Dutch animation stars illuminate Seoul

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Dutch animation stars illuminate Seoul

Gerben Schermer has been judging Korean animation for years, but it’s only now, in honor of Dutch Memorial Day and Korea’s Children’s Day, that his country’s animation is in the spotlight here.
The Seoul Animation Center, with support from the Seoul government and the Royal Netherlands Embassy, is hosting the 2004 Korea-Holland Animation Festival, which runs through Saturday. The films are in various languages. Mostly Korean subtitles are used, but some films are in English.
The festival opened yesterday on Mount Namsan with guests such as Mr. Schermer, festival director of the Holland Animation Film Festival and a former judge at the Pucheon International Student Animation Festival; Adriaan Lokman, who won the coveted short film grand prize for “Barcode” at the 2002 Annecy International Animation Festival; and Paul de Nooijer, who is famous for his lush images.
The 90 animations are divided into 10 programs, including student films, children’s animation and Korean animated shorts. Mr. Schermer will discuss each section before each showing.
Across Europe, each country produces animation with a different touch. In the Netherlands, the pixilation technique has been sublimely developed, said festival organizer Park Bo-Kyung, especially due to efforts by Mr. de Nooijer and his son, Menno. Pixilation is a type of live-action recording that photographs humans or other animate objects frame by frame. This 3-D animation is uncannily lifelike.
More then a dozen of the elder de Nooijer’s animated films will be shown, including “Nobody Had Informed Me,” which won the jury prize at the 1989 Holland Animation Film Festival in Utrecht; “At One View,” which won the grand prize at the 1990 International Festival of Animated Film in Stuttgart, Germany; and “Stop Action Faces,” which landed first prize at the 1994 International Animation Festival Hiroshima in Japan. He will also be hosting a workshop on pixilation.
Another film to watch is “Barcode Live,” a live version of Mr. Lokman’s critically acclaimed debut to animation. He has since created “Trainspotting” and “Shredder,” which have also delivered rave reviews in the animation festival circuit. “Barcode Live,” showing today at 8:30 p.m. behind the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts, is Mr. Lokman’s vision of live animation.
Collaborating with music producer Jeroen Verheij, and using a program developed with the help of Dutch company Zinder, Mr. Lokman improvises animation to music. This event doubles as part of the weeklong Hi Seoul festivities.
“Barcode” is memorable to Koreans because it won a prize at the Annecy International Animation Festival the same year that “My Beautiful Girl, Marie,” directed by Korea’s Lee Sung-Gang, captured the grand prix for best animated feature. Mr. Lee was the first Korean to win a prize at this festival. A prerecorded version of “Barcode” can be seen tomorrow at 7 p.m. and on Saturday at 3 p.m. “Shredder” will be screened Saturday at 7 p.m.
Also noteworthy at the Korea-Netherlands Animation Festival are the works of Paul Driessen. The screenings end on Saturday with five films by Mr. Driessen.
The Korean animated films were chosen for their appeal to families, not to mention their international recognition. The short “Africa, Africa” by Dongwoo Animation won the grand prize at the 2004 Tokyo International Animation Fair.

by Joe Yong-hee

Admission is free. Screenings are today at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and at 7 p.m. tomorrow and Friday only. Saturday screenings are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.ani.seoul.kr.
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