An­i­ma­tion alert

AWAS! is a plat­form aim­ing to widen the world of in­die an­i­ma­tion.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ART - By ROUWEN LIN star2@thes­tar.com.my

AWAS! sounds like a bit of a non- con­form­ist event from the start. Even be­fore you know what it is, you find out what it is not.

“What it is not is a fes­ti­val, be­cause fes­ti­vals tend to ‘ cater to peo­ple in the know,’” says Ital­ian- born graphic de­signer and il­lus­tra­tor Fabrizio Gi­lardino, who is one of the co- or­gan­is­ers of AWAS! in Kuala Lumpur.

“I’ve al­ways thought that fes­ti­vals in gen­eral are some sort of ghet­tos. Ev­ery year the same bunch of peo­ple go to see, lis­ten to, or watch what their peers have done. It is like preach­ing to the con­verted, in a cer­tain way,” he says.

AWAS! strives to go be­yond this.

It is a ren­dezvous for an­i­ma­tion fans, a week- long ex­plo­ration of the world of an­i­ma­tion, in the broad­est sense of the word.

AWAS! runs at Fin­dars Art Space and Rak­sasa Print Stu­dio in Kuala Lumpur un­til March 15.

“An­i­ma­tion com­bines so many el­e­ments. It is about paint­ing and il­lus­tra­tion, graphic de­sign and ty­pog­ra­phy, cin­e­matog­ra­phy and edit­ing, mu­sic and sound de­sign, sto­ry­telling and po­etry,” adds Gi­lardino, who now di­vides his time be­tween Mon­treal in Canada and South­East Asia.

“As French poet Robert Fil­liou so bril­liantly put it: ‘ Art is what makes life more in­ter­est­ing than art.’”

This first edi­tion of AWAS!, boast­ing an in­ter­na­tional lineup of al­most 50 an­i­mated shorts from around the world, is packed into five dif­fer­ent pro­grammes. It in­cludes an ex­hi­bi­tion fea­tur­ing draw­ings on pa­per as well as cel­lu­loid and dig­i­tal prints, and a work­shop on sound de­sign by Ital­ian sound de­signer and an­i­ma­tion his­to­rian An­drea Mar­tignoni.

Ad­di­tion­ally, there will be a comic book launch ( Poop! by Huagu­oshan), a screen­ing of the Chi­nese fea­ture- length an­i­ma­tion movie, Princess Iron Fan, with live mu­sic ac­com­pa­ni­ment, and a screen­ing of an ex­per­i­men­tal film from 10 Euro­pean an­i­ma­tors, which in­volves draw­ing on film cel­lu­loid.

With such a wide- rang­ing pro­gramme spread across two venues, how would Gi­lardino sum up what AWAS! is?

“A won­der­ful as­sem­blage of sur­prises,” he of­fers.

“AWAS! is dif­fer­ent from a con­ven­tional fes­ti­val not just be­cause there is no com­pe­ti­tion and no win­ners as in cinema fes­ti­vals, but also be­cause it tries to bring an­i­ma­tion to a much broader au­di­ence. We want to reach out as much as pos­si­ble ... to grab the at­ten­tion of art lovers,” he adds.

But how much can a blip on the radar do? Cre­ate aware­ness? Sus­tain long- term in­ter­est?

For AWAS!, the screen­ing of shorts in in­for­mal set­tings, from an art gallery and per­for­mance space to a print­ing stu­dio and cafe, could very well do the trick – or at least be a step in the right di­rec­tion.

“When I started to col­lab­o­rate with Fin­dars a cou­ple of years back, we thought we could try to do some­thing a lit­tle big­ger.”

The ear­lier screen­ings, ac­cord­ing to Gi­lardino, boasted a good turnout, which served as a mo­ti­va­tion to go big.

“I am par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in giv­ing an­i­ma­tion shorts a longer life as most of them are only shown at a few fes­ti­vals around the world and then they sort of dis­ap­pear from the pub­lic eye,” he says.

Kuala Lumpur may be where it all starts, but there are plans to bring AWAS! to other Malaysian cities and be­yond.

“We can take it, per­haps, even to other South- East Asian cities such as Bangkok, Ph­nom Penh, Vi­en­tiane or Hanoi. It would be good to es­tab­lish a net­work of peo­ple and venues in­ter­ested in such a ven­ture,” he shares.

AWAS! is a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort be­tween Dust Breed­ing ( Gi­lardino and Mar­tignoni), Ban­nai Roo and Tey Beng Tze from Fin­dars Art Space, and Jane Stephanny and Juli­enne Mei Tan from Rak­sasa Print Stu­dio in Kuala Lumpur, and Lim Keh Soon from Huagu­oshan, with the help of Sim Hoi Ling.

AWAS! runs un­til March 15 ( screen­ings are from March 9 to 13) at Fin­dars Art Space ( No. 8, 4th floor, Jalan Pang­gong, Kuala Lumpur) and rak­sasa Print Stu­dio ( 9- 1, Jalan telawi 2, 1st Floor, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur). tick­ets are rM15 per screen­ing ( can be pur­chased at the door) or rM50 ( ex­clud­ing an rM2 pro­cess­ing fee) for a five­day pass ( pur­chase on­line: rak­sas­aprint. com). Face­book: Fin­dars and rak­sasa Print Stu­dio.

Es­to­nian artist Anu- Laura Tut­tle­berg’s Fly Mill, which is a stop mo­tion pup­pet an­i­ma­tion film.

Pho­tos: AWAS!

Two film stills from Ger­many- based di­rec­tor Maria Stein­metz’s whim­si­cal Der Wech­sel­balg.

A still from the col­lec­tive pro­ject ‘ re­cy­cling’ by Serbian artist rastko ciric.

Va­le­rio Spinelli’s Pan­de­mo­nio, a cGI short.

Ital­ian film­maker and de­signer roberto catani’s an­i­ma­tion work La testa tra Le Nu­v­ole.

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