Rising to a comic occasion

The five-day Animix festival mixes animated films with live-action entertainment

‘SOLDIERS AND THE RADIO’ by Israeli political cartoonist Michel Kishka. (photo credit: Courtesy)
‘SOLDIERS AND THE RADIO’ by Israeli political cartoonist Michel Kishka.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Animix, the 15th International Festival of Animation, Comics and Cartoons, will take place from August 4-8 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque, and will present the best new art in this field from around the world. There will be animated films, workshops, master classes, exhibitions, children’s activities and much more.
This year’s festival will feature a tribute to the acclaimed Israeli artist and political cartoonist Michel Kishka. Kishka immigrated to Israel from Belgium in the 1970s and quickly became one of the central figures in the burgeoning comics culture here. As well as doing his own work, for the past 30 years he has taught at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. He is a member of the group Cartoonists for Peace, that strives to lessen tensions worldwide and promote the idea of a free press through cartooning.
There will be an exhibition of both of his own work and the best work of his students over the years.
Kishka will also lecture on the topic “Charlie Hebdo, the day after,” tracing the aftermath of the massacre at the satirical Paris weekly, along with an exhibition of cartoonists’ response to the tragedy.
There will be a salute to The New Yorker Magazine, which has always been a leader in bringing great cartoons and illustrations to the public.
New Yorker illustrator Richard McGuire will attend Animix to honor the 90th anniversary of the prestigious magazine.
International guests include Roberto Genovesi from Italy, director of the Venice Cartoon on the Bay Festival, who will present the best of Italian animation, and Anthony LaMolinara, an animation and special effects director, who won an Oscar for the special effects in Spiderman 2.
The festival will open with two animated features. The Prophet is Roger Allers’ film based on the 1923 book by Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran.
It’s about Mustafa, a spiritual teacher (voiced by Liam Neeson), nicknamed the Prophet, who’s has been exiled to an island in the Mediterranean because of his opposition to the regime. He shares his views and his beliefs with the islanders and his words on life, death, food, wine, freedom and love touch the their hearts. Mustafa’s dialogue comes straight from Gibran but in order to add drama, the animators added a narrative framework about a mischievous little girl called Almitra who befriends the Prophet.
Pascal Vuong’s D-Day is a 3D documentary, originally made for the IMAX format.
The complex production uses stunning, original images, including staged live action, animation of archival pictures and cutting-edge graphics to depict the immense undertaking that took the lives of more than half a million young men on both sides. Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw is the film’s narrator. The director will attend the screening.
Other festival highlights include Let’s Party, an illustrated salute to Israel’s first lady of satire and entertainment, Rivka Michaeli, an actress, singer, emcee, impressionist and broadcaster. There will be tributes to Hanan Kaminski, the veteran, pioneering animation director, and to the late Uri Orbach, whose peers Shai Tcharka, Uri Fink, Tzachi Farber, Noam Nadav and Nissim Hiskiyahu will celebrate his life and work.
Dudu Shalita will lecture on the Snow White myth, with excerpts from various film versions. There will be talks on Marvel comics and many other topics, as well as a tribute to master cartoonist Dudu Geva, 10 years after his death.
Signe Baumann’s Stones in My Pocket is an animated documentary based on the true story of five women from the director’s family, including herself, who battle with loss and depression.
The Farewell to Café Tamar program will be a nostalgic look at the Tel Aviv institution that closed after 74 years.
All these programs are in addition to Assif 2015, the annual celebration of Israeli animation, with screenings, classes and a competition.
There will be many programs for children as well. In the mornings, there will be screenings of films for children and their parents, as well as workshops and meetings with animators.
Among the movies shown will be Asterix in Valhalla (3D computer-animated); a salute to Garfield; and a look at how the Pixar hit Inside Out was created.
Tickets range in price from NIS 30-50. For more information and to order tickets visit www.animixfest.co.il.