San Francisco International Animation Festival

Thanks to Martha Wilson – the Story Development professor at the Academy of Art and my friend David I was able to get a free pass to last night’s animation festivities at the New People Cinema.

And what a show it was.

I am astounded by the excellent films coming from Europe. None of the animated shorts were anything like what I have seen here in the states. Due to history the US has a limited view of what animation can and should be. For example, that animation is a medium for children, that it is a genre of film, rather than quality film itself, that it has to be funny, that it has to be linear, etc. Studios like Pixar are changing this but even Pixar has its own style and many other studios are struggling to copy them and DreamWorks rather than create original material.

Not so with the films I watched last night. They were the best of Annecy, a film festival held every year in France. And one gets the impression that only in Europe could such masterpieces be created. There was stop motion, 2D, 3D, figures made from foam core, painted backgrounds, stories about life, bugs, zombie attacks, chickens taking strolls, people dressed as bears, fighter pilots in a dance of death.

I have been to many film festivals, most of which I have chronicled in this blog. But last night’s showing was special. Never before have my eyes been opened to what animation can be. What I saw was nothing short of visually stunning, and inspired me to one day create something better and different than what has come before.

I believe that is the nature of true art.