If you thought that animations are just for children, think again. The London International Animation Festival will showcase a handpicked selection of movies that will challenge that theory – and give the audience the opportunity to catch up on the freshest, provocative and entertaining films from around the world alongside celebrating the history of this filmmaking technique.
The festival, first started in January 2004, will take over a few London cinemas for ten days and nights. However, it’s more than film screenings – those who are interested in animation can participate in Q&As with filmmakers, workshops, seminars, competitions and UK premieres. Now, it’s the biggest animation festival in the UK, one of the most accessible film festivals price-wise, that works in cooperation with such venues as Barbican or Renoir Cinema. The series of events began to tour – and the city where it originated will jump back into the animated world on the 1st of December.
“Animation can be serious, funny, sad, weird and sometimes all of these together. Persuasive, illustrative and able to get over abstract details in attractive and compelling ways, animation is the perfect tool to document someone’s vision of the truth,” says Nag Vladermersky, Director of the London International Film Festival. “LIAF screens about 250 of the world’s best short animated films – every possible genre, technique and style – that speak to audiences of all ages.”
What’s on this year? The LIAF will present five critically-acclaimed animations that have huge chances of entering the Oscar race this year – Under Your Fingers, Blind Vaysha, Happy End, The Head Vanishes and Once Upon A Line. There’s also a music video section, highlights of British animation, a classic Disney shorts selection and a British premiere of Momotaro – Secret Soldiers which is Japan’s first ever feature anime. The full schedule is available here.
“Over the course of six months viewing of the films, having many heated conversations over beer and pizza, we whittle these films down to the 128 that are screening in competition this year,” Nag explains. This year, the submissions flooded in from 39 countries and the best of the best made it to the list of the 128 films screened during the festival.
After eight screenings, the industry judges and the audience will announce the winner during the final gala, showing Best of the Festival during one of two popular showings. Every year, the jury receives around 2,500 films from around the world – and here’s where the tough task of deciding which ones made it to the ultimate shortlists.
If you want to have a peek behind the scenes of the work of an animator or you’re looking to improve your craft, you can participate in the workshops organised by the Edge of Frame – these include weekend seminars and talks in Whitechapel Gallery and Close-Up Film Centre.