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London International Animation Festival celebrates 15 years with 10-days celebratory programme

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The London International Animation Festival (LIAF 2018) returns for its 15th year with a mammoth 10-day celebratory feast of forums, screentalks and over 250 of the best recent, historical and retrospective animated shorts and features from around the world between 30th November – 9th December.

This year’s uncompromising programme promises to inspire, delight and challenge the notion that animation is merely for the 3D CGI blockbuster genre or cute cartoons for kids. Independent animation is an art form that continues to thrive and develop as a breathtaking medley of styles, materials, techniques and production – from hand drawn, paint on glass, collage, sculpture, cut outs, puppets, abstract, sand/salt, to some of the more interesting developments in CGI – all of which can be seen at this year’s LIAF.

Simbiosis Carnal (Dir. Rocio Alvarez, Playing With Emotion/Female Figures)

Local and international guests this year include the dynamic and hilarious Scottish duo Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson, two of the most entertaining and talented young animators working in the UK today, Jonathan Hodgson, who will present a programme of his animated documentaries, a career-spanning screening of films made over 35 years, a panel of leading members from the animation industry in a timely screening and discussion about the onscreen representation of women in a programme called Female Figures 2 and the fiercely independent and decidedly loopy self-taught Estonian animator Chintis Lundgren.

2,589 films were entered into the festival this year and the best 117 new films have been selected to screen across several competitive categories in 10 International Competition Programmes such as the British Showcase, Into The Dark scary shorts, From Absurd to Zany funny shorts, Animated Documentaries and the Abstract Showcase.

The opening night gala celebrates the work of the young and dynamic Scottish duo Will Anderson and Ainslie Henderson. Graduates from Edinburgh College of Art’s animation degree course in 2011/2012, Will and Ainslie’s worldwide reputation has a bulging awards cabinet as testament to their talent, including two BAFTAs, two McLaren Awards, a British Academy Award, a nomination for the Cartoon D’Or and almost 50 awards at festivals around the world.

Under the guise of whiterobot.co.uk they work together as freelance writers, directors and animators on film, television, music video, web & interactive projects, and are getting ready to release their first feature film in 2019 called ‘Dom’, a highly moving and personal project about a small animated cat that manifests out of a cancer scare. For this very special LIAF 2018 event, Will and Ainslie will join us onstage to discuss the many facets of their award-winning careers in animation and screen many of their most celebrated films.

London based animation director Jonathan Hodgson has been making award winning animated films since the early 1980s. As well as making short films he has made a name for himself as a commercials director and has explored almost every animation technique  – his films being diverse in style with serious and thought provoking subject matter. Much of the content in his work is drawn directly from personal experience and from watching and commenting on the world around him. In recent years he has worked increasingly in the area of documentary animation. LIAF is very proud to present an evening with Jonathan Hodgson focusing specifically on his documentary work where he will present highlights from his early sketchbook based animation to his documentary feature work and including an onstage Q&A after the screening.

Female Figures returns to LIAF for a second year, championing female animation talent in a programme of extraordinary works exploring female desire by contemporary animators and their predecessors. These stimulating works present a range of perspectives on the female body and female sexuality, revelling in fantasy, lust, intimacy, and self-pleasure, as well as sharing experiences of abuse and trauma. Abigail Addison at Animate Projects will lead a post-screening conversation with animators Kate Jessop, Jenny Jokela and Thalma Goldman Cohen and with BFI National Archive Curator (Animation) Jez Stewart.

Another special panel discussion and screening is Aftermath, a programme of 13 short films inspired by ‘I’m OK’, a new film by Elizabeth Hobbs about the Expressionist artist Oskar Kokoschka and his experiences as a soldier in the First World War. These films explore the Great War at its centenary, including themes of conflict and loss and date from the early 1970’s to present day.

Manivald (Dir. Chintis Lundgren, Estonian Animation)

Another special guest who will be present at LIAF 2018 is Chintis Lundgren, an Estonian-born animator who hit the ground running to huge acclaim with her first film in 2008. Chintis is a self-taught animator who has quickly gained attention in the animation world for her quirky music videos and short films featuring a light, absurdist tone along with distinct anthropomorphic characters.  Her films have screened at numerous international animation festivals, winning many awards and accolades along the way.

The Wolf House is our spellbinding Chilean feature film this year. Sometimes reminiscent of an ‘Eraserhead’-style David Lynchian nightmare – with their feature debut directors Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña have drawn upon their own folklore and fairy tales to craft this visually stunning stop-motion animated film out of paint, paper, tape and furniture. Centuries of children have dreamed of ominous woods, threatening wolves and other fearsome fictional creations, and this disturbing tale, feeding on familiar children’s stories from Little Red Riding Hood to The Three Little Pigs, presents a dark and perverted nightmarish world.

Other special programmes screening at regular LIAF venues the Horse Hospital and Close-Up Cinema include The Best of the Next (the best student work chosen from 60 local and international filmschool showreels), the ever-popular best Music Videos programme and Late Night Bizarre – the craziest films submitted to LIAF in 2018.

Sunscapades (Dir. Ben Mitchell, Late Night Bizarre)

We also have two programmes celebrating the centenary of Estonian animation with the aforementioned retrospective of the work of Chintis Lundgren and a look back at some of the most unusual and innovative films that have come out of this tiny nation (just 1.3 million people) over the last 50 years. These films plumb extraordinary depths in their exploration of some of mankind’s most elemental issues, fears and desires. At the same time, many are intricately coded political dissertations. As well as screening films from some of the old Estonian masters (Priit Parn, Ulo Pikkov, Heino Pars) we look forward to the new generation of emerging animators (Martinus Klemet, Anu-Laura Tuttelberg and Girlin Bassovskaja).

For the third year running Edge of Frame have put together 3 programmes of extraordinary experimental animation for LIAF featuring work dating from 1959 to 2018, from radical pioneers to contemporary masters including 2 programmes dedicated to US filmmaker Jodie Mack, one of the most exciting and prolific artist animators working today. Jodie will also be here in person to talk about her work. The third programme is Material Fragments, a selection of experimental animations exploring diverse approaches to collage and cut-out animation. Materials such as clothing, books, film footage and plants are seen anew through tactile processes of animation, revealing hidden stories, new connections and dazzling patterns.

LIAF will also present two programmes of animation specifically for children – Amazing Animations for 0-7 year-olds and Marvellous Animations for 8-15 year-olds. There’ll be talking animals, seriously fun adventures and tales that spark all those little imaginations.

Full programme available online at www.liaf.org.uk

Tickets on sale for Barbican screenings via Barbican website and box office from October 26 and for Horse Hospital and Close-Up screenings at www.liaf.org.uk from October 30

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