Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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« Denno Coil #10Yuri Norstein interview »

Friday, July 13, 2007

06:38:09 pm , 471 words, 1716 views     Categories: Animation, Indie, Avant-Garde



AURORA (, the new incarnation of the festival previously known as the Norwich International Animation Festival, will be back again this autumn for four days from November 7 to 10.

The festival has dropped the traditional moniker but remains a festival devoted to animation in the broadest and deepest sense of the term. Belying this is the fact that this year's festival will feature a retrospective of a great audiovisual artist whose work straddles the notions of the animated and the purely experimental, compelling us to rethink the very idea of animation - Takashi Ishida.

The festival will also be presenting a retrospective of the work of another iconoclastic Japanese indie figure who has been seen at animation and alternative film festivals in recent years - Tsuji Naoyuki, that purveyor of oneiric charcoal visions of angels and clouds.

These retrospectives and those of various other artists such as Robert Breer and Jim Trainor will be curated by the artists in question themselves. I don't know the other artists, but it promises to be a compelling selection gravitating towards the more experimental and edgy side of things, which is a welcome change in a climate where experimental or abstract works seem increasingly sidelined among animation fans. The real possibilities of animation as it relates to us today are being explored by these people.

In addition to the compelling screening selection, the festival will again be presenting a series of forums examining a number of issues exploring the possibilities of animation, so overall it seems to be a very well conceived and appealing event that I would love to attend if I could.

Last year the festival also featured an interesting selection, including Atsushi Wada's Day of Nose (see Alt anime), Run Wrake's Rabbit, and other films from various countries, but the focus was more conspicuously on works that would fall within the conventional framework of an 'animated short'. In that sense I think this year's festival has evolved in a very interesting direction, and seems a model of its kind - forward-thinking and cross-disciplinary.

Last year's edition of the festival featured a retrospective tribute to Walerian Borowczyk, which I very much would have liked to attend. The site also has a section where they present articles from past festivals, among them a very nice memorial article on Boro by Daniel Bird and a fascinating recollection of Boro by Szymon Bojko, who worked briefly with Boro during the early 50s. I considered myself a die-hard fan of the man, but it's tribute to the extent that his oeuvre has fallen into neglect over the years, for whatever reason, that the articles mention a number of short films, both animated and live-action, that I'd never even heard of. It's a positive thing that festivals such as this can help revive works like these.


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