“Nearly everything is new. we have about 300 films, and more than half of these films have never been premiered in Belgium.”
These are the words of Doris Cleven, director of Anima 2018, as she lays out the nuances of this year’s animated festival.
Anima is a yearly animation festival that takes place in Brussels. It is the biggest in Brussels and indeed Belgium, so it always attracts world-class talent to the comic capital. This year, they will provide not only an insight into the directors of the films but show the intricacies of the process of animation and creation.
With Anima 2018 getting underway today, let’s examine what’s special about this year’s festival and how everything is lined up to make it one of the most extravagant to date.
This year’s festival will have a combination of shorts, feature films, director talks, exhibitions and even live animation designs.
There will be films held throughout each day of these two weeks, playing from morning to night. Many films shown are yet to be judged or awarded, so audiences get the chance to act as unofficial critics, having first glances of the films and weighing up their character before they gain the prestige from the festival.
With a special focus being on Estonian animation. To celebrate 100 years of the country’s independence, Estonian animators have sent seven films to be screened throughout the festival. Excited by the fact, Doris exclaimed: “they approached us and asked to appear at our festival, and we immediately accepted; as Estonian animation is known in the industry for being exceptional.”
Each year, around 60 directors come from abroad to the festival, and this year, there will be some of the biggest names of animation in attendance: Peter Lord, from the famous Aardman studio that created Wallace and Gromit, director of Oscar-nominated film Red Turtle, Michael Dudock de Wit, and with director Michel Ocelot of the classic animation Kirikou and the Sorceress director, there will be many older audience members revealing in wonder and nostalgia. Many of these directors will be hosting a Q&A with a screening of their films or even a masterclass in animation, allowing greater interaction between audience and artist.
There are also exhibitions of many elements of the animated films, giving attendees a completely rounded view of the animation and further immersing them into the artform. Highly appraised film Loving Vincent, a movie told through paintings, will not only have an exhibition of the paintings that were used in the film, but one of the film’s artists is in attendance and will be painting scenes and compiling them into an animated segment as a live audience watch – giving a tremendous and nuanced insight into the skill and patience that goes into each animated film feature at the festival. And some Estonian studios have even sent some of the puppets used in the animation for an exhibition too.
As for the future of the festival, “We don’t want to set expectations, as that might get in the way of our preparation for the festival and make us too rigid to be able to chose films that we might later discover” says Doris, “but as with all of the Anima festivals, we go through such meticulous planning and selecting of the films and inviting of the directors that the audience is never left underwhelmed and always thrilled“