Lights, camera, animation!

Presented today, Catalonia’s international animation festival will focus on music and premier two Oscar-nominated films starting February 22

A still from the animated short 'Vibrato' from animator and director Sébastien Laudenbach (January 24 2018, courtesy of Animac)
A still from the animated short 'Vibrato' from animator and director Sébastien Laudenbach (January 24 2018, courtesy of Animac) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 6, 2018 02:02 PM

Catalonia’s international animation film festival (Animac) was presented on Tuesday in the western town of Lleida, where the event itself will be held from February 22 to 25. The festival's objective, for its 21st edition, is to surpass the 23,000 spectators and participants from the year before, as explained by Lleida mayor, Àngel Ros. 

Lleida Animac

Over these four days, Animac will show 312 audiovisual pieces, selected by the organization from the 747 that were received, the highest number of submissions the festival has ever seen. The works to be shown include 8 feature-length films, 209 shorts, 14 TV pieces, 31 videoclips and 50 Open Screen pieces. 

The role music plays

Each year, the event leans more towards a particular theme, and this 2018 edition will be dedicated to music. The event will indeed kick off with the Japanese ‘Animation for Vivaldi’s Four Seasons,’ made up of four musical shorts by four independent animators, with live music from the Julià Carbonell Lleida Symphonic Orchestra (OJC).

This just opens the doors to an in-depth look at the role that music plays in animation. The festival has in fact invited prestigious Canadian composer and sound designer, Normand Roger, who will speak from his 45 years of experience in the field. Additionally, attendees will be able to enjoy retrospectives, special projections, sessions with live music, and a masterclass with Roger himself.

A varied schedule

Also giving masterclasses will be renowned names in the field like Zacarías M. de la Riva, Ben Locket, Tal Gadon, Jean Luc Slock, Floex, Milen Alempijevic, and Juanjo Sáez. This year, the event will also host several workshops, along with the spaces Networking and Pitch, appropriately named to facilitate animation professionals. Visitors will also be able to see Animacrea, booths where attendees (including more than 200 students from Animac Campus) will be able to try their hand at the artwork themselves. 

Animac doesn't forget the age range where animation touched many the most: childhood. Petit Animac is in fact just for the little ones, projecting age-appropriate films. This section has shown a record registration, with 11,000 schoolchildren from the Lleida district. 

‘The Breadwinner’

Animac 2018 will also premier the celebrated animated film ‘The Breadwinner,’ recently nominated for both the Oscars and the Golden Globes Awards for Best Animated Feature-Length Film. The piece is directed by Irish filmmaker Nora Twomey, known for the intricately rendered ‘The Secret of Kells’ and ‘Song of the Sea.’

The Breadwinner

‘The Breadwinner’ is perhaps gaining an even larger fame, produced by Angelina Jolie, and dealing with issues such as poverty, feminism, conflict, and the beauty of Afghanistan. It tells the story of Parvana, an 11-year old girl living in the war-torn capital of Kabul. Faced with the arrest of her father and the oppression of women, we follow Parvana through a coming-of-age story that reveals much about the world today.

High art and Japanese animation

The 22nd edition of the Animac festival will also show the already-renowned ‘Loving Vincent’ animation about the celebrated painter, also nominated at the Oscars and Golden Globes. The film caught the eye of both animation and art-lovers alike: known for being akin to a Van Gogh painting come to life, it comprises 56,800 stills of actual hand-rendered paintings done over years, inspired by the Dutch artist.

For fans who prefer a more Japanese animation style, there’s also the winner of the Best Feature-Length at the Annency 2017 festival, ‘Lu Over the Wall.’ Directed by Masaaki Yuasa, it tells the story of a young student whose life changes once he meets Lu, a mermaid. 

Masters of animated fairy tales

The event will also be presented in Barcelona on February 6 at the cultural CCCB centre. In the Catalan capital presentation, attendees will be able to see the Quay brothers, American directors known for their unique and ground-breaking animation, an otherworldly style that influenced names like Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam.

The Quay brothers

The two will also be joined by French animator and director Sébastien Laudenbach, the mind behind ‘La jeune fille sans mains,’ (or ‘The Girl Without Hands’ in English), adapted from the Grimm brothers fairy tale and winner of various European animation awards.

Sébastien Laudenbach