Annecy 2017 Adds Two New Shorts Competitions
Three of the out-of-competition programs will be replaced at the 2017 Annecy festival by two new competition sections: Young Audience and Perspectives.
The Young Audience competition will offer a new prize, with the winner decided by a Junior Jury.
Perspectives is focused on helping new creatives, emerging films and those produced in collaboration or offering a singular perspective on the world we live in and the state of animation. This award will be juried by three art students who will provide a contemporary point of view on the two programs in this section. The Dam Keeper
Usually, when we say a parent and child are similar, we mean it as a good thing. But sometimes, as in this short film from Spain, there are drawbacks as well. Alike is about a father-son duo — the son wants to play and have fun, while the father works constantly and tries to inspire a similar seriousness in his son. The resolution of this conflict is clever and real.
What is your occupation? Lara — I am the founder of Pepe School Land, an animation school based in Barcelona. Usually I combine the classes with creating tools for animation and making animation shorts. Méndez — I studied at Daniel’s school some years ago. Right now, I’m working as animator on a feature film at Ilion Animation Studios.
Where did the idea for the short come from and why did you decide to tell the story in animation? Méndez — The idea comes from Dani’s own experiences as a father. He told me about the possibility of working hand by hand directing a short film about the relationship between a father and his son. The idea of being able to get involved in a personal project excited me.
How long did it take to finish the movie?: From the white page to the final DCP, we have invested around five years of our life in Alike. The script and the preproduction took us two years of work. Then we needed three additional years to animate, rendering and compositing.
What tools did you use?: Méndez — We mainly used opensource tools like Blender.
Has your film been shown publicly? If so, where?: Alike has been shown in more than 254 film festivals worldwide.
Has your film won any awards? We have won the Goya Spanish Academic Award in 2016 and has been nominated for Cartoon d’Or. It has gathered more than 50 international awards.
What are your future animation plans?: Méndez — I need to unwind from the effort of investing such a big amount of time in a personal project. I would like to keep learning while working in a big studio to be able to apply that knowledge to further personal projects. Lara — I have a couple new ideas for short films in mind, but right now I am working on developing new animation tools with the idea of using them in new projects, of course. [
Ho-ho-hold on to your credit scores, kids. ’Tis the season to go shopping, so we’ve made a list and checked it twice to make sure it’s nothing but new must-have items for animation aficionados. [Thames & Hudson, $82 list | $55 Kindle] CalArts Experimental Animation program director Maureen Furniss has crafted an essential, comprehensive overview of this pervasive field for both students and the public. After struggling through years of teaching without finding one animation history book that covered everything she wanted to present, Furniss has used her own extensive database of lecture notes to create this one. From 17th century magic lantern shows to the rise of CGI, A New History of Animation tells the story of animation’s technical and artistic evolution. Readers will be introduced to practices spanning the industrial to the indie, in an array of techniques and originating from all corners of the globe — analyzed and placed within historical contexts by a practiced instructor. By Ray Pointer [McFarland & Co, $40] The Art of Archer By Neal Holman [Dey Street Books, $30] The Art of Moana By Jessica Julius & Maggie Malone [Chronicle Books, $40] The Best American Comics 2016 Edited by Roz Chast [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25] Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters [Insight Editions, $30] Independent Animation: Developing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films The Pokémon Cookbook: Easy & Fun Recipes By Maki Kudo [VIZ Media, $15] Steven Universe: The Answer By Rebecca Sugar [Cartoon Network Books, $10]
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The history of animation is as wide-ranging as the medium is limitless, making it difficult to find teaching materials that cover the topic in any kind of cohesive or comprehensive way. That is, at least in part, what motivated Maureen Furniss, director of Cal Arts’ experimental animation program and the instructor of its animation history class, to coalesce as much of the medium’s story as possible into the textbook A New History of Animation, published in September by Thames & Hudson.
Furniss’ serious interest in animation dates back to a somewhat random incident while a graduate student at San Diego State University. “I was listening to the radio station and I won some tickets to the La Jolla Museum of Comtemporary Art and at that time they showed the Spike & Mike traveling festivals,” she says. “I went down there and brought a friend and I couldn’t believe it. I had always enjoyed animation, but when I saw it, I thought that is what I want to do.”
But she found herself more attracted to teaching and writing about animation than making it herself. That led her to USC and historian William Moritz, who taught animation history at CalArts prior to Furniss’ joining the school’s staff in 2005. “I had actually taught for Bill when he was sick, just for one semester,” she says. “Eventually he was no longer able to teach and they did a search and I got the position, so I’ve been here following in my mentor’s footsteps for 11 years.”
She says her motivation for writing the book was to cover the full breadth and depth of the industry and not just the well-traveled terrain of the works of major American studios.
“I like to think about animation history as a really broad thing, not just big studios or not just theatrical types of things, but also TV and a lot of the areas that don’t get written about very often,” she says. “I felt like there was so much animation history that wasn’t being documented and I felt like I was in a good position to put it up there.”
At first, Furniss says the idea was to put this history online for her students, until she men- tioned it to the publisher of her previous book and they thought it would work as a textbook.
Starting with her class notes, the writing took about three years, with the emphasis switching from writing to revising near the end of the project.
Some of the biggest challenges were having to decide what works to include and what to omit, as well as how to handle newly developing areas of an art form that is growing by leaps and bounds, both creatively and technologically, all over the world. That’s one reason why international animation gets more attention in her book, especially with so many students coming to study animation at CalArts from abroad.
“I always feel really bad only focusing on American stuff because it gives the impression there’s nothing worthwhile in their own countries’ production history, and that’s far from the truth in most cases,” she says. “And the realm of TV animation gets overlooked and so many of our students are working in that realm. The whole perception of TV has shifted a lot and the books don’t necessarily reflect that.”
And the response from students is very positive, Furniss says. “Not everything is going to appeal to every student, obviously, but when they do find something they like, they tend to dig deep,” she says. “Sometimes it’s the random piece that you don’t know is going to be the turning point for somebody, but they look at it and say, ‘I want to do something like that in my own work.’ Years later they’ll come back and say, we watched Harry Smith or we watched Bob Clampett, or Norman McLaren, and I hadn’t seen it before and it made me want to do what I do now. It’s a pretty cool feeling, actually.” [
17Today’s discs: Long Way North, LEGO Nexo Knights: Book of Monsters, LEGO Jurassic World: The Indominus Escape, Fairy Tail: Collection Six BD, Thomas & Friends: Up, Up & Away!