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“And Yet it Moves” Society of Animation Studies 2017

// Reviews (Event)

Animation is celebrated in festivals and events worldwide, where huge crowds can enjoy and celebrate the art form as it is meant to be done – with likeminded enthusiasts.

In the world of academia, animation is also questioned and observed by a worldwide network of scholars. The Society of Animation Studies is the place they get together and celebrate all things animated. “The place” changes on a yearly basis and this year the Italian city of Padova hosted the event which is now in it’s 30th year. The title And Yet It Moves linked the location of the conference, the place where Galileo Galilei taught for 18 years, with the movement of animation.

As boring and bookish as it might sound to go to a conference rather than a beer fuelled festival any preconception of what a conference filled with tutors, professors, doctoral students and graduates might be are quickly dispelled by the energy of the delegates delivering a range interesting and informative talks and then debating their points afterwards. Plus, the beer flowed as freely as it does at festivals. Keynotes included world leading animation art conservation specialist Ron Barbagallo showcasing the fabled missing storyboards from the Disney and Dali masterpiece Destino which show a completely different film to the one released in 2003.

The Great Hall at Padova University

It’s not just the keynotes that offered an interesting angle on animation. Debates at the conference included Samantha Moore giving a look behind the scenes of the animated spaces of auteurs (sheds, living rooms and even toilets – animators will use any space) Tom Klein investigating Woody Woodpecker’s Avant-garde links through a superb exhibition, Lilly Husbands launching an investigation into how the early MTV idents were an artistic outlet and Chris Pallant teaching delegates to speak Clanger. The artistic, technological, social and economic impact of animation were all investigated, it seemed no stone was left unturned. This is obviously a brief run through of what was on show, you can read more of the abstracts in depth on the SAS website or click on the names listed.

Animation History Panel

Those that have graduated from an animation or film degree will notice the conference also featured people you’ll recognise from the bibliography of your dissertation (if your dissertation was any good). Animation academic regulars such as Maureen Furniss, Donald Crafton and Giannalberto Bendazzi presented papers. The later two were joined by Christine Veras for a panel on early animation where Veras explored the early editing of the zoetrope, Crafton unveiled some exciting plans to bring Gertie the Dinosaur back to life. The conferences final keynote celebrated the work of Quirino Cristiani a century after he created the first feature length animation El Apóstol which included a screening of a new documentary on the life of Cristiani.

Botanical Gardens

As a first time attendee of this conference I have to note the welcoming and encouraging atmosphere that the society radiates. Held in the botanical gardens the gorgeous surroundings and the town it was located in made me almost sad that the conference changes locations every year, but with Concordia in Montreal hosting THEN NOW NEXT in 2018 the world of animation academia has something to look forward to.

Find out more about the Society of Animation Studies, including how to join on their Website, Blog or Journal. You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

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Skwigly Animation
Fantastic @LSFF/@ICALondon/@nowolvesplease animation event tomorrow in London:
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@themooks @skwigly Yeah! That's when it becomes << actual magic >>
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