Cat in Paris, Gruffalo’s Child premiere in Florida

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Une Vie de Chat

The Oscar-nominated French animated feature “A Cat in Paris” and the British featurette “The Gruffalo’s Child” will both have their southeastern United States premieres at the Florida Film Festival, to be held from April 13 to 22.

Both films can be seen at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at the Garden Theatre and at 12 noon Sunday, April 15 at Regal Winter Park Village A.

The premier showcase in Central Florida for American independent and international film, the 2012 Florida Film Festival will have 168 films representing 31 countries. In a record-breaking year, the festival received more entries (1700+), and is offering more films and world premieres (28) than ever before.

Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol, the 65-minute Une Vie De Chat (A Cat in Paris) is presented in French with English subtitles. Folimage, the distinguished animation studio behind Mia Et Le Migou (Mia and the Magoo), now brings us this brilliantly hand-drawn adventure set in the shadow-drenched alleyways of France’s City of Lights.

Dino is a cat that leads a double life. During the day he lives a comfortable pet existence with his owner Zoé, a little girl who refuses to talk, and her mother Jeanne, a police detective. At night he assists Nico, an agile yet honorable burglar, in high-end robberies. One night, Zoé decides to follow Dino on his escapades, and the troubles begin.

Nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year’s Academy Awards, European Film Awards, and Cesar (French Oscars) Awards, this thoroughly charming gem is a true delight and clever homage to classic film noir. Children and parents alike will enjoy the unique visual style, the acrobatic chases from rooftop to rooftop across the Paris skyline, and the amazing Billie Holiday and Django Reinhardt soundtrack. What an experience!

It’s preceded by the 27-minute The Gruffalo’s Child, directed by Johannes Weiland and Uwe Heidschotter. This equally endearing companion film to the 2010 Oscar nominee for Best Animated Short, 2009’s The Gruffalo, features the same all-star cast of voices, including Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson and Robbie Coltrane. An eager young Gruffalo (voiced by Shirley Henderson) ignores her father’s warnings and embarks on a late-night adventure in search of the Big Bad Mouse. She meets Snake, Owl and Fox, but no sign of the fabled Mouse…. Does he really exist?

Showing in competition, Shorts Program 5: Animated Shorts — with a total running time of 89 minutes — will be screened at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at Enzian. Here’s a rundown:

Fresh Guacamole (dir. PES; U.S.A., 2012, 1.5 min.)
World Premiere
New York stop-motion legend PES (Roof Sex, Western Spaghetti, The Deep) is back with this latest take on the culinary arts. Pass the chips!

The Flying House
(dirs. Winsor McCay, Bill Plympton; U.S.A., 1921/2012, 8.5 min.)
Southeast Premiere
Restored, remastered, and now featuring the voice talents of Patricia Clarkson and Matthew Modine, Winsor McCay’s timely and topical classic short film from 1921 has been lovingly brought back to life for a whole new generation by Florida Film Festival favorite Bill Plympton.

(notes on) biology
(dir. Ornana; U.S.A., 2011, 6 min.)
Florida Premiere
An animated account of an organism adapting to its environment. Nothing fights boredom like a superhero elephant!

(dir. Kangmin Kim; U.S.A./South Korea, 2011, 8 min.)
East Coast Premiere
A film about the relationship between a son, a father and a birthmark. Induced by the intense heat of an old Korean bathhouse, a man falls into a dream and relives an important memory.

Another Dress, Another Button
(dir. Lyn Elliot; U.S.A., 2011, 3 min.)
Florida Premiere
Ever wonder what happens to all those spare buttons that come with new clothes?

Miss Devine
(dirs. Mike Rauch, Tim Rauch; U.S.A., 2010, 3.5 min.)
Southeast Premiere
In this StoryCorps animated documentary, cousins recall their Sunday school teacher and neighbor from their childhood growing up in Bradenton, Florida.

(dir. Jonah D. Ansell; U.S.A., 2011, 8 min.)
Featuring the voice talents of Christopher Lloyd and Kathy Bates, and “inspired by the wit of Shel Silverstein and wisdom of William Shakespeare,” this bittersweet love story in verse features a dead old man who wants to say a last goodbye to his wife.

Flowers for Jupiter
(dir. Chris Mars; U.S.A., 2011, 6 min.)
East Coast Premiere
Blending multiple animation styles and live action, renowned visual artist and former Replacements drummer Chris Mars brings his surreal vision to life in this beautifully creepy and macabre tale of a young girl who has lost a finger in an accident she can barely remember.

Summer Bummer
(dir. Bill Plympton; U.S.A., 2011, 2 min.)
Southeast Premiere
A man with a case of shark paranoia hesitates before diving into a pool. Classic Bill!

Dr. Breakfast
(dir. Stephen Neary; U.S.A., 2011, 7 min.)
Southeast Premiere
A surreal meditation on the quirky but rejuvenating nature of friendship. When a man’s soul bursts out of his eyeball and roams the earth on a destructive path, two wild deer care for his catatonic body.

Tales of Mere Existence: “Random Observations About Sex” & “Sick of This
(dir. Lev Yilmaz; U.S.A., 2011, 6 min.)
World Premiere
Past Florida Film Festival multiple Audience Award-winner Lev from San Francisco returns with two more one-of-a-kind commentaries on sex, relationships, and the state of things: “Random Observations About Sex” and “Sick of This.”

Floyd the Android – “Dim Bulb
(dir. Jonathan Lyons; U.S.A., 2011, 2 min.)
An enterprising robot must change a light bulb in a display at the top of an extremely tall skyscraper.

Reddish Brown, Blueish Green
(dir. Samantha Gurry; U.S.A., 2011, 3 min.)
Southeast Premiere
Inspired by a baby book found on the street in Philadelphia, this unique work uses found objects as a catalyst to explore a family’s destructive journey through childhood.

Bedtime for Timmy
(dirs. Thomas Nicol, Becky Griesheimer; U.S.A., 2010, 3 min.)
Florida Premiere
It’s not easy to get to sleep when you’re convinced there’s a monster in the room.

It’s Such a Beautiful Day
(dir. Don Hertzfeldt; U.S.A., 2012, 23 min.)
Bill finds himself in a hospital struggling with memory problems in this stunningly adventurous conclusion to the two-time Best Animated Short Grand Jury Award-winning trilogy by Enzian/Florida Film Festival veteran Don Hertzfeldt (Everything Will Be OK and I Am So Proud of You).

With a total running time of 91 minutes, International Animated Shorts will be seen at 5:45 Saturday, April 21 at Regal Winter Park Village B and 1 p.m. Sunday, April 22 at Enzian. This is what’s on tap:

Things You’d Better Not Mix Up
(dir. Joost Lieuwma; Netherlands, 2010, 2 min.)
North American Premiere
Sometimes you just have to point out the obvious. Charming beyond all measure, this light-hearted romp offers one chuckle after another.

The Last Norwegian Troll
(dir. Pjotr Sapegin; Norway, 2010, 13 min.)
Southeast Premiere
Humble is the Norwegian landscape in this whimsical tale of a once-young troll who wakes up old and alone in the modern world. Featuring the voice of Max von Sydow.

(dir. Richard Mans; New Zealand, 2011, 5 min.)
East Coast Premiere
The world was once a bleak and desolate place. When a band of imaginative sci-fi creatures arrives, they bear the secret of life and all its beauty.

(dir. Juan Pablo Zaramella; Argentina, 2011, 6.5 min.)
Florida Premiere
A common man has a secret plan to escape the clockwork of his life. When his beautiful and equally inventive co-worker discovers his ploy, she shows him it takes two to tango.

(dir. Blanca Esteve; Spain, 2011, 1.5 min.)
In Spanish with English subtitles
Southeast Premiere
Morphing black and white imagery complements this poem about a special kind of woman.

A Morning Stroll
(dir. Grant Orchard; United Kingdom, 2011, 7 min.)
This nifty little chicken never misses his morning stroll. Winner of the Sundance 2012 Jury Prize in Animated Short Film and nominated for the 2011 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Bride Can
(dir. Ronak Taher; Australia/Iran, 2011, 7 min.)
East Coast Premiere/Second U.S. Screening
Blunt and artful criticisms on gender oppression and the objectification of women in Iranian society are the subjects of this surreal, Python-esque animated work.

The Maker
(dir. Christopher Kezelos; Australia, 2011, 5 min.)
Florida Premiere
Recognizing your purpose in life can make for a lonesome reality. The puppet and the puppet-maker rely heavily on one another in this harsh, romantic tale.

The Holy Chicken of Life and Music
(dir. Nomint; Greece, 2011, 3 min.)
Southeast Premiere
There is no reason. There is only the chicken.

(dir. Tor Fruergaard; Denmark, 2011, 8 min.)
In Danish with English subtitles
Southeast Premiere
A claymation couple attempts to reignite their sex life by visiting an illicit swingers lounge. Adultery has never looked so adorable.

Prita Noire [Black Doll]
(dir. Sofia Carrillo; Mexico, 2011, 8 min.)
In Spanish with English subtitles
Florida Premiere
Prita’s curiosity pushes her to break the boundaries of her strange and confined existence.

Robots of Brixton
(dir. Kibwe Tavares; United Kingdom, 2011, 5.5 min.)
East Coast Premiere/Second U.S. Screening
Sitting on the brink of a social collapse, the youth of this futuristic city are thrust into chaos when police forces invade, and the strained inner-city populace erupts into violence echoing that of 1981.

The Goat and the Well
(dir. Ben Cady; United Kingdom, 2010, 5 min.)
East Coast Premiere
A determined little goat wreaks havoc on a grouchy old lady fetching water and milk.

The Gloaming
(dir. Nobrain; France, 2010, 14 min.)
East Coast Premiere
A man who wakes up stranded in a desert plain stumbles across an odd puddle. From the moment he molds it into his world, he’s lost control of its fate… and his.

Also at the FFF, Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer Barry Levinson will present Liberty Heights and engage the audience in a live Q&A. Foodies will unite for a one-of-a-kind discussion on books, blogs, TV and film provided by culinary superstars Marcel Vigneron (Syfy Network’s Marcel’s Quantum Kitchen, Bravo’s Top Chef), Chad J. Galiano, Gui Alinat, Jeff Potter and Martha Hall Foose.

The complete schedule of films and events is officially launched and available online at Ticket prices start at $10.

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