Cartoon fest’s no child’s play

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Cartoon fest’s no child’s play

The Seoul International Cartoon & An-mation Festival is gearing up for its eighth edition starting Wednesday at southern Seoul’s COEX Megabox theater.
More than 200 films will be shown in the invitation section alone, with “Raining Cats and Frogs” by Jacques-Remy Girerd opening the festivities. This comic film, Mr. Girerd’s first feature-length animation, is based on the story of Noah’s Ark.
Films like “Back to Gaya” by Lenard Krawinkel, “Little Longnose” by Ilya Maximov and “Jester Till” by Eberhard Junkersdorf are in the running for the feature competition. A jury of six viewed 812 films from 49 countries to narrow the selections to 118 films in such categories as features, shorts, TV/commissioned films and online films.
Highlights include “Inspiration of Asia,” a section devoted to newly released shorts and features from Asia that are not well known in the West. A special program is devoted to methods used to blend animation with media like painting and live-action film. Organizers have also created a section for films targeting a younger audience. “Panorama” takes a look at shorts that were not included in the final competition, but which the jury recognized as outstanding achievements.
A workshop entitled “My Little World” on Wednesday delves into the special qualities of traditional animation as a communication medium. Mike Nguyen, who had a hand in films like “Beauty and the Beast,” will be present. And on Thursday, Will Vinton, who trademarked Claymation, will be participating in a retrospective of his works.
Since the festival’s launch in 1995, it’s become an industry event, with a convention to showcase the latest technologies and to draw international investors. The growing international acclaim of Korean animation has helped fuel this growth. The Annecy festival this year had a section devoted to Korean animation, with yet another grand prize going to Lee Sung-kang, whose “Oseam” won over Bill Plympton’s “Hair High.”
The big push came last year with an international competition section. That screening drew 688 works from 40 countries, of which 107 made it to the competition section. More than 250,000 visitors passed through Toon Park alone, a marked jump from 2002, when 75,000 people attended the eight-day festival. In the wake of that successes, organizers intend for the international film screenings to be a permanent fixture. A blurb on says, “With an official competition and prize money of US $50,000 to vie for, expect the festival to be just as fast and frenetic as some of the cartoons.”

by Joe Yong-hee

For more information, visit the Web site Many of the animated films are in English or have English subtitles.
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