comics festival 224.88.
(photo credit: Shlomo Cohen)
The annual Animation, Comics and Caricatures Festival, which kicks off at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on August 13, looks to be the most eclectic installment of the event's eight year history. The four day program features around 100 events including animation films, sessions with artists - both local and foreign - workshops, master classes, exhibitions, activities for children, lectures and stalls stacked with a wide range of comics and other literature from all over the world, and from different eras.
While animated works do make it to our cinemas - the acclaimed Israeli-made Waltz with Bashir is currently enjoying a successful run at selected venues around the country - and the internet offers a wide range of cartoon material, the average cinemagoer does not generally have access to some of the more esoteric animated efforts from around the world. That should be set to rights by the "Oven Hot" section of the festival, which incorporates works from Argentina, Denmark, Israel, Hungary, Canada, Britain and Brazil.
The video clip industry, used by the likes of MTV, also makes extensive use of animation and that area of cartoon endeavor is addressed at the festival in the "Put the Music On" category. In addition to the clips, the festival program includes two groups of commercials from across the globe, some of which come with "the making of" behind the scenes material.
And our own - albeit smaller scale - animation work is also noted at the festival, with the "Animated in Blue and White" section that looks at Israeli cartoons over the last 60 years, including TV information broadcasts, popular TV shows from the past and films. Waltz with Bashir art director David Polonsky and animation director Yoni Goodman will also give a presentation of what went into making their film.
Of course, for all intents and purposes, the animation business started in the States with the earliest cartoon characters including the likes of Mickey Mouse, who debuted in 1928 and Betty Boop (1930), while Winsor McCay produced an animated short called Gertie the Dinosaur in 1914 which was a source of inspiration for many later leading animators like Walt Disney and Chuck Jones.
One of the principal foreign guests at the festival, 53-year-old Los Angeles based Eric Goldberg, will provide us with insight on the evolution of the animation business, and shed some light on where the industry is heading today. Despite the rapid strides made by technological enhanced cartoon work, Goldberg, who has worked on a range of box office hits such as Aladdin and Pocahontas, says a retro trend is currently gathering pace. "I work with hand made animation, and there seems to be a return to a more organic approach to the work. Hand drawn principles are filtering more and more into CG [computer graphics] animation and more studios are looking for people with 2D experience, people who can apply those skills to computer modeling."
According to Goldberg, perfection isn't always what it's made out to be. "CG renders realism, but that's not art for me. There is no artist interpretation there. It's just a technical facility." Even so, Goldberg feels the best approach is to marry both worlds. "There is more crossover - CG-hand drawn - work today. Computer technology has made jobs like inking, scanning and painting much easier."
Goldberg is currently working on a throwback project himself. "We're doing a Goofy cartoon based on the How To series, like the classic shorts they did in the 1940s. But this one has a more contemporary topic, and it's called How To Hook Up Your Home Theater. It's a lot of fun. But, at the end of the day, whatever medium you use, technological or manual, a great story is a great story, and great animation is great animation. The medium doesn't really make a difference."
For more information visit www.anicomfestival.co.il and www.cinema.co.il