An Aardman premiere, a Spanish feature, a Signe Baumane retrospective are among the early highlights of Anima Festival 2015.
The latest offering from the Aardman studios, Shaun the Sheep The Movie, will be kicking off the animated proceedings of the Belgian animation festival this year. This much-awaited feature, coming from the series of the same name, is following the worthy tradition of Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run and co.
Anima Festival will also present The Prince and the 108 Demons by French filmmaker Pascal Morelli, a story of a 10-year-old prince in 12th century China, who teams with outlaws to fight the armies of a tyrannical emperor [watch the teaser].
The stop motion feature and a supernatural pardoy Pos Eso from Spanish director Sam, as well as the autobiographical Rocks in my Pockets by Latvian animator Signe Baumane [read the Zippy Frames review] are among the feature programme competition. The Korean thriller The Fake by Yeon Sang-ho, Giovanni's Island by Mizuho Nishikubo from Japan and Hiromasa Yonebayashi's When Marnie Was There, co-produced by studio Ghibli are also in the festival programme.
The comedy adventure Moomins on the Riviera by Xavier Picard; the French feature Yellowbird by Christian de Vita and the latest from Disney, Big Hero 6 directed by Don Hall complete the feature programme.
65 shorts compete in the international competition, out of a thousand professional and student films received. The jury is comprised of Marco de Blois (CDN), animation programmer/curator at the Cinémathèque québécoise and Artistic Director of the Sommets du cinéma d'animation; Eija Saarinen (FIN), Senior Lecturer and Manager of the Animation department at Turku University of Applied Sciences and Stéphane Aubier (B), co-director of Pic-Pic & André, A Town Called Panic and Ernest and Célestine.
The national competition jury consists of Jérémie Degruson (F), Art Director and filmmaker at Wave Pictures; Spela Cadez (SLO), independent producer and filmmaker, winner at Anima 2014 with her short film Boles and Anton Roebben (B), producer and co-founder of the Belgian studio Walking the Dog. 20 shorts comprise the Anima selection.
The Futuranima section of the festival has professional meetings from 18th to 21st February.
Three days of conferences on diverse topics including: a meeting about animated documentaries, the presentation of transmedia projects Urbance and ZOOKs, a panel discussion about webcreation and a foray into the world of video games with a visit to the Belgian studio Larian.
French animator Alexandre Heboyan will be on hand to talk about his work on productions such as Azur & Asmar, Kung Fu Panda and Mune, le gardien de la Lune, co-directed with Benoît Philippon.
The Festival will also play host to Marlon Nowé, Belgium-born animator at the Walt Disney Studios, who has worked on hit films such as Tangled, Volt, Frozen and Wreck It Ralph and will be giving a one-day masterclass on Wednesday 18th February [more info].
The Festival will be flying the colours of the Netherlands and Latvia and will present two programmes of recent short films showing off productions from these two countries.
Also on the programme: a focus on animation schools in Holland; a documentary about the work of Dutch filmmaker Joop Geesink; a compilation of films by Latvian animator Signe Baumane and a programme of Latvian films for kids.
Anima 2015 will take place from 13th to 22nd February, in Flagey, Brussels as well as being decentralized in other towns throughout the country: Namur, Charleroi, Liege, Mons, Ghent, Antwerp, Louvain and Ostend. The full festival programme will be unveiled from 21st January.
Anima is qualified by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the short animated film category.