They're back: Claymation stars accent festival

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They're back: Claymation stars accent festival

Wallace and Gromit, a clay man and his plasticine dog, are one of the oddest and dearest couples not just in England but around the world - including South Korea. Wallace, an ingenious but eccentric inventor, is most talented at getting into trouble, leaving his smart and devoted dog, Gromit, to save the day. During the holiday season for the past several years, "Wallace and Gromit," along with the comedy series "Mr. Big," has been a favorite program for Koreans to watch.

This clay stop-motion animated program earned its creator, Nick Parke, along with Aardman Animations studio, producer Peter Lord and his partner Dave Sproxton worldwide fame.

There was a retrospective, "The Aardman Anthology," at this year's Anncey Animation Festival, one of the biggest international animation festivals. For Aardman fans in Korea, the second English Animation Festival is holding "The Aardman Special" starting Friday at the Seoul Animation Center and sponsored by the British Cultural Center, especially for the Christmas season.

In this festival, a visitor can look at the 30 animated films the studio has made over its illustrious history, from its first work, "Morph," to "Rex the Runt," which currently airs on the BBC. Other short animated programs, such as the "Angry Kid" series, along with TV commercials will be screened as well.

For those who are curious about how stop-motion clay animation is created, there is an exhibition explaining the process. One can look at storyboards and miniatures of the scenes from "Wallace and Gromit" and their Hollywood move "Chicken Run." If you want, you can buy merchandise from those works, too.

The screening schedule is divided into three programs and runs every day until Dec. 30 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Each program has 10 films, including various episodes of "Wallace and Gromit" - "A Grand Day Out," where the two go on an excursion to the moon to have blue cheese on crackers, "The Wrong Trousers," where Wallace is endangered by one of his inventions and a penguin gone bad, and "A Close Shave," where Wallace falls in love with the owner of a wool shop, so he invents an automatic knitting machine. There is also the cartoon, "The Deadline," depicting the animators having a hard time meeting a deadline. Though the screening schedule ends Dec. 30, the exhibition will run until Jan. 20.

The screenings and the exhibition will be held at the Seoul Animation Center, near Myeong-dong. A visitor can take subway line No. 4, get off at the Myeong-dong station, take exit No. 1 and walk up Mount Namsan about 300 meters. The center will be closed every Monday (except Dec. 24), Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. For more information, call 02-3455-8363.

by Chun Su-jin

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