Animation, comics and caricature – it’s not just for children, and it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. Not that I have anything against unicorns and rainbows – love them both, and there will be oodles of fun for kids at Animix 2014, but there is also so much more! The 14th edition of Animix, the International Animation, Comics and Caricature Festival, will take place from August 6 – 9, 2014 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. Four days of films, workshops, lectures, and yes, lots of films & activities for children – all taking place in the secure space of the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, which in addition to its many other fine qualities is a shelter with reinforced security rooms.
Art and film are a wonderful way to escape, but they can also open up directions for thought, reflection and inspiration. War is inevitably on our minds these days, and the festival will be screening two vintage films on the topic. Peace on Earth, directed by Hugh Harman is a one-reel short from 1939 that depicts a post-human world populated by animals. A grandfather squirrel tells the youngsters about the history of the human race, a history of war that ends in death. Happily, the animals seem to have done a better job of creating a peaceful society. The contemporary Victoria Gloria by Theodore Ushev, is a 3D animated anti-war short film (7 min). Without words, Ushev lets the music of Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony and mixed media images using both traditional and computer animation, deliver a message of the horrors of war.
Inspiring and deeply moving, in The Green Wave (Germany/Iran, 80 min, 2010), animation enabled director Ali Samadi Ahadi to make a documentary that could not be filmed. In 2009, green became the color of hope in Iran for supporters of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi. Yet the anticipated change did not come. On June 12, 2009, it was announced that ultra-conservative incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election, an outcome that instigated widespread protests that the election had been rigged. The authorities came down hard on the demonstrators, but these violent attacks were covertly documented by people on their cell phones.
The Green Wave conveys the experience of these turbulent times through an animated fictional narrative of two students, characters created as a composite of hundreds of real blog entries. The film merges animation, camera interviews with exiled Iranians sharing their own personal experiences, phone video footage, blog entries, facebook and twitter messages. It’s a fascinating documentary, a chronicle of our times that reveals the power inherent in our ability to act, speak, and witness.
Israeli animation is the focus of ASIFA (the Israeli chapter ofAssociation Internationale du Film d’Animation), with four screening events. Asif means harvest in Hebrew, and the harvest of Israeli animated films reveals diverse themes, approaches and techniques in both personal and commercial projects.
Cartoonist and illustrator Noam Nadav will be the festival’s honoree this year. Nadav’s drawings have been featured in several publications over the past thirty years, including his Hadashot satiric column in the (now defunct) eponymous Hadashot newspaper, comics series in Ma’ariv newspaper and the Panda Man comic strip in one of my favorite publications, the Einayim (Eyes) monthly art magazine for kids. A graduate of Bezalel, Nadav is a Senior Lecturer in the Screen-Based Arts Department of Bezalel.
Nikiui Rosh, the scathingly satiric show (the name means ‘clearing the mind’) that came onto the scene in the Spring of 1974, was the first to introduce satiric animation in Israel. The popular show will celebrate its 40th anniversary at Animix with some of the talents who had an entire country glued to the screen: Moti Kirshenbaum, Tuvia Tsafir, Yossi Abulafia, Yohanan Lekitvitz and Efraim Sidon. The event will be hosted by Danny Karman and will feature screenings of the original black and white animation from the show.
Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s newly inaugurated president will be honored Animix-style with an exhibition of caricatures dedicated to the president. President Rivlin will participate in the Animix festive opening event on August 6, 2014.
Non-stop fun for kids (and for the child in us all) with a tribute to Popeye, screenings of film classics Bambi and The Jungle Book and Enzo D’Alò’s new version of Pinocchio.
The full program is available (in Hebrew) on the Tel Aviv Cinematheque site, www.cinema.co.il. Ticket prices range from 15 – 50 NIS, depending on the program, to order, call: 03-6060800, ext. 9. Animix is produced in cooperation with the Tel Aviv Municipality Department of Performances, Tel Aviv Cinematheque and the Ministry of Culture – Israeli Cinema Council. Artistic director: Nissim Hezkiyahu, Animation curator: Dudu Shalita, Producer: Galit Bersky.