Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cartoons Underground 2019 (9 November 2019) Shines Spotlight on Women Animators

Animation movies are more than just Disney princesses and a bunch of talking toys. To get familiar with the sheer variety of topics and directorial styles, head down to Cartoons Underground 2019, Asia's leading indie animation festival, at Kult Yard, 195 Pearl’s Hill Terrace next Saturday, 9 November, 6PM to 11PM.

The Cartoons Underground festival began in 2012, by founders Patrick Smith, Director of MTV Daria, and Vicky Chen. This will be the event's 8th year celebrating the visual wonders of animation films.

There was a record-breaking 1,416 entries from all around the world, as film makers vie for a spot in the festival's screening schedule, as well as to compete at the coveted Golden Durian Awards for Best Film, Best Director, Best Student Film and Audience Choice Award. After much deliberation, 19 short films were selected for screening by Cartoons Underground's Programming Director and recent Singapore Young Artist Recipient Tan Wei Keong.

Some of these entries have won awards at Ottawa Animation Festival, Zagreb Animation Festival and Edinburgh international film festivals. 13 of these films showcased during the event are by women directors.

This year's Cartoons Underground shines the spotlight on women filmmakers, and includes a special programme by female animators. Also, women creators are strongly represented in the shortlist for the CU International Prize, as well as in the line-up, which features many Singapore-based animation students for the very first time.

The Golden Durian Awards lists award-winning artist and writer Sonny Liew, former CU ‘Audience Choice’ winner Enge Hue, and Professor at NTU ADM Davide Benvenuti as judges. “Cartoons Underground plays a vital role not just in Singapore’s animation scene but for the whole of the region. It gives our emerging talent a platform they can count on, year after year to showcase their amazing work," says Enge Hue. “Festival co-founder and director Vicky Chen (also cofounder of She Says Sg) is a champion of women in Singapore and women animators know they’ll find a warm and supportive welcome at CU.

There are three main programs at Cartoons Underground 2019.

International Competition - “Look At Us”
Look At Us” is the theme for this year's international competition, which features filmmakers from Europe, North America and Asia. Look out for JiHee Nam's (South Korea) and her experimental work “Knife Hanging from a Tree”. JiHee Nam uses splashes of colour and white spaces to tell a story about a permission, greed and karma.

JieHee Nam, who is based on Los Angeles, says “I really wanted to submit it to Cartoon Underground from way back because a lot of my friends had good impressions about the festival. I have few animator friends from Singapore, and how they view their works are always inspiring. So I’m just excited that my film can be played at the festival along with so many talented animators and filmmakers. It still feels weird that I’ve been selected for the shortlist and it will feel that way probably for a long while. I’m always a little self conscious about my works, but I am surprised and enjoying the moments right now.

Other animation shorts in the line-up include “SELFIES” by Claudius Gentinetta (Switzerland),  “Indoor Days” by Asaki Nishino (Switzerland), and “In Passing” by Esther Cheung (Canada).

Best of Singapore Student Animation - “Adventure Time”
This festival programme highlights the pick of some the best animation by Singapore students. Singapore is a hub for teaching the foundation and skills of the art of animation, and 6 of these films are by students of LASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Technological University.

Women in Animation
Women in animation are in centrestage for this programme, with five short films from the UK, Canada, Germany, Hungary and Portugal being screened and placed in the festival's international competition lineup. They include “Hot and Tasty” by 2D animator and illustrator Laura Jayne Hodkin (UK), “Ode to Childhood” by Luís Vital, João Monteiro (Portugal), “Kinky Kitchen” by Bea Höller (Germany), “Portrait of a Lady” by Kenny Leoncito (Canada), and “Entropia” by Flóra Anna Buda (Hungary).

You can get your tickets to Cartoons Underground 2019 here at EventBrite. The screenings at 6 PM and 9 PM are free, but donations will be collected at the door.

Mostly 2D and hand drawn, each animation short runs for only three to six minutes long. However, the focus on story-telling and directorial vision is strong, and the films will be a visual treat for those who want to experience something different from the mass of pop-culture movies out there.

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