Friday, 5 June 2009

annecy animation festival

Image from 'Yulia' by Antoine Arditti

Every year since 2005 I've been attending the big animation festival in Annecy, France. This year, like damn fools, we decided not to go. When I received the newsletter a couple of weeks ago it made me feel quite sad that I wasn't going to be there trying to crash parties that I'm not cool enough to attend, or eating delicious apricot pastries for breakfast. I have great memories of swimming, walking, eating out and, of course, sitting in that magnificent Grande Salle watching films. Last year we stayed in a stunning 17th century loft apartment with beams and a view across the rooftops of the old town. I bet the weather will be great this year too - we froze our arses off in the lake last year :-/ I'm not bitter or anything, not me.

Image from 'Spãrni un Airi' by Vladimir Leschiov

It starts this Monday and I've been looking around the short film selection to see what looks interesting. Only two out of forty films are British this year - pretty poor, really! One is the latest Wallace and Gromit film and the other is this colourful one below, by the Brothers McLeod and titled 'Codswallop':

I have to say very few of the short films have impressed me in the last couple of years. I recall a discussion with one of my tutors at university about the quality of the short films at the big festivals and how he thought that a lot of them were chosen for their style over substance. For him, the key to a short film should always, always be the story. Whether it's serious, funny, factual or whatever, inspirational content and good storytelling should always be at its heart. Last year's winner of the Annecy Cristal (and an Oscar too!) was a Japanese film, 'The House of Small Cubes' by Kunio Katō. It was both beautiful to look at and carried by a very sweet story that was just on the right side of sentimental. Click here to watch it (image below).

Of course, the graduation films are usually a better prospect - I think students haven't had the time to disappear up their own arses about their 'art' yet and often make refreshing use of an old medium. The commercial films (TV ads, music videos) are a lot of fun too.

In fact, whilst putting this post together, I discovered that my supertalented, lovely friend Mia Nilsson and Linda Kalcov made a music video for One Eskimo, and it will be screened at Annecy this year. Well done ladies - I'm so jealous! Click here to watch a clip from this lovely, whimsical video.

Image from 'One Eskimo - Kandi' by Linda Kalcov and Mia Nilsson.

Phew, that was a long post! I'm off for a couple of days in the Cotswolds (in the rain :-/). See you after the weekend!

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