Fear and Toon­ing in Venice

Car­toons on the Bay puts Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion at the top of its bil­let, which is well-rounded with cel­e­bra­tions of Ital­ian and global an­i­ma­tion hits. By Thomas J. Mclean

Animation Magazine - - International -

Af­ter a year off, Car­toons on the Bay is back and ready for its 17th edi­tion in Italy’s famed Bride of the Sea: Venice.

With fear in car­toons as its theme for this year, Car­toons on the Bay of­fers a ro­bust pro­gram with more than 600 sub­mis­sions yield­ing 45 com­pe­ti­tion fi­nal­ists rep­re­sent­ing more than 40 coun­tries.

The three-day event, set for April 10-12, will be held this year in the his­toric Pa l a z z o Labia , which fea­tures fres­coes painted by Gio­vanni Bat­tista Tiepolo.

The fes­ti­val has cho­sen Rus­sia as the guest coun­try for this year’s event, a pick artis­tic di­rec­tor Roberto Gen­ovesi says was made long be­fore cur­rent events landed the na­tion on front pages around the world, and is based solely on the qual­ity of an­i­ma­tion com­ing out of the coun­try.

“We thought about Rus­sia a long time ago,” he says. “The Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try has seen great growth in the last 10 years. There is a lot of in­de­pen­dent work, a lot of new se­ries and movies and at­ten­tion to new forms of writ­ings. So it was nor­mal to think about Rus­sia for an in­ten­sive fo­cus.”

That fo­cus in­cludes honor­ing Rus­sia with a Pul­cinella Spe­cial Award, and at­ten­dance from top Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion di­rec­tors such as Alek­sandr Petrov, four-time Os­car nom­i­nee and jury mem­ber Kon­stantin Bronzit, Ivan Maximov, Igor Ko­va­lyov and Vadim Sot­skov.

Petrov, whose cred­its in­clude win­ning an Os­car for best an­i­mated short for 1999’s The Old Man and the Sea, will re­ceive the Pul­cinella Award for Life­time Achieve­ment. A sec­ond life­time achieve­ment award will be given to the Ar­gen­tinean an­i­ma­tor Guillermo Mordillo, known mostly as Mordillo.

Petrov was born in Rus­sia, where he grad­u­ated from the State In­sti­tute of Cin­ema and Tele­vi­sion and be­gan a ca­reer in an­i­ma­tion. But it was in Canada that he reached suc­cess with the an­i­mated adap- tation of Ernest Hem­ing­way’s The Old Man and the Sea. The 20-minute short was made from 29,000 frames, each hand painted in oils on glass and then pho­tographed in IMAX. In ad­di­tion to the Os­car, it won the Grand Prix at An­necy. His sec­ond film, My Love, was dis­trib­uted by Stu­dio Ghi­bli in 2006, and he is cur­rently seek­ing funds for his third project from his home in Yaroslavl, north­east of Moscow.

Pro­gram­ming fo­cus­ing on Rus­sian an­i­ma­tion in­cludes a large panel on Fri­day morn­ing fea­tur­ing Maximov, Ko­va­lyov and Sot­skov. The fes­ti­val also will screen ret­ro­spec­tives of films and shorts of some of the most im­por­tant Rus­sian stu­dios, like Mel­nitsa An­i­ma­tion, Toon­box, An­i­ma­tion Stu­dio Moskva, Pchela Stu­dio and Klasky- Csupo.

Head­ing up the jury for this year’s com­pe­ti­tion is Ital­ian film di­rec­tor Fausto Brizzi, di­rec­tor of Night Be­fore Ex­ams, Ex and Crazy About Me. Also on the jury, along­side Brizzi and Bronzit, are Gior­gio Cavaz­zano, James Capobianco and Richard Rouse.

“I chose fig­ures with ex­pe­ri­ence in the world of comics (like Cavaz­zano), in the world of videogames (like Rouse) along­side di­rec­tors and artists with proven ex­pe­ri­ence in the field of car­toons (like Capobianco or Bronzit) but also a well known di­rec­tor of live-ac­tion films that knows very well the world of young people (like Fausto Brizzi),” says Gen­ovesi. “It’s a mix of view­points.”

The fes­ti­val com­pe­ti­tion of­fers a Pul­cinella Award in nine cat­e­gories: TV se­ries for preschool, TV se­ries for kids, TV se­ries for teens, hy­brid TV se­ries, ed­u­ca­tional and so­cial is­sues work, TV pi­lot, ad­ver­tis­ing and pro­mo­tional work, in­ter­ac­tive an­i­ma­tion and short film. Additional screen­ings out­side the com­pe­ti­tion are set in each cat­e­gory.

“We have not made any changes be­cause the fes­ti­val by its na­ture is a fes­ti­val that stud­ies the changes of lan­guages and for­mats,” says Gen­ovesi. “Pul­cinella Awards are our trade­mark from our ori­gins. Ev­ery­thing else is al­ways evolv­ing.”

Two spe­cial awards will be pre­sented this year, with Peppa Pig hon­ored as Phe­nom­e­non of the Year, while Iginio Straffi, cre­ator of the pop­u­lar TV se­ries Winx Club, will re­ceive the Pul­cinella Spe­cial Award to cel­e­brate its 10th an­niver­sary.

Ad­di­tion­ally, an Ital­ian Stu­dio of the Year award will go to Mad En­ter­tain­ment, the cre­ative stu­dio that pro­duced The Art of Hap­pi­ness by Alessan­dro Rak.

In­ter­na­tional guests this year in­clude Scott Ross, founder of Dig­i­tal Do­main and a pioneer of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies in vis­ual ef­fects, and Ali­son Nor­ring­ton, founder of Sto­ry­tellers, a world­wide ref­er­ence for the de­vel­op­ment of trans­me­dia projects. Spe­cial screen­ings in­clude the anime fea­ture The Gar­den of Words, di­rected by Makoto Shinkai; a pre­view of Juan Cam­panella’s an­i­mated fea­ture Un­der­dogs; a screen­ing of Pet Pals in Wind­land from Gruppo Al­cuni; a pre­view of The Nut Job; and the Ital­ian pre­miere of Scooby Doo!: Wrestle­Ma­nia Mys­tery. Visit car­toons­bay.com/en to learn more.

My Love The Old Man and the Sea Alek­sandr Petrov

Roberto Gen­ovesi

Guillermo Mordillo

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