementia from the point-of-view of the caregiver, Tasse intended to explore what the experience might feel like for the patient.

She used varying cinematic techniques to emphasize the character’s subjective reality and play with metaphors inherent in the materials — a subtly animated puppet in a dollhouse juxtaposed with stuttering photographic and live-action memories. She decided to create the film in 3D after having read an autobiographical account by an author with early-stage dementia who described some of his hallucinations and memories as having the quality of depth associated with 3D pictures. Tasse intended to experiment with how stereoscopic 3D could be used as an additional art-design element to support immersive experimental and emotional storytelling.

The inaugural San Pedro International Film Festival screened 34 films from around the world, including Switzerland, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and the United States — the last being the source for “Reality Clock.”

The inaugural festival ran at the Warner Grand Theatre, Terrace Cinemas and California Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

“The community support and turnout for SPIFFest exceeded our expectations,” said executive director Ziggy Mrkich. “We were extremely proud of the extent and diversity of the program, and are looking forward to an even bigger and better SPIFFest 2013.”

“San Pedro has served as a backdrop for many major film and TV projects, and the community has always been a great partner when it comes to welcoming production to its neighborhoods,” said Amy Lemisch, executive director of the California Film Commission. “It’s only fitting that San Pedro now has a film festival to call its own.”

Waterloo Festival Announces Animated Feature Films

Waterloo Festival

Waterloo Festival

Ontario’s Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema has announced the first 12 films of the 12th edition of the festival, which runs from November 15 to 18.

The lineup showcases the increasingly powerful voice that feature animation has in world cinema today. A unique film festival celebrating the artistry of animated feature films, the Waterloo Festival showcase is one of the most comprehensive public exhibitions for animated feature films in the world.

“This year’s festival reflects a strong set of productions from Japan and Europe,” says Joseph Chen, the festival’s curator. “There is an incredibly rich, diverse world of animated cinema beyond the borders of what we can see in multiplexes today. Feature animation is an unparalleled window into the filmmaker’s inner vision. It’s an absolute treat to be able to show these beautifully crafted films on the big screen to a North American audience.”

A Letter to Momo
Okiura Hiroyuki (Japan, 2011)
Studio: Production I.G.
Future Film Platinum Grand Prize, Future Film Festival, Italy, 2012
Miyaura Momo is a shy and imaginative 13-year old girl whose life has been shattered by her father’s recent death and her family’s decision to move from Tokyo back to her mother’s ancestral home in a distant fishing village. Haunted by her last moments with her father, and the final words he left her in an unfinished letter that simply said, “Dear Momo…,” she retreats into a gloomy shell from which she refused to emerge, until one day three rather rude goblins with a
penchant for mischief take it upon themselves to pull her out of her shell.

Anime Mirai
(Japan, 2012)
Films: Juju the Weightless Dugong (dir. Kawamata Hiroshi, The Answerstudio), Pretending Not To See (dir. Miyashi-ta Shinpei, Shirogumi), Li’l Spider Girl (dir. Kaiya Toshihisa, Production I.G.), Buta (dir. Tomonaga Kazuhide, Telecom Animation Film)
Four delightful films that point to the future of anime: a collective project from four leading Japanese animation studios selected by the Japan Animation Creators Association under the patronage of the Agency for Cultural Affairs. A workaholic father repeatedly breaks his promise to take his 5-year-old daughter to the sea until an inflatable dugong undertakes the task instead; a sixth grade learns that bullying other kids is as bad as letting it happen; an antiquarian meets with a scared, eight-legged spider girl; and a broke swordsman-for-hire accepts a job to pay the tavern’s bill, only to find himself involved with a pirate ship, a young kid with a map, and a mad scientist.

Arrugas (Wrinkles)
Ignacio Ferreras (Spain, 2011)
Studio: Perro Verde Films
Goya Award, Best Adapted Screenplay, 2012; Goya Award, Best Animated Film, 2012
Based on Paco Roca’s eponymous and multi award-winning graphic novel, Wrinkles portrays the friendship between Emilio and Miguel, two aged gentlemen shut
away in a care home. Recent arrival Emilio, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to avoid ending up on the feared top floor of the care home, also known as the lost causes or “assisted” floor. Their wild plan infuses their otherwise tedious day-to-day with humor and tenderness, because although for some their lives is coming to an end, for them it is just beginning.

Sato Keiichi (Japan, 2012)
Studio: Toei Animation
Born into the chaos of mid-15th century Japan, when flood, drought and famine have devastated the land and the greatest civil war in Japanese history was about to begin, an infant named Asura was abandoned and forced to learn the means to survive in the wild on his own. Growing up as a wild beast, he would come to hunt men — until one day, he meets a young woman whose grace begins to convince him that even a lost soul such as he could seek redemption.

Az Ember Tragédiája (The Tragedy Of Man)
Marcell Jankovics (Hungary, 2012)
Studio: MAFILM Pannónia Filmstúdió
Based on the 1861 masterpiece by Hungarian playwright and poet Imre Madách, The Tragedy of Man is a powerful drama in 15 acts that guide us through the history and the future of mankind — from the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden, to the empires of old, to the revolutions that rocked Europe — as Lucifer and God battle for Man’s soul.

Paul Bush (United Kingdom, 2012)
Studio: Paul Bush Productions
Babeldom is a city so massive and growing at such a speed that soon, it is said, light itself will not escape its gravitational pull. How can two lovers communicate, one from inside the city and one outside? This is an elegy to urban life, against the backdrop of a city of the future, a portrait assembled from film shot in modern cities all around the world and collected from the most recent research in science, technology and architecture.

Blood-C: The Last Dark
Shiotani Naoyoshi (Japan, 2012)
Studio: Production I.G.
Following the enforcement of the new Youth Protection Act, minors are forbidden to circulate in the streets after 9 p.m. and the use of the Internet is regulated. However, young people continue to fight for their own freedom through underground methods. A group called Sirrut has declared war on Fumito Nanahara, a man whose great influence at both political and economic level has virtually made him the ruler of Tokyo.

Heart String Marionette
M Dot Strange (U.S.A./Iceland, 2012)
Studio: M Dot Strange Productions
A solo-animated film five years in the making. A samurai marionette fights for love and hate against a warlord and an evil clown who have turned the world into a never-ending cyberpunk nightmare filled with horrible monsters.

Jensen & Jensen
Craig Frank (Denmark, 2011)
Studios: Miso Film, Orbit Studio ApS, Frank Productions
It is the year 2019. The financial crisis rages on, and the world has crumbled. Unemployment, inflation and crime are all soaring. In Copenhagen, bikers have taken over the tasks of the police, everybody is in debt to their eyeballs, and the country is now run by a bank. What are a couple of brothers to do except to try their hand at bounty-hunting?

Marco Macaco
Jan Rahbek (Denmark, 2012)
Director Jan Rahbek
Studio: Nice Ninja
In his dreams, Marco Macaco is a cool cop solving major crimes — in fact, he is just a dedicated beach officer on a tropical island where nothing seems to happen. His hopes to win beautiful Lulu’s heart get shattered when charming Carlo arrives on the island to build a gigantic monkey-shaped casino right on Marco‘s beach. Jealous and suspicious of his rival, Marco starts an undercover investigation and reveals the incredible truth: Carlo wants to take over the island and install himself as president! When Marco tries to arrest Carlo, a problem rises. Literally, from the ground. Because Carlo’s Casino is a giant robot…

Strange Frame
G.B. Hajim (U.S.A., 2012)
Studio: G.B. Hajim
It is 200 years after the Great Earth Exodus. On the moon Ganymede, where most of the population struggles against oppressive debt slavery, Parker leaves the comforts of her previous life and falls in love with Naia, an inspired songwriter, who is genetically engineered and enslaved to be a miner. They form a band, and soon, Naia is enslaved again, this time to stardom, via an exploitative talent agent. Though down and out, Parker sets out on a quest to free Naia and
redeem their love.

Ôkami Kodomo No Ame to Yuki (Wolf Children)
Hosoda Mamoru (Japan, 2012)
Studio: Madhouse
A young college student named Hana falls in love with a man with an unspeakable secret: he is a wolf man, and one of the last of his kind. Their love gives birth to two children — Yuki (snow), born on a day of snow; and Ame (rain), born on a day of rain; they, too, were born both human and wolf.

All screenings at the 12th Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema runs November 15 to 18, 2012. will be held at The Chrysalids Theatre, 137 Ontario Street North in Kitchener, Ontario. The theatre is conveniently located near rail and bus services, and there is plenty of parking nearby.

Festival passes are available online at www.wfac.ca, and by phone to Brown Paper Tickets at +1 (800) 838-3006.

The Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema is an international film festival for animated feature films, founded to promote appreciation for animation as a narrative medium for mature cinematic storytelling, and to review and celebrate animated feature films in the venue they were meant to be seen in: a theatre. The festival is community-based, non-profit, and run by volunteers for the love of the art of animation.

Peach Juice Bears Fruit at Vancouver Film Fest

Peach Juice

Peach Juice

The animated “Peach Juice,” directed by Brian Lye, Callum Paterson and Nathan Gilliss of British Columbia, earned Honourable Mention for a Canadian Short Film at the 31st annual Vancouver International Film Festival, which concluded its 16-day run Friday.

In Peach Juice, while on vacation at the seaside, a teenage boy becomes attracted to his aunt…. This film is a little dark, uncomfortably funny, and a whole lotta twisted!

“Funny, with a great sense of humor. A different kind of take on animation showed much promise,” said jurors.

“We look forward to seeing more. It was a bittersweet story.”

Lye, Paterson and Nathan Gilliss were producers of the eight-minute film, made by Public Ritual Media. Lye was responsible for the screenplay, while Paterson and Gilliss were animators. Music was by Benjamin Schuetze.

A trailer for the film can be viewed here:

NFB Animations at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma

Festival du Nouveau Cinéma

Festival du Nouveau Cinéma

Several animated productions and co-productions of the National Film Board of Canada will be screening at the 41st edition of the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, to be held in Montreal from October 10 to 21.

A recently premiered short animated film from the NFB is in official competition: Edmond Was a Donkey (Papy3D Productions/ARTE France/NFB), directed by Franck Dion. The film is screening in Quebec for the first time, as are the remarkable Kali the Little Vampire (Folimage Studios/Ciclope Filmes/NFB/Studio GDS), directed by Regina Pessoa, and L’automne de Pougne (Folimage Studio – Foliascope/Piwi+/Carpe Diem Film & TV/NFB), directed by Pierre-Luc Granjon and Antoine Lanciaux.

The full slate once again highlights the NFB’s expertise in animation.

Twenty-seven films — including two from the NFB — are in the running for the Loup Argenté award, given to the best short film in international selection at the festival.

Over the past few months, Edmond Was a Donkeythe third animated film by French filmmaker Franck Dion — has taken home the special jury prize at the Annecy international animation festival and the Bravo!FACT prize for best Canadian short at the Worldwide Short Film Festival in Toronto. Dion brings us the touching story of an outsider who does not reveal his true self until the day his co-workers place a set of donkey ears on his head. Edmond then discovers the challenges of being true to one’s self in a world of social conformists. The film is co-produced by Papy3D Productions and the NFB. The festival screening is its Quebec premiere.

Kali the Little Vampire is a must-see in the festival’s P’tits loups (Young Wolves) section of programming for children. A co-production between France, Portugal, Switzerland and Canada, this animated film has already won four international awards, including the prestigious Hiroshima prize. Directed by Portuguese filmmaker Regina Pessoa, this poetic fable reminds us that there can be acceptance for all — even young Kali, who is having a hard-time coming to terms with being a vampire. This film is the third and final instalment in Pessoa’s trilogy on the discomforts of childhood. It is masterfully narrated by Oscar-winning actor Christopher Plummer.

L’automne de Pougne (Poppety In The Fall), directed by Pierre-Luc Granjon and Antoine Lanciaux, features the return of the award-winning grumpy hedgehog and his other puppet friends from the land of King Balthasar for one last adventure, in which they search for a hidden treasure that turns out to consist of love, forgiveness and family.

The NFB — like the FNC — is enthusiastic about exploring new technologies and the broadcast and distribution platforms of tomorrow. There are three interactive NFB projects at the festival, each bringing together the art of animation, photography, and sound: Soldier Brother by Kaitlin Ann Jones, Bear 71 by Jeremy Mendes and Leanne Allison, and 24 poses féministes by Caroline Hayeur. These projects will be available on the FNC’s Web site and can be seen on touch-screens installed in several locations at the festival.

Win Tix for “Persistence of Vision” World Premiere

Persistence Of Vision

Persistence Of Vision

Want to go to the world premiere of “Persistence of Vision” for free?

The documentary follows the 30-year quest of animator Richard Williams to make his masterpiece, The Thief and the Cobbler — perhaps the greatest animated film never made.

Sponsor The Snipe, Vancouver’s news source for movies, music, comics and more, has two pairs of tickets to give away to the world premiere Thursday, October 4 at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival.

Best known for the animated sequences of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Canadian-born British animator Williams saw the film wrested from his control and savagely recut.

Kevin Schreck’s documentary pairs unreleased scenes from Williams’ virtuoso fairytale with horror stories of creativity falling prey to commerce.

To enter to win one of two pairs of tickets to the October 4 premiere at 6 p.m. at Granville Cinemas, let the online magazine know your favorite animated feature or cartoon of all time at www.thesnipenews.com/the-latest/persistence-of-vision-movie-viff/. The draw will be made at 9 a.m. PST on Wednesday, October 3.

Persistence of Vision is part of the 2012 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Who’s In At London Animation Festival

London International Animation Festival

London International Animation Festival

The largest animated film festival in the United Kingdom- the London International Animation Festival- has announced this years program. Included are over 280 films from thirty countries competing in 10 categories. Showcasing the best in British and international animation, this years festival also includes several important premieres, in addition to attendee events and symposiums.

This year’s London International Animation Festival- or LIAF- is running October 25th – November 4th. This year the ten day festival will open with style, premiering ‘For No Good Reason’, the brand new feature film exploring the connection between life and art through the eyes of seminal British artist, Ralph Steadman. Follow the screening with an onstage discussion with the seminal British artist himself – Ralph Steadman, as well as ‘For No Good Reason’ Director Charlie Paul and Animation Director Kevin Richards.

On October 28th, Czech Republic director Tomáš Lunák will introduce a  screening of his film Alois Nebel. Afterward, he will take part in a Q and A about the film.

Also on tap are a retrospective of Lithuanian Animation and a look at the emerging Japanese animation scene, including a masterclass and screening with short-form auteur animator Koji Yamamura. American studio Klasky Csupo presents a series of never-before-seen pilot films from some of their televisions series.

The festival will also be home to a variety of ScreenTalks and Creative Skillset symposiums and special presentations including a 2-day industry event in which topics such as The Future of Animation in the UK and The Art of Animated Film Titles will be explored. Technique Focus Workshops include an in-depth look at Live Action / Animation Hybrid films. There are also several programs and hands on workshops especially for children including the Make a Spooky Film Workshop in which BAFTA award-winning Kevin Griffiths will guide audiences through the various stages of ‘cut-out’ animation and the art of adding spooky soundtracks.

Another favorite program at the LIAF is Friday Night Bizarre. On November 2 at 9 PM, this ever popular, irresistible, train-wreck of a program commences – you wanna’ turn away but you know you can’t. Expect meat in all the wrong places, drunk babies, slimy politicians, Siamese twins, deranged zombies and Yoko Ono!

The festival will wrap up with The Best of the Next on Saturday night, leading into the Best of the Festival event on the following Sunday, showcasing a collection of the greatest films from LIAF chosen by judging panels and audience votes.

Full program schedules and additional information about the LIAF is available online at www.liaf.org.uk

Persistence of Vision World Premiere in Vancouver


Persistence Of Vision

Persistence Of Vision

Persistence of Vision, a documentary film about acclaimed Canadian animator Richard Williams, will premiere to the world at this years Vancouver International Film Festival. The  83 minute film will show Thursday, October 4th, 6:00 PM @ the Empire Granville 7 Cinemas Theatre #4. The showing will be followed by a Q&A with director/producer Kevin Schreck plus a special guest animator.

First conceived in September 2007, Persistence of Vision began in development as director/producer Kevin Schreck’s senior project at Bard College in August 2009. Filming began in earnest a year later in August 2010, with editing finished about march of 2012.

To pay for such a complex and in-depth film, Schreck “crowd-sourced” his funding through creative project funding website Kickstarter. After posting his project on the site, the general public pledged over eight thousand dollars toward the completion of the film- some even earning producer credits in the film for their larger contributions.

Persistence Of Vision

Persistence Of Vision

Persistence of Visionis a documentary look at Richard Williams and his thirty year attempt to make the animated film The Thief And The Cobbler. It was to be the greatest animated film of all time. Not just an eye-opener, but a game-changer. Richard Williams demanded nothing less, investing nearly three decades into his movie masterpiece.

Still best known today for the animated portions of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Canadian producer-director came to the UK in the 1950s and won accolades for his short films. He formed a production company and reaped the boom in animated commercials and movie credit sequences. But from as early as 1964 he ploughed most of the profits right back into his pet project, a feature inspired by the Arabian Nights and provisionally known as Mullah Nasruddin.

He assembled a team of inspired young artists—and brought in the best Hollywood craftsmen to teach them—and devised what would be the most elaborate, kaleidoscopic, mind-boggling visual sequences ever committed to celluloid. Years passed. Potential financiers came and went. Work continued. But it was only after Roger Rabbit that Williams had a studio budget to corroborate the munificence of his imagination. After 25 years and as many million dollars in the making his labor of love finally saw the light of day…

Kevin Schreck’s documentary is essential viewing on three counts: it showcases Williams’ dazzling, often unprecedented visuals; it reveals how these staggering effects were created; and it’s a heartbreaking portrait of artistic obsession running smack into the business of show…

The Last Belle wins top animation award in R.I.

Rhode Island International Film Festival

Rhode Island International Film Festival

The Last Belle,” by Neil Boyle of the United Kingdom, won the Grand award in Animation at FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival.

In the 20-minute 2011 film, two characters journey towards a blind date: Wally, who suffers a nightmarish drunken trip through London as he races against the clock to the rendezvous; and Rosie, who waits in a bar dreaming of how wonderful her date is going to be…if he ever turns up. The film had its New England premiere at the fest.

RIIFF announced the award winners Sunday from its 16th annual awards ceremony held at The Vets in downtown Providence.

Held from August 7 to 12, the festival had another record-breaking year in attendance for ticket buyers and filmmakers.

Two films tied for First in the Animation category: Nuru (dir. Micheal Palmaers; Belgium, 2011) and Zing (dir. Kyra Buschor; Germany, 2012).

The 14-minute Nuru is set in an abandoned zoo. The zoo itself is inspired by the Antwerp Zoo in the 19th century and is covered in a mysterious environment reminding of the Rene Magritte painting The Empire of Light. Under a radiating sunny sky, the landscape is covered in darkness. The opportunistic director of the abandoned zoo instructs a doctor to do some medical experiments on a gorilla, one of the few animals left in the zoo. If the experiment turns out well, the zoo could again become the great attraction it once was.

In Zing, day in, day out, Mr. Grimm is busy with his job as the Reaper, harvesting people’s lives. One day, his monotonous existence is interrupted by the doorbell. It’s a little girl. She wants her cat back. Little does she know that she’s the next life on Mr. Grimm’s list.

Fraction (dir. Alain Delannoy; Canada, 2012) won the Grand award in the Best Experimental category. Without spoken language, this nine-minute animated film follows the story of an elderly artist who, caught in a battle of time, struggles to complete his body of work. Thousands of handcrafted drawings were created to compose and ultimately complete this independent short film, which was produced over a span of four years.

The RIIFF Youth Jury Award for Best Animated went to Rising Hope (dir. Milen Vitanov; Germany, 2012). All know the way, but few actually walk it — Rising Hope, once the fastest horse in the world, dares to be one of the few.

Two hundred feature length, documentary and short films — from 51 countries, and 32 states in the United States — were screened over a six-day period at locations throughout Rhode Island. Films were selected from a record entry base of 4,717 submissions. The festival presented 28 world premieres and 26 North American/United States premieres.

“It’s simply been an incredible year for us,” said George T. Marshall, RIIFF’s executive director. “Thanks to the amazing partnership we forged with Steven Feinberg and the Rhode Island Film & Television Office and sponsorships with the Providence Journal, Cox Communications and the City of Providence, filmmakers from across the globe were able to experience true Rhode Island hospitality. We had a spectacular lineup of provocative and engaging new films and a banner year for the Flickers’ Forums.

“This year, the festival registered more than 150 filmmakers from across the globe, including Greenland, Italy, Canada, France, Belgium, Denmark and Norway. All in all, we achieved everything we set out to accomplish with this year’s festival and more.”

RIIFF is one of only 75 film festivals worldwide that is accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. William Joyce’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore premiered at RIIFF in 2011, and went on to win an Academy Award for best animated short.

China’s “Monkey King” in 3D at Vancouver festival

Vancouver International Film Festival

Vancouver International Film Festival

At this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival, China’s The Monkey King gets an eye-popping 3D restoration on its 50th anniversary; A Liar’s Autobiography (also in 3D) celebrates Graham Chapman’s inimitable work with Monty Python; and Persistence of Vision tells the story of what could have been the greatest animated feature of all time, The Thief and the Cobbler.

There’s plenty for the kids, but there’s also a tremendous seriousness of purpose and heartfelt artistry to the selection of animated features and shorts in this year’s festival, taking place from September 27 to October 12.

Comic book superheroes may rule the multiplex, but in the wide world of cinema, more rarefied and grown-up tastes are being well served! More and more, the use of animation sequences and devices enhance “photo-based” movies, and while graphic novels break new artistic ground, along comes Cartoon College to introduce us to the great animators of the printed page.

Among the cartoon selections at the Vancouver International Film Festival:

The Monkey King — Uproar in Heaven 3D (Da nao tian gong)
China; dirs. Su Da and Chen Zhihong
A grand spectacle, Su Da and Chen Zhihong’s 50th anniversary 3D restoration of China’s most lauded animated feature is truly a special event. Based on the the Ming Dynasty classic Journey to the West, it chronicles the adventures of the magical Monkey King, a mischievous character who creates havoc in the palace of Heaven by refusing to kowtow to the Celestial Jade Emperor…. Bring the kids! Classification: TBA.

A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman
United Kingdom; dirs. Bill Jones, Jeff Simpson and Ben Timlett
Ready for something completely different? In the spirit of Graham Chapman’s five-author, highly fictionalized autobiography, this carnivalesque 3D adaptation/animation enlists three directors (Bill Jones, Ben Timlett and Jeff Simpson), 15 animation studios (each using different techniques) and the remaining Monty Python members (minus Eric Idle) to pay irreverent tribute to “the dead one.”

Ernest et Célestine
France/Belgium/Luxembourg; dirs. Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier
Like-minded Ernest, a busking bear, and Célestine, a boho mouse, forge an interspecies friendship and instantly become a cause célèbre. Teaming with Benjamin Renner, A Town Called Panic‘s Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier curb their anarchic tendencies and delicately craft “a cautionary fable where friendship tries to stand the test of bigotry and intolerance.” — Hollywood Reporter. To be classified so all ages can attend!

McDull: The Pork of Music
North American Premiere
Hong Kong; dir. Brian Tse
Hong Kong’s funniest and most subversively popular avatar, the cartoon piglet McDull, is back in an animated musical by Brian Tse and Alice Mak. Mixing hilarious, weird and deliciously profane humor with ultra-sharp social critique, McDull & Company sing about HK’s uniqueness with a poignant charm all their own.

Consuming Spirits
U.S.A.; dir. Chris Sullivan
In this spiraling animated tale, the darkly humorous, seemingly random misadventures of three Rust Belt grotesques coalesce into a single affecting narrative. “Shot frame-by-frame using models, multi-plane paper cutouts and traditional pencil-drawn cartoons… this labor of love from do-it-all animator Chris Sullivan has the same rough-edged, cantankerous charms as the characters that populate it.” — Variety

Cartoon College
World Premiere
U.S.A.; dirs. Josh Melrod and Tara Wray
This bittersweetly charming documentary introduces us to some of the world’s greatest graphic novelists, and the extraordinary college in White River Junction, Vermont, where the comic artists of tomorrow get inspired and get to work! Chris Ware, Lynda Barry, Art Spiegelman, Françoise Mouly and Scott McCloud are among the many artists to take us into their imaginative inner lives and craft. The fabulous soundtrack includes an original score by Jason Zumpano.

Persistence of Vision
World Premiere
U.S.A./United Kingdom/Canada; dir. Kevin Schreck
Stupendous! After toiling on his masterpiece The Thief and the Cobbler for 28 years, top British animator Richard Williams — famous for Who Framed Roger Rabbit — saw it wrested from his control and savagely recut. Pairing unreleased scenes from Williams’ virtuoso fairy tale with horror stories of creativity falling prey to commerce, Kevin Schreck takes us inside “the greatest animated film never made.”

Wrinkles (Arrugas)
Spain; dir Ignacio Ferreras
By turns moving and funny, Ignacio Ferreras’ animated tale of two elderly men who become friends at a care facility for the aged “has heart and humor…. Wrinkles ranks as an extraordinarily involving and poignant film… likely to inspire laughter and deep sympathy for the characters, if not tears, in equal measure.” — SBS Film.
Winner, Goya Awards, Best Animated Film, Best Adapted Screenplay, 2012.

Sneak preview guides of the Vancouver International Film Festival hit the street September 1, while the VIFF Advance Box Office opens September 10. The Official Program Catalogue is on sale September 15.

Watch for the fabulous Hayao Miyazaki series coming to the PCP and Vancity Theatre in late fall!

Vancouver International Film Festival film info is available at (604) 683-FILM (3456). The VIFF office is at (604) 685-0260.

Animation on view during “Short Cuts” in Toronto

Toronto International Film Festival

Toronto International Film Festival

The Toronto International Film Festival is set to present 44 world-class Canadian short films, including four with animation, in this year’s Short Cuts Canada program.

With a lineup as diverse in themes and cultures as the country itself, six engaging programs will represent the styles of both accomplished and emerging directors from across Canada. From strong social statements to deadpan humor, Short Cuts Canada programmers Alex Rogalski and Magali Simard received nearly 700 entries — the most submissions to date for the program — indicating steady growth in film talent in Canada.

“Programming Short Cuts Canada is more and more challenging each year because of the level to which Canadian filmmakers are elevating the quality of short films,” said Simard. “It is a very exciting time for us as programmers, and the future never looked brighter for Canadian shorts.”

“Films in this year’s program have global reach and will appeal to audiences worldwide,” said Rogalski. “This year’s films are short in length, but long on impression.”

Films in the Short Cuts Canada program are eligible for the Award for Best Canadian Short Film. This year’s jury includes journalist and author Matthew Hays, journalist Katrina Onstad and filmmaker Reginald Harkema.

Among the films being screened:

Aubade (L’Aubade)
Carla Susanto, Ontario
2 min.
World Premiere
Engravings from century-old medical textbooks become an animated backdrop to a man’s loving goodbye during his final moments. The fleeting flicker of the monochromatic images resonates with the narrator’s quickening journey as he transitions from one world to another.

Patrick Bouchard, Quebec
9 min.
Toronto Premiere
Inspired by Russian composer Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition,” Bydlo is a staggering visual rendering of the lumbering wooden Polish ox-cart picture. Technically complex (Bouchard animates plasteline) and artistically fiery, Bydlo depicts the cycles of life, the power of man and beast, and both the beauty and horror of labor.

Joda (Apart)
Theodore Ushev, Quebec
4 min.
World Premiere
Poetic and political, Theodore Ushev’s latest animated work cultivates his incredible talent to call for the liberation of imprisoned Iranian filmmakers and to focus attention on the plight of Jafar Panahi. Drawing inspiration from raw footage of the Green Wave uprising to compose densely layered rotoscoped images embedded with Farsi text, the result is a powerful piece of activism that is both personal and profound.

Let the Daylight into the Swamp
Jeffrey St. Jules, Ontario
35 min.
World Premiere
The St. Judes origins in the lumber camps of northern Ontario lead to a splintered family and a spotted history filled with questions and half answers. With a mix of animation, re-enactments and archival evidence, Jeffrey St. Jules assembles a three-part 3-D documentary collage that explores the consequences of parents who make the difficult decision to give up their children.

The Festival offers the TIFF Choice five-screening Canadian Pack, including features and shorts ($80 for adult, $68 student and senior). Purchase Festival ticket packages online 24 hours a day at tiff.net/festival, by phone from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET weekdays at (416) 599-TIFF or 1-888-599-8433, or visit the box office in person from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The 37th Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 6 to 16.