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Animated Spirits Film Festival

Animated Spirits: New Animation from Europe
The 1st edition of European Animated Short Film Festival in NYC in April 2015

April 8, 2015 | 7.30pm
Austrian Cultural Forum | Screening Hall
11 East 52nd Street, New York, NY 10022
Followed by a Q&A with Tom Brown,award winning animation film director (Annecy, Sundance, SXSW), Holbrooks Studios.

April 9, 2015 | 7.30pm
School of Visual Arts | Beatrice Theater
333 West 23 Street, New York NY 10011
Followed by a Q&A with Amid Amidi animation journalist and film historian, publisher of Cartoon Brew


Program curated by Anna Ida Orosz,
(lecturer, Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design, co-founder and curator, PrimanimaShort Film Festival, Budapest), animation historian

The inaugural edition of Animated Spirits brings some of the most exciting animation from Europe across the Atlantic to New York. Artists from 14 countries of the European Union showcase the spirit of experimentation at the Austrian Cultural Forum and the School of Visual Arts on April 8 and 9, followed by discussions of the program and the transatlantic state of animation with two gurus of the genre (Tom Brown, UK and Amid Amidi, US). Emphasizing the new, the exciting and the unconventional, but finding the space to reflect on the continuing potential of the traditional techniques as well, Animated Spirits is the first chance of NYC audiences and professionals to encounter, in a carefully curated form, the cream of the crop of European animation.
The first screening will be followed by a reception and networking event on the premises of the Austrian Cultural Forum.
Powered by Balassi Institute, Hungarian Cultural Center, New York in partnership with the Austrian Cultural Forum, NYC and with the participation of 8 European national cultural institutes. A European National Institutes of Culture – New York City Cluster event.
Curator’s Statement by Anna Ida Orosz
While they cost a lot of time and effort to make, the most exciting pieces of animation are actually the short films. European animation traditionally has been a field of experimentation with graphic styles, the mixing of media formats and addressing a wide variety of themes and subject matters.
Animated Spirits, presented by the European Union National Institutes for Culture, offers a survey of recent highlight of the genre from all over Europe.
One way to look at animation is to conceptualize it as doing “sport with the techniques and visuals”. Accordingly, the selection includes both “hardcore”, handmade films (On the Other Side of the Woods)and also innovative uses of 3D CGI (Chaud Lapin), clever graphical wizardry (Baths)and the witty use of mixed media (Sunny Afternoon).
At the same time, animation is also an exceptional tool in the hands of artists to tell their stories, to delight and captivate the audience. Being able to display a whole array of moods and genres, comic or tragic, absurd or dramatic, these recent award-winning European animations both can call attention to current global issues and engage the viewer with timeless, universal questions of human existence. Among these subject matters are environmental degradation (Symphony No. 42), the zones of in distinction inhabited by transnational migrants (Natasha), the everyday struggles of being a single mom (Mythopolis), coming-of-age (Sunstroke, Age of Curious, Nina), loneliness (Leftover) and the transitory nature of human life (Baths). Yet thanks to the exceptionally broad grammar and lexicon of animation, these global issues and universal subject matters can take highly individual and surprising, yet universally intelligible forms, which anyone can easily relate to.
The selection “Get a Life!” presents various people from an adventurous young child (Nina), through a teenage dreamer (Sunstroke) and a self-obsessed man (Teeth), to two competitive elderly ladies (Baths) and mythological creatures (Mythopolis) who encounter a critical juncture in life and try to cope with it.
The selection “Hit the Road!” focuses on the subject matters of (not) being and (not) feeling at home, featuring again a great range of characters such as a bunch of immigrant animals from Russia in the Brussels Zoo(Natasha), an introvert boy daydreaming at school (Absent Minded), a man who has to face his inner fears (Bears on the Road), a young guy from Berlin suffering from insomnia (Roadtrip), and many more.

APRIL 8, 2015
Austrian Cultural Forum
– Discussion and Q&A with Tom Brown animation film director

Domino (AUT)
Anna Vasof

Domino is a video, which combines the mechanism of a domino fall with the stop motion animation technique and introduces a new animation technique the “Non-stop stop motion”.
About the filmmaker:
Anna Vasof is an architect and media artist. Born in 1985, she studied architecture at the University of Thessaly (2010) and now continues her studies at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, under the tuition of Brigitte Kowanz in the Transmedia Art class. Since 2004 her videos and short movies have been presented in several festivals, some of them winning distinctions. She’s currently working on designing and building innovative mechanisms for producing critical videos.

Patch (GER)
Gerd Gockell

Black, white and all the shades of grey in between: on square, closely hung screens the contrasts begin to flicker. This German-Swiss co-production explores the crossover area between abstraction und perceptibility, and in the process revisits the birth of the moving image.
About the filmmaker:
Gerd Gockell, born in 1960 in Darmstadt, finished his studies at the Hochschule für bildende Künste in Braunschweig/Germany with a diploma in 1987. In 1988, he was a free-lancer with Hessischer Rundfunk. Since 1989 he works with several film productions in London. In 1990, together with Kirsten Winter he founded the anigraf film production. Since 1992 he also works as visiting lecturer, assistant professor and professor. He lives in Lucerne/Switzerland and Hanover.

Baths (POL)
Tomek Ducki

Two elderly swimmers meet at the baths for their ritual swimming. This time they are diving deeper than usual.
About the filmmaker:
Tomek Ducki (1982 Budapest) Studied animation at the Moholy-Nagy Unviersity of Art and Design in Budapest (MOME) and National Film and Television School in London. After freelancing in several European countries he settled down in Poland where he has been collaborating with a couple of studios and artists since 2010. His two most known works are his multi award winning Hungarian graduation film: LIFE LINE (2007), which was also nominated for Cartoon d’or and his music video for Basement Jaxx titled MY TURN (2009). At the moment he is doing his doctoral degree, while preparing his own animated series for adults. From time to time Tomek gives lectures or master classes and also curates animation screenings. For two years he was leading a monthly underground animation club in Krakow called ‘Animation Sunday’.

To Thy Heart (POL)
Ewa Borysewicz               

He was so handsome, with his jet-black hair, standing by the swing. When he smiled, eyes would stand on end. It was schizophrenic - he was so messed up that she would do whatever he said. She wanted to listen to his sweet-talking, wanted him to talk until the moon was up. Then she stopped pinning her hopes on him. She couldn't let him off so easily for his betrayal. Ewa Borysewicz's animation is a secular litany and a story of affection ending in bitter disappointment, echoing through a tower block estate.
About the filmmaker:
Eva Borysewicz grew up in Poland. In 2009 she graduated from Cracow Academy of Fine Arts and obtained diploma at professor Jerzy Kucia`s Studio of Animated Film. She`s an author of animated shorts, illustrations and drawings. Kto by pomyslal ?, her graduation film, has been selected in many festivals.

Symphony No. 42 (HUN)
Réka Bucsi

Applying an unconventional narrative, the film presents a subjective world view through 47 scenes. The small events, interlaced by associations, express the irrational coherence of our surroundings. The surreal situations are based on the interactions of humans and nature.
About the filmmaker:
Réka Bucsi (Filderstadt, 1988) studied animation at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest. Symphony no. 42 is her graduation film.
She is currently working on a new short on the Open Workshop Residency Programme in Viborg, Denmark.

Sunny Afternoon
Thomas Renoldner

SUNNY AFTERNOON is the confrontation of "kind of" an avant-garde film with "kind of" a music-video, and thus puts questions about the standard taboos and clichés of both "genres". Both avant-garde film and music-video also parodise music and sound "typical for the genre". SUNNY AFTERNOON explores images of reality, representation of reality, illusion and even abstraction and in that way underlines the specific possibilities and meanings of the artistic image in general. SUNNY AFTERNOON is based on the lyrics of a song composed 25 years ago and brings a film-project to an end, which had first started 20 years ago. So of course this is also a reflection about time. SUNNY AFTERNOON is a self-portrait.
About the filmmaker:
Thomas Renoldner was born in 1960 in Linz, Upper Austria. He studied psychology and educational theory at the universities in Innsbruck and Salzburg then later painting and animation film at the Academy of Applied Arts / Vienna. Since the age of sixteen hehas been working in the areas of music, painting, film, installation and performance. Around 2000 he started he started working as a producer of animated films. He holds animation workshops and seminars since 1992, takes part in several research projects about the history of animation in Austria and curates film festivals like ANIMATION AVANTGARDE in Vienna

Teeth (UK)
Tom Brown, Daniel Gray

Things of worth are often neglected in favour of that which might be more immediately gratifying. Unfortunately, the things that are neglected are often lost forever, irreplaceable. This is the story of a man with a misguided and intense focus – one which started in his youth and carried on to old age. His life events are chronicled through the loss of his teeth – and how his obsessive efforts to amend what was damaged bring on yet further destruction.
About the filmmakers: 
UK-born directing duo Tom Brown and Daniel Gray met in a Welsh film school in 2003. Their graduation film, “t.o.m.” won numerous awards in 2007 and they have been working together ever since, under the name Holbrooks. Working across continents and time zones, Tom and Dan work together from New York and Budapest on commercials, short films, and art.

DISCUSSION and Q&A with Tom Brown animation film director, Director of Teeth

Embracing Lovers
Sascha Vernik

A visit to the museum reveals new perspectives on the world within in Egon Schiele's "Seated Male Nude" (1910).
About the filmmaker:
Exploring the many concepts of reality in various forms of media, Sascha Vernik strives to shed light on new perceptions. Coming from a background as a fine art painter having graduated from the University of Applied Arts Vienna he is heading towards cinematic storytelling as an animator, storyboard artist, writer and director. He has been working for clients like Red Bull Media House, OMV, Jerkfilms, Fischerfilm and Neuer Österreichischer Trickfilm. Currently, he is writing his first feature script.

I Love Hooligans
Jan Dirk Bouw

A football hooligan feels unconditional love for his club. However, being gay, he has to hide his identity. A story of unconditional love.
About the filmmaker:
Jan-Dirk (Amsterdam, Netherlands) studied Art & Graphic Design at the HKU (Utrecht, Netherlands) and Communication & Design at the School of Communication and Arts, London. In 2005 he studied scenario writing for documentaries at the Dutch Media Academy / Santberg Institute. In 2010 he was selected for the Binger Filmlab Docucoach program led by Heddy Honigmann. Jan-Dirk (co)directed various short films (independent and commercials) in the UK and the Netherlands. He wrote several articles on social engaged topics for current affair magazines, like Newsweek, Vrij Nederland and AD Magazine. In 2001 he wrote his first documentary scenario. From 2007 my main focus is on scenario writing, directing and producing documentaries.

Leftover (HUN, FRA)
Tibor Bánóczki, Sarolta Szabó

What does it mean eating alone in human society? Showing moments of six different lives, this animated anthology film seeks answer for this question. Remains of food, remains of human relationships
About the filmmakers:
Domestic Infelicity is a multi-award winner art formation founded by Sarolta Szabo and Tibor Banoczki. After studying at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, Hungary they moved to London, where Tibor was graduated from the National Film and Television School with Animation Direction MA, while Sarolta has graduated from the Royal College of Art, with an MA in Photography. Currently they are working on various animation short and feature film projects as well as photography projects.

Veronika Obertová & Michaela Čopíková

A story of a timid boy and woodland girl who are both connected and separated by fear. They develop a strong bond which becomes almighty in their fantasy world. But as friendship turns to love, fear arrives, and has an unexpected form. Overcoming fear and finding a common journey will not be easy. It will be difficult.
About the filmmakers:
Veronika Obertová and Michaela Čopíková a.k.a. Ové Pictures is a duo of slovak filmmakers. Ové Pictures or as they refer to it, the eternal children of crayons was founded in 2010 in Bratislava, Slovakia. As they say: "We established Ove Pictures to create what we love the most. We create works of art that bring joy to us and others. We love traditional animation techniques, drawing, handmade production, the original approach, bold visual solutions and mature cheese." They create animation, music videos, projections, illustrations and motion design.

APRIL 9, 2015
SVA Theater
– Discussion and Q&A with Amid Amidi animation journalist and film historian

Mythopolis (CZE)
Alexandra Hetmerova

Legendary characters from the Greek mythology live their lives and solve their problems in today´s world.
About the filmmaker:
Alexandra Hetmerová (1986) is a Czech illustrator, animator and director. She graduated in animation from FAMU. During her studies she completed an internship at the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn and focused her graduation work on Estonian animation. She's worked as a program organizer for the Anifilm festival in Třeboň. She directed the short animated films Allergy (Alergie, 2008), Swimming Pool (Bazén, 2010), Kosťák (2010), and Mythopolis (2013).

Black Seed
Francesco Rosso

A middle-aged siberian man living in a windy steppe, his life suddenly change due to a strange guest. Absurdity and realism are combined together into a small wooden cabin where there's no room for hope.  Black Seed is entirely made frame by frame with oil paint on glass, each frame is repainted deleting the previous one with a total of 4093 different stills.
About the filmmaker:
Francesco Rosso (b. Piove di Sacco, 1987), animator based in Estonia. He is researching traditional under the camera techniques, investigating both narrative and experimental independent film-making.

Age of Curious (HUN, UK)
Luca Tóth

A surreal growing of age story about three young teenagers, who face with their inner wildness through the dream-like path.
About the filmmaker:
Luca Tóth lives in Budapest, Hungary. She studied animation at Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design where she graduated from in 2011. She finished her studies at the Royal College of Art’s Animation Master course in London in 2013. She started to work in animation during her last year in high-school. She loves the unlimited possibilities that animation offers for visual storytellers. She loves the work of Igor Kovalyov, Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry.

Bears on the Road (NLD)
Nadia Meezen

Theo enjoys nothing more than driving around in his little yellow car. One day a bear on the road causes him to get in a car crash. He realises that he has to tame his inner bears in order to get his life back.
About the filmmaker:
Nadia Meezen is an animator and illustrator from the Netherlands. She graduated from the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam in 2014, with her short film Bears on the Road (Beren op de Weg).

Roadtrip (GER)
Xaver Xilophon

Julius can't sleep. To get his head empty he decides to go on a roadtrip, but somehow he can't manage to leave. A hand drawn film about failure, insomnia, a red motorbike, pretty bargirls, the desolateness of Berlin (even in summer) and waterproof socks.
About the filmmaker:
Xaver Xylophon is a 28 year old freelance animator, illustrator and filmmaker. He studied visual communication at the London College of Communication and the University of the arts Berlin Weißensee. "Roadtrip" is his graduation film. His work as a freelance animator and director include projects for clients such as the New York Times and the British National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). In his free time Xaver develops his own animated short films. Currently he lives and works in Berlin.

DISCUSSION and Q&A with Amid Amidi animation journalist and film historian

Amid Amidi has worked in the animation industry in a number of capacities. For four years, he worked for the animation company Spümcø, where he served as the production manager. Between 1998 and 2006, he published nine print issues of Animation Blast, a publication that featured interviews and biographies of numerous animation legends, including Iwao Takamoto, Gene Hazelton, Pete Alvarado, Ed Benedict, Tom Oreb, Jim Tyer and John Dunn. In 1998, Animation World Magazine hired Amid to become the associate editor of their publication, which was the first monthly electronic magazine devoted to animation. On multiple occasions, he has served as an expert witness on character and production design for DreamWorks Animation. He launched Cartoon Brew in March 2004 in partnership with Jerry Beck. In September 2008, they launched Cartoon Brew TV, an exclusive on-line showcase for the world’s finest contemporary animated shorts.He became sole owner of Cartoon Brew in February 2013.
He is the official biographer of Oscar-winning animation director and jazz bandleader Ward Kimball, and the youngest recipient of the Theatre Library Association Award which he received for the book Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in 1950s Animation (2006, Chronicle Books). He also has  written The Art of Pixar: The Complete Color Scripts and Select Art from 25 Years of Animation for Pixar; The Art of Robots for 20th Century Fox about the making of the Fox/Blue Sky computer animated feature Robots; A Sketchy Past: The Art of Peter de Sève; and edited and designed the book Inside UPA, a compilation of unpublished photographs from the legendary UPA Animation Studios.

On the Other Side of the Woods (EST)

Anu-Laura Tuttelberg

Fairytale full of light, magic and nostalgia. A clay doll awakens her surroundings that become a surreal world in constant flow of change. Shot with natural light the visible changes of daylight emphasize the passing of time in the film.
About the filmmaker:
Anu-Laura Tuttelberg received her MA degree in animation at Estonian Academy of Arts in 2013. Her first animation project, Fly Mill (“Kärbeste veski”, 2012) a puppet film was her graduation film. Fly Mill had great success at festivals and won several awards. Anu-Laura is based in Tallinn, she works as a freelance artist, making set designs for puppet films and short stop motion animations at animation studios. She also teaches puppet animation at the Estonian Academy of Arts. She is inspired by photography, old toys, porcelain dolls, historical architecture and interior design.

The Incredibly Elastic Man (POL)
Karolina Specht

It is a story of a man without shape. Given this ephemeral body he is constraint to deal with the people, things and places that are constantly shaping him. Can one live completely detached from others, from reality? Who and what decides of who we are in the end?
About the filmmaker:
Karolina Specht was born in 1991 in Bydgoszcz, Poland. She graduated from Secondary School of Fine Arts in Bydgoszc and currently an animation and special effects student at The Polish National Film, Television and Theatre School in Lodz. She is an animator and graphic designer.

Spell Breaker (NLD)
Janis Joy Epping & Diana van Houten

A fairytale and horror story in a animation. By greed two friends change into monsters. An apocalyptic fight brings death to an unexpected victim.
About the filmmakers:
Diana van Houten and Janis Joy Epping met in the academy of arts in Utrecht in 2006, where they received their Illustration in Communicative Design diploma in 2010. After working together for years they became quite inseparable as artists. They made their debut as animation directors and animators with their film, Spell breaker, which premiered in March 2013 at the Holland Animation Film Festival in Utrecht.
Diana is currently working as a freelance illustrator and preparing a new animation project with her fellow colleague and painting soul mate Janis Joy. She loves telling stories in a suggestive, mysterious way, revealing dark emotions that often seem to cling to her work. Subjects she likes to work with are animals in relation to humans, nature, society and psychology.
Janis Joy is currently working as a freelance illustrator, graphic designer and animator. Through her animation work with her great friend and colleague Diana, she found that her passions mainly consist of creating esoteric stories, character designs and chromatic studies for atmosphere. Her topics vary from the fantastic and enigmatic to everyday social and cultural issues. Janis Joy works in Amsterdam as a freelance illustrator & designer as well as an animator.

Vol au vent (BEL)
Isabel Bouttens

Somewhere in an autumn park, a boy throws a paper plane up into the air. The wind swiftly carries it along. Meanwhile the boy counts how long it can stay up in the air. From now on, the old lady is keeping an eye on him.
About the filmmaker:
Isabel Bouttens (°1979) studied animation at KASK in Ghent, Belgium. She draws animation films and illustrations in an individualistic style and atmosphere. Isabel always searches for a poetic and atmospheric way to tell a story. Her films have been selected and screened at film festivals all over the world.

Ham Story (CZE)
Eliška Chytková

An animated story about the grey, everyday ordinariness of life. A story about imagination, held in chains for so long, now released with all its might. About an innocent children’s game of playing God.
About the filmmaker:
Eliška was born in 1988. After graduating from Grammar School of Art and Design in Brno she has studied animation at the Tomas Bata University in Zlín where she graduated from in 2012 with graduation movie, Ham story (O šunce). She hasnumerous animated short films, like Inhaler (Dejchátko), Lady Midday (Polednice) and Douche day (Den debil). Currently she is working on her Master Degree in animation and working on her next film. Apart from animation, she also illustrates books and draws comics.

Natasha (BEL)
Roman Klochkov

The Russian bear Nicolaï immigrated to Europe to prove to the love of his life (his beautiful ex wife Natasha) that he’s not a loser. During the day he works as a bear in the zoo, in the evenings he tries to forget his problems by playing the piano. Immigrants come and go, and one day a certain Gennady arrives at the zoo. He turns out to be the new husband of Nicolaïs unforgettable love, Natasha... A film about a bear and the love of his life...
About the filmmaker:
Roman graduated from KASK (Hogeschool Ghent) in 2006 with the highest honors in Audiovisual Arts (animation).His grad film 'Administrators' was selected for Annecy in 2007 and also for more than 50 international film festivals and has won several awards. His second project was 'Natasha’ that was nominated for “Cartoon d’Or’ in 2012. His one-minute short ‘Peace’from 2014 was screened at Short Film Corner in Cannes and at MoMA in New York just to name a few. He works as an independent artist in animation, illustration and education in Ghent, Belgium.


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