Location: The Silent Movie Theatre, 611 North Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Dates: December 3 through 7
Link out: Click Here
Description: The Cinefamily is proud to present The 2nd Los Angeles Animation Festival International, from December 3rd-7th! Cinefamily is working with the producers of LA’s own animation festival on this wonderful artistic enterprise — and this year’s events include the U.S. premiere of the new Jan Švankmajer feature, Pixar’s Teddy Newton discussing his acclaimed hand drawn/3D/CG short Day & Night, plus guest of honor Will Vinton presenting his short films, specials, commercials and a 25th anniversary screening of his 1985 Claymation feature The Adventures of Mark Twain. And that’s only the beginning; the fest will premiere screenings of high-quality contemporary international animated features, including the new Chinese independent feature Piercing 1, the red-hot Japanese anime mindblower Redline, and Sylvain Chomet’s new masterpiece The Illusionist. In addition, musician/artist/filmmaker Brent Green will narrate and perform the soundtrack of his new mixed media movie, and we’ll close the fest with a live rock ‘n roll soundtrack to the trippy cult classic Fantastic Planet! Artists’ panels, competition screenings, parties and award presentations — a true international animation festival with something for everyone!
The LAAF International Festival Pass allows you free guaranteed entry into every show in the fest, early admittance to any show, and admission into all LAAF International festival parties!
Festival pass – $125/$85 students (NOTE: festival passes will not be available at the box office during the fest. Sales of festival passes will end Wednesday, Dec. 1, 6:00pm, and are limited to a quantity of 75. Students must present a valid student ID at the box office when picking up their Festival Student Pass. Contact us to find out how you can obtain your student discount!)
Individual shows – $10/$6 Cinefamily members (except where otherwise noted)
This year’s edition of LAAF International has several juried competitions, including Best Feature, Best Short and the following three unique categories:
“Unfinished Masterpieces”: A space intended to encourage those folks who’ve never finished their personal or group project to go ahead and enter it anyway! This is the one contest where filmmakers can enter an uncompleted film, and get encouragement to see their project through to the end. The directors of the chosen films will be invited to introduce their unfinished pieces!
“Character Screen Test”: We’re looking for short entries featuring tests of one or two characters (with or without voice acting.) Based on the principal that you can very quickly know whether you’re watching a great character, we wanted to give animators the opportunity of a short audition. Has some animator created the next Tom and Jerry, the next Bugs Bunny, Bart Simpson or Betty Boop?
“Dangerous Experiments”: Experimental animation encompasses everything outside the mainstream in terms of style, imagery and content. Whether it’s from a professional eager to try out new techniques, or from a newcomer learning the ropes, expect to see explorations at the edge of what’s thought of as animation.
The deadline for entries in all categories is November 18th. The selected round of entries will screen before the fest’s feature films, and the winners in each category will be screened again in during our Winners program on Monday, Dec. 6! For submission info, visit the LAAF International website.
12/3 @ 7:30pm & 12/6 @ 10:30pm / Surviving Life (Theory And Practice) – U.S. Premiere!
Surviving Life (Theory and Practice), the latest — and if his claims are to be believed, last — offering of madness from Jan Švankmajer (Faust, Little Otik) begins with an apology from the director himself. It seems the Czech master of surrealist animation intended the feature to be fully live-action, but due to budgetary restraints, was forced to adopt a cut-out style (à la Terry Gilliam’s work for Monty Python) to convey the bulk of his newest twisted tale. A self-described “psychoanalytical comedy,” the film follows the travails of soul-deadened office worker Eugene, as he attempts by way of therapy to reconcile his dreary waking life with his increasingly bizarre and rewarding dream life. The two lives quickly begin to get jumbled, however, yielding an onslaught of wild, prismatic visions replete with arguing portraits of Jung and Freud, enormous wrestling tongues and a nude woman with a chicken head. Like any Švankmajer film, Surviving Life is a unique and twisted vision that must be seen to be believed.
Tickets – $10
12/3 @ 10:00pm / How MTV Rocked The Animation World, plus Titmouse Studio Live Panel!
Co-sponsored by Titmouse Studio
From its very first day on the air, MTV televised revolutions in alternative animation by commissioning programs and promos in every conceivable incarnation of the craft. The period from its founding in 1981 until the millennium marked an era when MTV was constantly on the cutting edge of art, comedy and even (gasp!) music — and the network’s enabling of masterful, often twisted animators was nothing short of groundbreaking, from the explosive genius of the anthology show “Liquid Television” to the unforgettable cartoon mayhem of Celebrity Deathmatch. Rounding out the program will be examples from the famed MTV ten-second station ID, “Aeon Flux,” “The Maxx,” “The Head” and “Daria,” as well as forgotten promos, oddities, and strange gems from MTV’s animated history…and something called…”Beavis and Butt-Head”? In the second half of this program, join independent animation studio Titmouse owner, former MTV Animation director/animator and our program sponsor Chris Prynoski and his crew in a panel discussion on how an indie studio run by artists can survive and grow in a world ruled by commerce! See some of the great shorts Titmouse has funded by its staff. Titmouse’s many credits include “Afro Samurai”, Adult Swim’s “Metalocalypse”, “Freaknik: The Musical,” and the animation for Guitar Hero!
Tickets – $10
12/3 (late show) @ 12:15am & 12/5 @ 6:30pm / Redline (L.A. Premiere!)
On your marks — get set — GO! on the high octane, white-knuckle ride that is Redline, the most talked about anime of the year! Seven years in the making, the feature debut by director Takeshi Koike (of “Animatrix” fame) is a singular, assaulting stylistic triumph that leaves the state of stale, big-eyed cookie-cutter anime in the dust. In a distant future where the streets are brimming with aliens and the skies are ruled by soaring suped-up autos, pompadoured daredevil driver JP enters the race of his life, the illegal interplanetary Redline, where the stakes are high and the skyways are rife with danger. Hand-drawn (unusual in this age of computer-dominated animation), and with a relentlessly supercharged screenplay by Katsuhito Ishii (writer of the equally astounding Funky Forest: The First Contact), Redline revs up and doesn’t stop ‘til it crosses the finish line. Strap in!
Tickets – $10
12/4 @ 11:30am / The Making Of “Day & Night” (Director Teddy Newton In Person!)
We’re honored to have Teddy Newton, one of the most revered new members of Pixar’s crackerjack team, for a Q&A and a special screening of Day & Night, Teddy’s remarkable short that preceded Toy Story 3! When Day, a sunny fellow, encounters Night, a stranger of distinctly darker moods, sparks fly; frightened and suspicious at first, they soon discover each other’s unique qualities, forging a friendship and gaining new perspectives. With its astonishing inventiveness, the short proved equally as memorable as the feature it accompanied, and with this program we delve into the details of its creator’s process. Since his first character design work on The Incredibles, Newton has contributed his skills to many of Disney•Pixar’s award-winning features and shorts, including Ratatouille and Presto, and is frequently cast as a voice in their films. In addition to discussing his inspiration for Day & Night, what it took to get a greenlight from the studio, and the technical challenges posed by the production process, Newton will present a special presentation documenting the film’s creation!
Tickets – $10
12/4 @ 2:00pm / In The Attic (L.A. Premiere!)
Imagine a dusty, surrealist version of Toy Story where the film’s affable cast has the aged and worn quality of a teddy bear, the delicate allure of a weathered, but still beautiful doll. Czech visionary Jiří Barta realizes this dolorous dreamland with In the Attic, a stop-motion film executed with old-school skill of a Jan Svankmajer or George Pal. Where Pixar’s plastic protagonists revolved around their allegiance to their owner, Barta’s weathered, wooden heroes live an independent life, having formed their own commonwealth, just as they would in a young girl’s fantasy world. Add to this wit and whimsy the allegorical overtones handed-down from the remnants of old communist leaders, and you have a wonderful film, sure to delight adults and the smallest of children in equal measure. The triumph of this film (Barta’s first stop-motion feature in 25 years) is not only in its technical and creative complexity, but also in its completion after a career fraught with funding struggles and halted masterpieces. Without a doubt, In the Attic demonstrates more bittersweet charm in one hand-crafted, paint-chipped paw than an entire army of CGI pandas.
Tickets – $10
12/4 @ 4:30pm / Piercing 1 (U.S. Premiere!)
Liu Jan’s Piercing 1, the first-ever Chinese independent feature film, is a bold and biting meditation on the dire state of modern-day China’s economy. Jian took it upon himself to singlehandedly finance and bring his uncompromising vision to life; after selling his house, emptying his savings and borrowing from every possible relative, he spent the next three years animating his first feature on a WACOM graphic tablet. A gripping story of one man’s travails as he transitions from pastoral China to the big city, Piercing 1 follows the hapless Zhang Xiaojun, his journey towards disillusionment and subsequent convergence with a cast of similarly desperate characters. In response to the film’s screening at Annecy, critic Thierry Meranger wrote: “Dry and without concessions, [Jian’s] first feature . . . is a vivid sign of Chinese animation’s return.”
Tickets – $10
12/4 @ 7:15pm / The Adventures Of Mark Twain
(25th Aniv. Screening, Brand-New 35mm Print, Will Vinton In Person!)
The world’s first all-Claymation feature film is Will Vinton’s most ambitious, and ultimately satisfying endeavor. Criminally underseen, barely released, yet critically lauded, The Adventures of Mark Twain is a complex multi-layered story that echoes the convoluted richness of Charlie Kaufman’s best creations. What appears to be a kids’ film on the surface (with Huck, Tom and Becky meeting Twain and hitching a ride on his spacebound riverboat) turns out to be rather weighty underneath, exploring the same themes of mortality and ethical conflict that Twain explored in his own works. Where it gets strange, however, is when we quickly realize that said riverboat is on a deliberate suicide run to meet Halley’s Comet (steered by Twain’s bizarro alter ego), and that’s just in the first ten minutes! From there, Will’s daring, lysergic vision of Satan, the black void, Adam and Eve, and meta-representations of Twain’s stories equal what Michael Medved has called “the most original and audacious animated feature film since Disney’s Fantasia.” Will Vinton will be here in person for a Q&A after the film!
Dir. Will Vinton, 1986, 35mm, 86 min.
Tickets – $10
12/4 @ 10:00pm / Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then
(W/ Live Score Featuring Members Of Fugazi And Giant Sand, & Brent Green In Person!)
“Buoyed by a series of bizarre but ravishing images of hope and redemption…a glorious artifact.” – Andrew Schenker, Slant Magazine
Backwoods wunderkind Brent Green returns to Cinefamily with his first feature, which is accompanied by a live band featuring Brendan Canty of Fugazi and Howe Gelb of Giant Sand! Gravity, a visionary labor of love and lunacy that echoes the mournful, carefully hewn artfulness of Green’s early experimental animations, follows the surreal true story of Leonard Wood, a Kentucky hardware clerk who in the ‘70s built a strangely-shaped, nearly German Expressionist house on his property in the belief that it could cure his wife’s terminal cancer. Green’s fevered narration belies a deep understanding of the subject’s compassionate compulsions; for the film’s set, Green referred to plans Wood had scrawled on a piece of cardboard to reconstruct his home, four other houses, a handmade piano, a sixteen-foot glowing moon, and a giant, wooden God. Sitting comfortably between the wistful, knowing decay of Guy Maddin and the beautiful, caustic wisdom of Flannery O’ Connor, Gravity testifies to the potential redemptive sanctity of human creation.
Tickets – $10
12/5 @ 11:00am /Animation Army Social Hour & Panel!
Local animation industry social networking society The Animation Army, in association with recruiters Fringe Talent, brings to you a panel on the topic of animation recruiting! Show-runners, creators and recruiters will discuss how programs get staffed in the current studio scene — and there will be plenty of time for networking before the panel!
Tickets – $10
12/5 @ 1:45pm / Will Vinton Shorts (W/ Will Vinton In Person!)
He may not be a household name, but Will Vinton has ushered the medium of Claymation into ubiquity. He even coined the term itself, trademarked it the year he established his own studio — and his work has been nothing short of iconic, to the point where any ‘80s time capsule would be incomplete without a figurine of one of his soul-singing raisins. The Domino’s Pizza “Noid”? Yes. The “Gnome King” in Return to Oz, and Michael Jackson as a moonwalking bunny? Check. And of course, those California Raisins? All vintage Vinton! An Oscar, five Emmies, beloved holiday specials, and thirty-four years later, Will is still breaking ground in his commercial and independent work, and LAAF is proud to both have him as our guest of honor, and to award him for his lifetime spent molding animation memories.
Back in the early ‘70s, Vinton founded his studio in order to explore the potential of Claymation, and this series of shorts is undeniable proof of his success. This special program showcases a wide selection of works spanning his career, from his most obscure work to his most beloved, including Closed Mondays, his first independent short, which garnered him the 1975 Academy Award for Best Animated Film! The detail and innovation of Closed Mondays is still startling today, so it’s no surprise that three other films in this show (The Great Cognito, The Creation, and Rip Van Winkle) also earned Oscar nods. In addition to these films, we’ll also see more shorts from Will’s deep well of stop-motion mastery, a nostalgic reel of his memorable work in the realm of the thirty-second commercial spot, and a rare screening of the entire CBS special “Meet The Raisins”!
Tickets – $10
12/5 @ 4:30pm / Midori-Ko (U.S. Premiere!)
One of the must-see gems making its premiere at our festival, Midori-Ko is adored Japanese animator Keita Kurosaka’s whimsically nightmarish vision of 21st-century Tokyo on the brink of apocalypse. Ten years in the making and entirely, single-handedly rendered in colored pencil, Kurosaka’s fantastical labor of love is a marvel to behold. Emerging from the staggering detail and craft flooding every frame is the story of a young woman who sets out to engineer a dream-food that can put an end to the world’s famine. Synthesizing Frédéric Back’s subtle, haptic textures with Bill Plympton’s frenetic mutations and David Lynch’s haunting wormholes, Kurosaka’s work still retains its own singular, luminous potency.
Tickets – $10
12/5 @ 8:30pm / LAAF Awards Show, plus Fantastic Planet
(W/ Live Score By Jesus Makes The Shotgun Sound!)
Co-presented by Aquarium Drunkard
The evening kicks off with our awards presentation in all competition categories, plus our bestowing upon Will Vinton an LAAF Lifetime Achievement Award! Then, it’s onto the evening’s show…
One of the few true psychedelic animated features, the legendary 1973 film Fantastic Planet is a perfect storm of a relic — the product of French experimental animation team Roland Topor and René Laloux, five years of painstaking production at Jiri Trnka’s famed Czech animation studio, and one of the great mesmerizing, ethereal prog-rock film scores (by Alain Goraguer, famed sideman of Serge Gainsbourg and Boris Vian). This tale of clashes between diminutive, enslaved humans (the Oms) and giant, intelligent beings (the Traags) is director Laloux’s condemnation of the Soviets’ occupation of the Czech Republic, beautifully veiled under the hypnotic artistry of resoundingly weird, erotically charged images that exist practically as frame-by-frame paintings in feature form. Often remembered as much for its wah-wah-heavy psych-funk as it is for its indelible alien vistas, Fantastic Planet is presented tonight by the Cinefamily as a live aural experience, with L.A.-based outfit Jesus Makes The Shotgun Sound lovingly recreating Goraguer’s timbres and textures with startling dimension.
After the film, stick around for our Awards afterparty, on Cinefamily’s backyard Spanish patio!
Tickets – $12/$8 members
12/6 @ 7:30pm /LAAF International Winners Show!
A compilation program featuring the winners from all five categories: Best Feature, Best Short, Unfinished Masterpieces, Best Character, and Dangerous Experiments!
12/7 @ 8:00pm / The Illusionist (sneak preview!)
The latest feature film from Sylvain Chomet, director of the fantastic The Triplettes of Bellville, is a sumptuous tour-de-force of classic 2-D hand-drawn animation! Based on an unproduced original script by Jaqcues Tati, Sylvain tells the story, sans dialogue, of an aging magician (drawn in Tati’s image) and a teenage girl, their father/daughter relationship and how the power of illusions can bond kindred souls. The film pushes the boundaries of modern independent feature animation, going for real emotions and sharp storytelling that Hollywood studios no longer consider relevant to mainstream audience. Fans of both Chomet and Tati — or simply those who enjoy classic character animation — cannot afford to miss this. Animation historian Jerry Beck will introduce the film, and will present a bonus screening of “magical” animated shorts that will enhance the themes expressed in Chomet’s newest masterpiece.
Dir. Sylvain Chomet, 2010, 35mm, 90 min.
Tickets – $10