Animix festival in Tel Aviv presents ‘The Island,’ ‘Batman,’ Disney princesses

The animation, comics, and caricature festival is to include a cartoonist discussion of Israel's ongoing mass protests.

 A FRAME from ‘The Island.’  (photo credit: Michael Faust)
A FRAME from ‘The Island.’
(photo credit: Michael Faust)

The International Animation, Comics, and Caricature Festival Animix returns to Tel Aviv beginning on Tuesday, August 8, offering a wide range of films, activities, and discussions – from family-oriented to adult-rated, from local concerns to universal ones.

Parents of young children would no doubt enjoy a special screening of the 1998 Disney film Mulan. Based on the roughly 1,600 years-old Chinese folk song “Hua Mulan,” the animated version tells the story of a young woman who impersonates a man to defend her homeland (Tuesday, August 8, at 6 p.m.) 

Learn more about the film in a brief pre-screening talk by “Fairy Dust” podcaster Meshi Ayad, who will discuss the relationship between myths and the US media giant. 

Other Disney classics shown include the 1992 movie Aladdin (Wed., August 9, 4:30 p.m.) and the 1951 gem Alice in Wonderland (Fri., August 11, 1:30 p.m.) accompanied by guest speakers to present patrons with delightful new insights moments before they re-watch these, and many other, beloved classics.

Exploring the evolution of Disney princesses, such as Ariel

The unique relationship between animation and childhood, the medium’s ability to touch the heart, will stand at the focus of various planned panels and guest talks. Ayad will discuss the transformation of the Disney princess from mainly passive to very much active in the world, from Sleeping Beauty to Pocahontas, in an opening day lecture at 6:30 p.m. 

 URI FINK signing his work for fans.  (credit: AVI NAVI)
URI FINK signing his work for fans. (credit: AVI NAVI)

Curious about the heated discussion between those who support the recent decision to recast Ariel as a mermaid of color in the 2023 remake and those who oppose it? Listen to Ayad present these issues on her podcast.

“There is a problematic phenomenon in the wake of politically correct culture,” Animix artistic director Nissim Hezkeyau told The Jerusalem Post.

“I am against taking what was done in the past and saying: ‘Now it is not appropriate.’ To go back and change the whole world, this is an extreme reaction,” he pointed out, “it is also a re-writing of history.”

Looking back at the Batman franchise

The recent passing of Kevin Conroy, one of the iconic voice actors to perform the role of Batman, will no doubt be mentioned at a special lecture by Raz Sonnenfeld who will discuss Batman: The Animated Series (Sat., August 12, 4:30 p.m.). 

Conroy, Mark Hamill (the Joker), and director Paul Dini, who created Harley Quinn to solve a script problem – the Joker was meant to enter a room inside a cake, so someone needed to open the door to let him in – all played a big part of the revival of the Batman franchise.

Yarin Perry will discuss trauma in reality (like losing one’s parents), and the highly unrealistic goals of comic-book trauma (becoming a ninja detective to ensure no parents would ever be killed), in a lecture titled “Don’t Be Batman” at 6 p.m. the same day. 

Adult-oriented animation 

ADULT LOVERS of animated content would relish a chance to see some of the boldest, rudest, most thought-provoking films today or past. Watch a series of animated documentary films during the opening day to catch My Year of Dicks, a coming of age story created by Pamela Ribon about a young woman near Houston who wants to find love and lose her virginity.

Others might relish The Prophet, an anthology composed of works by eight well-known animators like Nina Paley (Sita Sings the Blues) and Mohammed Harib (Freej) as each adapts to the screen the words of Khalil Gibran (Wed., August 10, 5 p.m.). 

Whereas the movies are shown in English, a Hebrew lecture by Yossi Gavan on the 1972 film Fritz the Cat will explore the rebellious, in-your-face aspect which made this the first adult-oriented animated movie. Its Haifa-born director Ralph Bakshi made other extremely bold films, among them the racially charged 1975 Coonskin, which dared to explore the Black ghetto of the 1970s via the prism of the Br’er Rabbit tales in animation.

Analyzing political cartoons

WITH ONE side of Israeli society willing to risk personal safety and freedom to defend the traditional structure of Israel’s democracy, and the other arguing that it is not reasonable to reject all changes simply because they come from a right-leaning government led by a man currently on trial for alleged corruption, a special discussion on how to draw this violent exchange will be held among cartoonists. These include the observant, right-leaning Shlomy Charka and the left-leaning Uri Fink (Tue., August 8, 5 p.m.)  

“Political cartoons today,” Fink told the Post, “have tremendous force as the image arrives within seconds to millions of people on their smartphones.”

Having landed in some hot water himself over a cartoon that depicted Culture and Sports Minister Miki Zohar asking a supporter of Beitar Jerusalem Football Club if he would care to join a government literary body, the sort which issues state prizes, Fink is no stranger to controversy.

“This is a language,” Fink said. “When one does not use it carefully, mistakes can happen.”

Honoring late writers through the works of other illustrators 

The late writer Yehonatan Geffen, author of various well-known and loved works for children such as The Sixteenth Lamb, will be honored by various illustrators who will present his work via their own. 

“We do this homage,” Hezkeyau explained, “in an illustrated language.” 

He noted that Ilana Zeffren will present her own take on EliMeow, a book penned by Geffen about an older man who loves cats.

One of the most beautiful films to be screened in Animax this year, I think, is The Island. Director Michael Faust offers a visually stunning fable about a barren island, made hospitable to life thanks to splashes of organic matter produced by birds over a millennium. 

To this lush green oasis, humans arrive in two waves. The first immigrants kill some of the birds and eat them to live, yet honor the birds as a life-giving totem. The second wave treats the humans it finds there as little more than animals – and takes a rifle to them. A climate-based, poetic short film, this gem will not only touch your heart, it could change the world. (Sat., August 12, 1:30 p.m. Faust will discuss this work and his art with patrons as part of the event).  

Animix, the 23rd annual Animation, Comics, and Caricature festival will be held August 8-12. NIS 40 per ticket, NIS 30 for lectures and Israeli animation content, NIS 45 for comics and animation workshops. NIS 300 for 10 entries and NIS 200 for six. An all-included pass for NIS 380 is also offered. Visit for more. The Tel Aviv Cinematheque is at 5 HaArbaa St. Tel Aviv. Call *6876 to book.