The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows Press Kit
“Animation is such a flexible and open-ended medium that it lends itself to exploring the innumerable aspects of what it means to be human,” says founder and curator Ron Diamond. “And this year’s program, as much as any of our past presentations, really illuminates human strengths and foibles, and the bonds that unite us across cultures and generations.”
The show has a running time of 98 minutes and includes 15 films, four of which have qualified for Academy Award® consideration *. The complete lineup, in order of appearance, is:
The power of family ties, and specifically the enduring connection between parents and children, are sensitively evoked in Hikari Toriumi’s deeply affecting “Polaris,” about a young polar bear leaving home for the first time. “One Small Step,” Bobby Pontillas and Andrew Chesworth’s inspiring story of a Chinese-American girl’s dream of being an astronaut, centers on her evolving relationship with her father. The beautifully designed “Weekend,” by Trevor Jimenez, explores the complex emotional landscape of a young boy and his recently divorced parents, as he shuttles between their very different homes and lives.
The darker side of relationships is forcefully explored in Veronica Solomon’s “Love Me, Fear Me,” a tour de force of claymation that uses dance to delve into the lengths people go to to deceive each other and try to pass for something they’re not. Eusong Lee’s “My Moon” takes a more cosmic and lighthearted approach to a troubled relationship, limning a celestial love triangle played out by the sun, the moon, and the earth.
“Carlotta’s Face,” by Valentin Riedl and Frédéric Schuld, illuminates a different kind of relationship dysfunction in its sensitive portrayal of a woman who suffers from prosopagnosia, the inability to recognize faces, and her salvation through art.
Among the other program highlights are the very funny computer animation “The Green Bird,” winner of a 2018 Gold Student Academy Award® International Animation, which harks back to classic cartoons of the mid-20th century. Oscar-winning director John Kahrs’ “Age of Sail,” the latest in Google’s series of Spotlight Stories, chronicles the adventures of an old sailor who rescues a teenaged girl after she falls overboard. Alain Biet’s jaw-dropping “Grand Canons” is a dizzying symphonic celebration of everyday objects that uses finely detailed drawings created by the filmmaker. And two very short films, “Supergirl” and “Bullets,” take their inspiration from poems composed by surprisingly eloquent preschoolers.
*The producers of The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows advise parental discretion as one of the 15 animated short films has a chicken getting it’s head chopped off and the last film has two dramatic dream scenes (shot of a tv has an accidental propellor beheading and another shot with a stumbling man ablaze.)
THE 20th ANNUAL ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS represents the work of artists from six countries and includes six student films. Funny, moving, engaging, and thought-provoking, THE ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS not only has something for everyone, but is a remarkable and insightful microcosm of our world.
For 20 years, The ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS has been presenting new and innovative short films to appreciative audiences at animation studios, schools and, since 2015, theaters around the world. Over the years, 38 of the films showcased in The ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS went on to receive Academy Award® nominations, with 11 films winning the Oscar®.
Founded and curated by producer Ron Diamond, THE ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS is funded through private benefactors, including a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign and animation studios. THE ANIMATION SHOW OF SHOWS, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization founded in 2015 for the express purposes of increasing public awareness of exemplary international animated shorts and restoring and preserving important short animations from the past.
LENA BISHOP 323 464-7805
RON DIAMOND 323 791-9781
PRESS FOR HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGES AND INTERVIEWS CONTACT: RON.DIAMOND@ANIMATIONSHOWOFSHOWS.ORG
The Green Bird (2017) France
Maximilien Bougeois, Quentin Dubois, Marine Goalard, Irina Nguyen-Duc, Pierre Perveyrie
The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission in this mordantly funny computer animation, in which the eponymous character suffers an unfortunate series of setbacks when she finds herself a mother-to-be. Harking back to the classic cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s, “The Green Bird” features the great timing and superior slapstick that defined the mini-epics of the past and never gets old.
Influenced by his mother, a graphic artist and illustrator, Maximilien Bougeois first developed his sense of design and storytelling by drawing comics. He was inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft and comic artists such as Herge, Mike Mignola, Otomo and Moebius. He moved to animation to take advantage of the many possibilities of the medium, studying at MoPA (formerly Supinfocom), where he improved his skills in 3D animation and in character design. Since graduating, he has worked on preproduction for Locksmith Animation’s feature film “Ron’s Gone Wrong.”
Irina Nguyen grew up drawing, painting, and doing arts and crafts in a family where science and math where the main aspirations. In high school, she chose the fine arts option, focusing on plastic arts, photography and art history. After graduation, she spent a couple of years studying graphic design, print and architecture, finding inspiration in the work of Basquiat, Magritte, Escher, Banksy and Moebius, among others. Gradually, she discovered the world of animation, which felt like the best way to do what she loved best: creating characters and telling stories. After graduating from MoPA, she worked at Locksmith Animation Studio on the feature animation “Ron’s Gone Wrong” as a Look Development Artist.
“My goal in “The Green Bird” was to make a film that brought together snappy animation, realistic textures and stylized designs. My other desire was to invent and give life to an inspirational character. One of the big challenges in animating the character was to find the right balance between its fast, expressive head and heavy legs. I wanted to see the bird kind of dancing around its egg. My intention was to make this moment funny, but also keep it an extremely respectful moment between the egg and the mother. I put craziness, love, respect and dance into this moment. The film’s themes are mainly about goodwill and a parent’s instinct. I lost my grandmother during the production of the film, which made me think about loss and what humans need to create to move forward. It was important for us to say that if you can have compassion for the bird, then you can have it for everyone else around you. Finally, I always wanted to work as part of a creative team, where people are not working for themselves, but for something bigger. It reminded me of sports, in which everybody moves forward or steps back together." - Quentin Dubois
Quentin Dubois grew up in a small town in France, a location and culture that greatly influenced his artistic approach. After graduating from high school, he decided to learn how to make animated films because he loved the idea of mixing all kinds of arts into a single one. He also undertook his own art education by studying photography, painting, sculpture, street art, and cinema. He cites directors Christopher Nolan, Quentin Tarantino and Wes Anderson as particular influences. Quentin currently lives in Los Angeles, where he works at Buck Design, whose clients include Google, Facebook and Netflix.
“This movie was such a great experience for me, in that it allowed me to learn so much from my teammates. We all had a common vision of what we wanted the movie to be, but we also each had our own ideas that we managed to combine to create an appealing and funny character. All of us got to bring our own skill set to make it come to life. This is where I think we used the perfect medium. We got a great balance between the inspiration of real-life stop-motion shapes, while still being able to explore the flexibility that only CG has. It was my first time working with every member of the team, and even with our very strong and different opinions, we managed to figure out what was best for the film and learned how to pick the best of every idea. This is why I am so proud of the work we accomplished together!” - Marine Goalard
Marine Goalard was born in 1993, in Bruges, France. Growing up, she lived in a number of different places, including Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur, which allowed her to pick up artistic influences from very different cultures. She also developed an interest in computers and took oil painting lessons. After returning to France and graduating from high school, she received a degree in Design and Applied Art, and then attended MoPA to learn about filmmaking and animation. Here her interest in art and computers came together, as she discovered the countless possibilities offered by CG. After graduating, she worked as a lighting and compositing artist at Aardman Studios before moving to Montreal to work at MPC.
“One of the biggest challenges was to build the movie around only one character. We chose to work on a universal theme that touches every one of us: becoming a parent. It's a very inspiring subject because it covers substantially every human emotion. I think that our personal backgrounds were really helpful in creating our story. My parents divorced when I was quite young, so I spent the most of my childhood alone with my mother, which was a great source of inspiration in thinking about motherhood. It was very interesting transposing emotions related to parenthood to this bird, which seems so different from us, through its design. How will it react to fear, happiness, sadness, annoyance? It's these types of questions that brought us to imagine a lot of different funny situations. Beyond being a very valuable experience from a technical perspective, it was also a real human adventure. It is not easy to have five different personalities working on the same project, but it was our differences, as much as our similarities, that made this movie happen." - Pierre Perveyrie
As a young child, Pierre Perveyrie spent every Wednesday at his grandparents’ home, where he watched every classic Disney movie and developed a love of animation. In high school, he developed a second passion for math and science, and his teachers and family encouraged him to pursue a scientific career. Yet, after a year studying psychology and brain science, he made the difficult decision to change course and return to his first love, and he enrolled in animation school. Today, he has no regrets about this decision, feeling that by giving life to characters through animation, he is able to put his psychology background to good use, and that he has finally found the science that fits him best: the science of animation. Following his graduation from MoPA, Pierre moved to Paris to work at Mikros Animation Studio as a character animator artist on the feature film “Asterix: Le secret de la potion magique.”
One Small Step (2018) USA
Bobby Pontillas and Andrew Chesworth
A young Chinese-American girl yearns to be an astronaut in this touching story about the importance of pursuing your dreams and never giving up. Featuring a bold formal design and sharp visual style, “One Small Step” is a universal tale that reminds us that all dreams begin with a single step.
“One Small Step” is our love letter to everyone who chased that impossible dream, and the family that supported them through it. We wanted to reflect on the real personal costs of Luna's ambition of reaching the stars. Her relationships to her goals (and her father) change as life presents new realities. Dreams that seed in our hearts when we are young take on new meaning with experience and age. That core sentiment has defined my personal connection to this film. If I wanted to capture anything in “One Small Step,” it was the feeling I had on the day I told my mother that I had gotten a job as a Disney animator. That feeling, after over two decades, of reaching the potential of early childhood, and reflecting back on the people who got me there." - Andrew Chesworth
Andrew Chesworth grew up passionate about drawing, reading, music, and movies. His love for both the liberal arts and the visual arts led to his decision to pursue a career in animation. His diverse experiences directing short films and commercials in CG, 2D, and stop motion, as well as many years animating for Disney, define his broad artistic taste. Chesworth believes that stories worth telling can inspire people of any culture or background.
"For me, “One Small Step” is a thank you to my mother, Corazon Pontillas, who supported me in my pursuit of being an artist. All of us here at Taiko have worked hard to chase a dream, but none of that would've been possible without the support of our family and friends. My mother came to the United States from the Philippines to make her dreams happen, and that's inspired me more than she knows to persist after mine, even if I wasn't always the most grateful son. It was the honor of my life to get to work with the Taiko crew and tell our stories. I consider them both friends and family that supported me to live this dream." - Bobby Pontillas
Bobby Pontillas saw Disney's animated film Tarzan in 1999 and immediately knew that he wanted to be an animator. While his original dream was to be a hand-drawn animator, when that turned out to be untenable, he hunkered down and taught himself 3D animation. His first job was with the game company ArenaNet in Seattle, working on the “Guild Wars” franchise. For two years, he worked on games during the day while taking an online animation course at night. Upon completing the course, he was hired by Blue Sky Studios, where he worked on “Rio” and “Ice Age 4,” and, in 2011, he moved to California and joined the Walt Disney Animation Studios. At Disney, he worked as an animator on “Frozen,” “Feast,” “Big Hero 6” and “Zootopia,” and as a designer on “Moana,” before joining the “Tangled the Series” crew at Disney TV. At the beginning of 2017, he joined Shaofu Zhang and other artists in founding Taiko Studio.
Grands Canons (2018) France
Composed of thousands of drawings of familiar objects painstakingly created by the filmmaker, this extraordinary, compulsively watchable film is a symphonic celebration of materiality in its innumerable forms. Deriving its power from motion, rhythm and sheer abundance, “Grand Canons” defies easy description, joining the ranks of those animated shorts that must be experienced to be understood.
"Ten years ago, I gave myself a challenge: to draw to scale, in watercolor, all the objects that “enter my house” each day. This ever-expanding collection now includes about 5000 drawings. The objects I draw are the ones I am most familiar with. When you look at something for a long time, you reinvent what’s in front of you. In the same way that biologists, zoologists, botanists seek to understand the forms, colors, materials, anatomy, differences, internal logic of their subjects, so my drawing dissects each object and reinterprets it to make it interesting. Embracing these thousands of drawings, the film “Grands Canons” is a form of self-portrait, an "external self-portrait": all these things that are around me, drawn, reconstitute me.
The proliferation of images has changed our relationship to them. We are less attentive to them. One of the main goals of the film is to give the viewer an extreme “zapping” experience, while allowing him or her to perceive the singularity of each image. The film plays on the succession of drawings; their similarities and their slight variations allow a play of vibration, as in a gestural painting. This relationship to the very large quantity – of drawings, as well as the number of layouts between them – is tamed by geometric and rhythmic progression. Finally, the last sequence allows viewers to come out of their trance and consciously reclaim their own point of view on the images with which they’ve been confronted." - Alain Biet
Alain Biet graduated from the Orleans Beaux-Arts in 1982. A protean artist, he explores sculpture, photography, drawing, video, music, performance and more. Lecturer at Orleans Beaux-Arts from 1985 to 1990, he has since been teaching at Blois Beaux-Arts. He is a member of various collectives, including Oulan Bator in Orleans, works with La Fondation du Doute in Blois. He has taken part in, and organized, many contemporary art exhibitions and events in France, Italy and Belgium. “Grands Canons” is his first short film.
Barry (2018) USA
How many of us have passionately dedicated ourselves to achieving a particular career goal, only to have our dreams shattered simply because we were a quadruped? Probably not many, but that doesn’t mean we can’t relate to the underlying universality of this wry and touching moral tale of an aspiring doctor who triumphs over the prejudices of his critics through talent and tenacity.
"Although its main character is a goat, “Barry” is really a parable about the struggles of International people in foreign countries. As an International student in the US, I came up against many of the obstacles the character encounters, which is what inspired me to make the film. The challenging part was how to handle issues such as race, color, etc. without making the audience feel uncomfortable. Therefore, I chose to make this character non-human, and to add a little humor in order to make the main message immediately understandable – i.e., a French goat who graduated from Harvard Medical School. The film was originally going to be more sarcastic and dark. But in the end I chose to tell the story in a way that hopefully would make it more relatable for audiences, who would want to root for Barry." - Anchi Shen
Anchi Shen is a filmmaker and story artist currently studying Character Animation at CalArts. She has been producing independent animated films since 2011 and has worked as a freelancer for comic studios, game companies and 2D animation studios. She recently finished her internship in story at Walt Disney Animation Studios and is now working on her thesis film and a graphic novel. Her other films include “Coyote” (2017); “Sisters,” “Sumo Dumplings,” and “Greedy Dogs” (2016); and “Rabies” (2015).
Super Girl / Bullets (2017) USA
Nancy Kangas and Josh Kun
One of a series of short animations based on the writing of a group of preschoolers, “Supergirl” is an exuberant and gleeful exploration of the yearnings and imaginings of one irrepressible four-year-old poet. With a visual style that perfectly matches the free-flowing musings of the text, this whimsical film captures the magic and effortless creativity of childhood.
"About 10 years ago, I saw a call for a visiting artist from a preschool. I’d never written with children this young, but the idea was intriguing. I quickly discovered that they are alive to language in a way that newcomers are – they experiment with it, take risks, and invent ways to make it work for them. And in their poems it is clear that they understand rhythm and absurdity and feel the world as intensely as do adults. Because most preschoolers are not writing letters and words yet, we “share the crayon”: they tell me (or another adult writer) what to write. I am careful to transcribe their words exactly, so that they can see their language in print. It is a powerful moment when I read back to them what is on the page. They look up in awe and say, “That’s what I said.” And what they say is so often a combination of striking, disturbing, beautiful and weird. After several years with these kids, most of whom are in the midst of trauma (economic and more), I could barley stand not sharing their words with the world. So I started posting images of their poems on social media, and found out I wasn’t the only one who thought these poems mattered. That is how the Preschool Poets film project began. Josh Kun, a documentary filmmaker, had the idea to animate these wild poems. Actually his first idea was that I would animate them. I said, “Forget it, mister. That’s another of your crazy ideas.” Instead we set about finding wildly talented animators from around the world, crowdsourcing the funds to pay them, recording the children’s voices, and swimming through the process of turning seven different poems into seven different films. On the night of December 1, 2017, the preschool (Columbus Early Learning Centers) arranged for limousines to pick up all the kids and their families and take them to the Wexner Center for the Arts for the sold-out preview screening. It was epic. Everyone was dressed as if we were off to a coronation. We’d arranged, too, for a red carpet and photo backdrop. The kids were honored as artists. The films were received as expressions of our humanity. CELC staff wept; okay, we all wept. " - Nancy Kangas
It was at the age of 13, when she first began babysitting, that Nancy Kangas discovered how much she enjoyed working with children and making up “seriously fun projects.” Yet, despite her interest in early childhood education, when she entered Ohio State University, she opted to study music performance, eventually dropping out to join the new wave/punk band Naked Skinnies – which became the folk-punk duo The Dave – and moving to San Francisco. She also launched “Nancy’s Magazine,” which published some of the country’s most exciting underground comic artists and poets. In the mid-1980s, she returned to Ohio, where she finished her undergraduate studies, earned a Master of Library Science from Kent State University, and began working as a librarian for Columbus Metropolitan Library. A side project leading a magazine-making workshop for kids began her career as a teaching artist and moved her focus to poetry. Since then, she has led workshops for the Columbus Museum of Art, the Wexner Center, Pomerene Center for the Arts, and numerous schools and community centers throughout Ohio. In the spring of 2017, she ended her 15-year business as a cut-flower grower and designer and, in the spring 2018, she ended her 30-year career as a librarian. Next year, she will be publishing a book of her own poetry, and she is looking forward to directing and producing the next series of animated poems.
Josh Kun, an award-winning director and cinematographer, studied documentary film at Chapman University in Los Angeles. For five years, he traveled the United States producing short documentaries for the Dutch-based television production company Metropolis. He is now based in Columbus, where he works as a director of photography on a wide range of commercial and theatrical film projects.
“In late 2016, the idea came about of helping Nancy turn a series of short poems written by her preschool-aged students into animated shorts. The poems were stylistically wild and unconventional, as the kids had not fully developed spelling, grammar, and syntax. The language was often so wild that it was technically incorrect, but the ideas and emotion that came across were as vivid and powerful as anything written by much older children, or even adults. The fluid, unrestrained approach of a four-year-old author, combined with the often rough, impoverished backgrounds from which they hailed, brought power to this medium in a way I had never experienced. In directing the project, we made decisions that would honor the original poem and the story behind it as much as possible. The animators were picked for their hand-drawn, loose, colorful styles. The music was low key, and accented the beauty of the kids’ words without overpowering the films. The storyboards were simple, using stark backgrounds and visual metaphors that brought their ideas to life without imposing too many ideas that were outside of what the authors had originally envisioned. It was an honor to work on this project, and I hope that the collaboration between the authors, animators, and musicians brings the viewers closer to the tumultuous, beautiful lives of these young writers. The goal was to elevate their voices to a national stage, to show them that in this loud world full of loud voices, theirs mattered, too. I think we accomplished that. “
- Josh Kun
Love Me, Fear Me (2017) Germany
This tour de force of claymation explores the ever-changing roles we play and shapes we assume in our continual efforts to impress others and be accepted by them. Conceived as a sequence of dances, “Love Me, Fear Me” displays a virtuosic command of form as it delves into the deeply emotional territory of interpersonal relations and expectations.
"In the early stages of concept developing, I thought making this film will help me process some failed relationships, like the one with my recently (back then) deceased father. It didn’t, but it helped me let go. I’ve been long time fascinated with the way people go to great extents to deceive each other and pass for something they are not. I also read a lot about the psychology of self-representation and the social mirror. I think it’s a major issue within the human nature, it affects all of us more or less and can be easily a source of great distress: we distort ourselves in order to be accepted by others and this acceptance may be very short-lived even when the price is our very identity. I used dance and clay as means of expression an also the archetypal design of the characters because the phenomenon is universal and I wouldn’t have wanted to reduce the narrative to a specific story." - Veronica Solomon
Veronica Solomon was born in Romania in 1980, in the Transylvanian town of Tirgu Mures. After obtaining a degree in Fine Arts, with a specialty in ceramics, from the University of Art and Design in Cluj Napoca in 2003, she began a self-training process to become an animator, while also doing comics, illustration and other odd jobs in film production, television and advertising. In 2008, she moved to Germany, where she continued freelancing as an illustrator and animator, eventually enrolling at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF for formal animation study. Among the films she made as a student are “Cleaning Day” and “Night of the Leaving Dreads” (2016), “Widerstand” (2017), and 3rd Date” (2018). “Love Me, Fear Me,” which has screened at numerous international animation festivals, is her graduation film. Veronica currently lives in Berlin.
Business Meeting (2018) Brazil
Based on a short story by Brazilian writer Rafael Sperling, this very funny animation may confirm your worst fears about business meetings, as well as possibly lead you to doubt the sanity of the short’s creators. The minimalist hand-drawn animation is perfectly suited to the dubious subject matter, which begs the question, “#+-4$#2?”
"I wanted to express how I feel about not only the business world, but meetings in general, where there’s lots of speaking and not much saying. It all started with Rafael Sperling’s short story: that was the main source of inspiration for all the abstraction and nonsense humor. As I read the story, I started sketching the characters as I imagined them, with an increasingly bizarre and surreal approach, sinking into complete nonsense at the end. I chose to do this film in the medium that’s most natural to me: digital drawing, with an extremely simple, pencil-like visual style. It’s a short, fast-paced film and I didn’t want to lose or distract the spectator with unnecessary details, going straight to the point instead." - Guy Charnaux
Guy Charnaux was born on April 7, 1990 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. For as long as he can remember, animation has been a passion: watching Bugs Bunny shorts on VHS are some of his first memories. As a kid, Guy would spend hours every day watching cartoons and creating stories, monsters and universes, with pencil and paper. In 2009, Guy began Digital Media Design studies at PUC-Rio, where he studied with Marcos Magalhães and discovered animation geniuses like Norman McLaren and Jan Svankmajer. From 2011 to 2014, he worked as a freelance animator, creating music videos, festival vignettes and commercials, as well as short experimental films. At the same time, he pursued a career in music, drums being a passion of his since the age of eight. Guy graduated with honors from the Vancouver Film School, where he had the opportunity to study under Marv Newland, in 2015. His graduation film, “A Man Called Man,” was the first of a series of works based on the stories of his friend Rafael Sperling. He then spent three years in Europe working at Studio Redfrog, in Lille, France, as an animator, and Lighthouse Studios, in Kilkenny, Ireland, as animator and animation supervisor. Guy’s films have been screened at more than 60 festivals in over 30 countries, including the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Anima Mundi in Brazil. His films have also been shown on TV in France, Germany and Brazil. Guy currently resides in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro.
Flower Found! (2017) The Netherlands
6m46s - 16:9 - 24fps - Stereo - 2D
Premiered at the KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival, October 18, 2017
A case of mistaken identity has seriously unpleasant consequences in this unsettling arboreal tale that might or might not be a parable of our times. When a special flower unaccountably goes missing, an ever-growing group of animals sets off in pursuit of the purloined bloom, but, as is often the case, the best intentions lead only to unforeseen catastrophe.
"My film is sort of a children's story for grown ups. I like children's books because of their simple storytelling and beautiful illustrations, and a couple of books from my childhood were a big inspiration. My film begins as a typical children's story: a flower goes missing and all the forest animals go looking for it. Normally they would find the flower in a surprising way, but I decided to have them accuse the wrong person of stealing it. I thought this was an interesting way to raise questions about things like revenge, justice and the tyranny of the majority. I chose to portray the characters as animals because I wanted them to look innocent, since they really believe that they're doing the right thing. While I think that a film should do more than just entertain an audience, I tried to keep my message subtle, so that people could have their own interpretations. To make the film more visually interesting and keep it from looking too digital, I had my girlfriend paint the backgrounds. The animation is all digital, drawn on a Cintiq with homemade brushes in TVPaint, but I painted several sheets of paper with watercolor and used those as a texture on top of all the animation, so that the characters blend in with the backgrounds." - Jorn Leeuwerink
Born in The Netherlands in 1990, Jorn Leeuwerink started making animations at a young age. In 2009 he won a national art competition and was offered the opportunity to be a youth jury member at the Holland Animation Film Festival. Inspired by that experience, he decided he wanted to be an animation director and, after briefly working as an animator for MediaMonks, he began studying animation at the HKU University of the Arts Utrecht. The films he made at the HKU include “The Sheep Shop” (2014), “Quacksalver” (2015), “Tekkol” (2016), “Where's Ronald?” (2016), “Pedestrian Pastry” (2017) and his graduation film “Flower Found!” (2017). All of these films have screened at festivals around the world; “Flower Found!” was selected for competition at Annecy, Zagreb, Stuttgart and Hiroshima, and won several awards, including Best Student Animation at the KLIK Amsterdam Animation Festival. After graduating, Jorn worked as an animator on the feature film Heinz, directed by Piet Kroon. Currently he is working together with Studio Pupil on a new short film, for which he received support from the Netherlands Film Fund.
A Table Game (2017) Spain
A Table Game” was partially produced during an exchange program at the Estonian Academy of Arts, supervised by the internationally known animator and director Priit Pärn, and inspired by the absurdity and black humor that characterizes Estonian animation. The film can be seen as an exercise in patience, not only for the spectators in the film, but for the film’s audience, who must sit through its monotone events in order to be rewarded in the end with an unexpected outcome.
"In my films, I tend to work with themes such as routine, everyday events and simple actions that get turned upside down, ending in a situation very different from where they started. I enjoy writing about cyclical events as well, which can be seen in “A Table Game,” where all the efforts of the main characters end up being a waste of time, since they will only have to start over again – just as in the Greek myth of Sisyphus. The film can be interpreted in many ways, and I purposely left some questions unanswered, showing bits of scenes that might diverge into a secondary story, but are abruptly cut and not continued. In the end, I wanted the audience to provide their own interpretations about what they've just seen; this way, they're not mere spectators, but contributors who expand the film's universe with their own conclusions and theories. Artist statement" - Nicolás Petelski
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nicolás Petelski graduated from the Polytechnic University of Valencia with a BA in Fine Arts. Obsessed with cinema and TV as a kid, he started shooting his first short films at a young age, learning about filming, editing and storytelling in a self-taught way. Years later, his passion for 1990s cartoon series got him into animation. He made several short films during his student years, some of which were selected for festivals, including Annecy, Stuttgart Animation Festival, Animafest, and SICAF, among others.
Carlotta's Face (2018) Germany
Valentin Riedl & Frédéric Schuld
Prosopagnosia is a rare neurological disorder in which individuals are unable to recognize faces, including their own. This poignant and beautifully stylized animation is based on the first-person account of a woman who suffers from this ailment, offering an intimate look at the difficulties she encounters in her life and, ultimately, the salvation she finds through art.
As a neuroscientist, I explore the complexity of the human brain and our perception. However, no scientific work could tell the whimsical and often funny story of a life without faces better than Carlotta. For me, the journey began with her self-portraits, which I discovered at an exhibition. When I learned that Carlotta was suffering from facial blindness, my work gave me a scientifically shaped, fixed image of this person. Thanks to the film project, I have since been allowed to constantly revise my idea of perception and of Carlotta as a person. “Carlotta's Face” is partly the portrait of an unknown artist. But it is precisely this individual fate that is decisive for the main message of the film: despite scientific findings on the function of the brain, every human being has a unique perception based on their individual experiences. With regard to prosopagnosia, while as much as 1% of the world population suffers from face blindness, people are generally unaware of this disability. So if we are not recognized by someone on the street, we interpret this as obliviousness or even unfriendliness on the part of the other. While “Carlotta's Face” only sheds light on one specific, little-known phenomenon, it pleads indirectly for open-mindedness towards other perspectives and inclusion in everyday life. – Valentin Riedl
Valentin Riedl is a physician and neuroscientist studying the complexity of the human brain. He received his MD from the Technical University of Munich and his PhD in Systemic Neurosciences from Ludwig Maximilian University. In 2016, he received the Young Talent Award of the Sparkassen Cultural Foundation for his endeavors to merge science with the artistic form of film. His first short film, “Bauernsterben” (“Burned Soil”), premiered in 2012 at the Kurzfilmfestival Hamburg and, in 2014, he produced the short film “Twelfth Night” that premiered at the Max-Ophüls-Preis Festival in Saarbrücken. He is currently working on the animated feature documentary “Lost in Face,” which will explore Carlotta’s perceptions from a neuroscientific perspective.
Frédéric Schuld studied at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne and co-founded the studio Fabian&Fred in 2011. In 2014, Fabian&Fred received funding from the Wim Wenders Foundation for the development of their first animated feature. Frédéric works primarily as a director and animator on short films and documentaries. In addition to co-directing “Carlotta’s Face” in 2018, he also directed the animated short “The Chimney.” Current projects include “Lost in Face” with Valentin Riedl and the animated documentary feature “What Happened to The Dog.”
Age of Sail (2018) USA
Set on the open ocean in 1900, this hair-raising and poignant tale chronicles the adventures of an old sailor who rescues a teenaged girl after she falls overboard from a passing steamship. With a distinctive visual design inspired by the American illustrator Bernie Fuchs, “Age of Sail” is an inspiring paean to hope, and a timely reminder that redemption often arrives at the darkest times.
"I've always been drawn to stories that take an older character who has given up, and pairing him with a youngster who pushes the old man to act – to believe in something again. I grew up sailing and I've always loved stories involving the ocean: the water and the weather are already unpredictable, interesting characters. It's a place where the stakes are always higher. In combining these elements, I discovered layer after layer of metaphor about hope, life's pathways, the advance of technology, and parenthood. “Age of Sail” was conceived and produced simultaneously as an immersive VR experience and a powerful cinematic short film." - John Kahrs
Originally from upstate New York, John Kahrs attended NSCAD University, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1990. He started his professional career as one of the first employees of Blue Sky Studios, where he worked as an animator from 1990 to 1997. He spent the next ten years at Pixar, working on such films as “A Bug's Life,” “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “The Incredibles,” and “Ratatouille,” among others. In 2007, John moved to Walt Disney Animation Studios, where he animated on “Bolt,” “Wreck-It Ralph,” and “Frozen,” and served as an animation supervisor on “Tangled.” In addition to “Age of Sail,” John’s short films include “Paperman” (2012), for which he won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short, and “June” (2016). Currently, John develops and directs animated projects through his company, Broad Reach Pictures.
Polaris (2017) USA
Any film that opens with a polar bear hugging a penguin has potential, and in fact the sweetness of that image carries through the rest of this wistful and very touching film about a young bear setting out on her own for the first time. With the simplest of storylines and an understated, almost childlike, visual design, “Polaris” is an evocative celebration of the deepest bonds that persist throughout one’s life.
“Polaris” is based closely on my personal experience as an international student from Japan. Before leaving home for college, I never truly understood how much my mom supported me. It wasn’t until I began to live on my own that I realized how unappreciative I was and how much I took for granted. One day, I received a carefully prepared package from my mother that arrived just in time for my birthday. I remember removing the layers of tape to reveal my favorite snacks, bowls, cooking ingredients, hangers, cosmetics, and more. Despite the contents being mundane items, each item was associated with fond memories of home, and was something that only my mother could have collected for me. I made this film for my mom. In Japanese culture, we rarely say “I love you” to each other, especially children and parents. I wanted to express to my mother how much she means to me. I hope that, in viewing “Polaris,” she can see at least the tip of the iceberg of my appreciation for her." - Hikari Toriumi
Born and raised in Tokyo, Hikari Toriumi always loved drawing. Inspired by movies from Studio Ghibli, Disney, and others, he spent most of his free time growing up making up stories and creating visual representations of them on printer paper. Following high school, he moved to the U.S. to attend CalArts, during which time he also had the opportunity to spend two summers in the animation department at Pixar, where he worked on “Coco.” Though he often worried that the language and cultural differences between him and his peers was an obstacle, he gradually came to realize that personal history is what makes each artist unique, and that the most genuinely personal films can also be the most universally relatable. Most recently, Hikari has been working as a story artist on the feature film “Over the Moon,” directed by Glen Keane.
My Moon (2017) USA
This charming and ethereal short depicts the interplay among the moon, earth and sun in terms of human relationships – a celestial love triangle replete with jealousy, recriminations, hurt feelings and, ultimately, forgiveness. Featuring a panoply of heavenly colors and beautifully stylized design, “My Moon” is a modern fairy tale, at once thoroughly contemporary and as ancient as the cosmos.
"A man is in love with a woman who can’t leave her relationship. If these were normal human characters, it wouldn’t sound very interesting. But when the protagonists are forces of nature – celestial bodies to be exact – things became more interesting. It goes without saying that Moon, who is always hovering around the Earth, is in love with her. But of course Earth is obligated to orbit around the Sun, who gives her all her life and energy. From stereotypes to symbols, I immediately saw many interesting relationships that could exist between the Sun, Moon, and Earth – their love could take many dynamic forms. When a concept suggests so many different ideas, that means it must be a good starting place. In the beginning, I wanted to make it with just planets. But I wanted the story of this short to be everyone’s story. If I could tell it through people, as if they were representing the Earth and the Moon, that would be awesome. It was a weird challenge, but it also made things more interesting." - Eusong Lee
Eusong Lee is a filmmaker and designer actively working in the animation industry. He started his career with the Student Oscar-winning short film, “Will” (2012). He has worked on over 40 animated shorts at JibJab, as well as commercials for various clients, including Axis, MTV, and Facebook. Recently, Eusong worked as an art director at Chromosphere and Cartoon Network, and as a concept designer for Warner Brothers Animation, Dreamworks TV, and Disney TV. In addition to his professional work, Eusong also does illustration projects and makes short films, including “The Great Promise” (2014) and “Handstand” (2017). “My Moon” was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and was partially produced by Chromosphere-LA, where Eusong is currently building his career as a director.
Weekends (2017) Canada
In this beautifully designed, hand-animated film set in 1980s Toronto, a young boy shuttles between the homes of his recently divorced parents. Mixing all-too-realistic details of a domestic breakup with surreal, dream-like moments, “Weekends” is a model of sophisticated storytelling that is both deeply affecting and admirably philosophical in its depiction of a painful period in a child’s life.
“Weekends” started as a drawing I did 10 years ago, and has since evolved into a passion project I have been writing and shaping for the last five years. It contains many elements from my own childhood – including the city of Toronto, an apartment full of antiques, and a fear of raccoons. Drawing upon all of these memories and feelings, my aim was to capture how strange, scary and wonderful childhood can be, while painting a portrait of two starkly different parents coping with their new separate lives." - Trevor Jimenez
Trevor Jimenez is a Canadian filmmaker who has worked as a member of the art department at a number of major animation studios, including Disney Feature Animation, Illumination Entertainment, Blue Sky Studios. His student film "Key Lime Pie" (2007) screened at numerous international festivals, including Annecy, Ottawa Animation Festival, and Zagreb, and won the award for best animated short at AFI Dallas 2008. He currently works in the story department at Pixar, where he served as a story artist on “Coco” and “Finding Dory.”