October 3, 2009
The first Yerevan international animation film festival, ReAnimania ’09, kicked off today in Armenia’s capital. The fest began with the screening of Animal Crisis, a Spanish comedy competing in the feature category. While this film’s drawbacks come from the limitations of Flash animation (i.e.. crappy front view walk cycles), it does take the medium away from the cinematically flat and minimal to the world of Warner hurt gags and Ren and Stimpyesque dirtyness. It does so with an Orwellian script and a pleasure in mutilating Disney archetypes: the heroic stallion, the seedy lion and the treacherous Hyena. Think of this film as South Park with animation principals applied throughout. My favorite instant of the film: watching a Flash hippo clap. A never before seen motion; at least by me.

Other highlights from the first day included an intimate interview with Michel Ocelot of Kirikou and Azur et Asmar fame. The conversations with the director set the tone of the festival. When Ocelot was asked why he is interested in making films for children, he replied that he does not think about his audience when starting to work on a film. He only strives to do a good job. Ocelot believes that animation should go in the direction that graphic novels have taken a while back: dealing with issues in a way that audiences from any age group can appreciate. In the mind of the French animation author, "Animation is never just for children."

This statement was concurred by Vrej Kassouny, the interviewer and director of the festival. Kassouny stated one of the main goals of Reanimania is to make its audiences aware that animation does not equal to films for children. Animation is an art form, and like any art form you can work with it in different ways.

With retrospectives on Armenian animation, Bruno Bozzetto and Alexander Shiryaev; the Pitching & Producing for animation and 2D workshops, competitions in feature, short, graduation, TV an educational films; forums and studio showcases, Re-Animania is surely to shed some new light on animation during the next three days. It runs until Oct 6th at Kino Moscow in Yerevan, Armenia.

Find the festival schedule and read about the history of Armenian animation on ReAnimania's site.

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