Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 17 News List

Animated crowds expected for animation festival

The second Taiwan International Animation Festival promises to be a well represented and popular affair

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Tokyo Godfather is a new work from Satoshi Kon.

PHOTO COURTESY OF TIAF

The Taiwan International Animation Festival (台灣國際動畫影展) is coming back for the second year -- bringing in another 300 films from 37 countries -- after the success of last year when it attracted 30,000 film fans.

Like last year, tickets are selling out fast for popular programs such as the 3-D animation selections of Pixar and Bluesky (maker of The Ice Age), as well as the feature-length animation films.

As of press time, 90 percent of the tickets for the feature length films and the 3-D screening section had been sold. More surprisingly, perhaps, seats for guest speeches from Pixar and Bluesky executives were also 90 percent taken. SPOT-Taipei Film House (光點台北), and The President Theater in Ximending will be used for sceenings; while Eslite Bookstore and The National Library will be used for other events. All of the films will be screened with both Chinese and English subtitles.

Apart from five feature-length

animations, there are screenings of films that were winners at Siggraph -- an annual conference on computer graphics -- and at the Annecy Animation Film Festival in France. There are also 104 student works selected from the world's animation schools in France, the UK, the US and South Korea, as well as Taiwan.

"This year the audience will see a greater variety of animation formats, including 3-D animations, penciling, clay, puppetry, celluloid collage and live action. Among them, 3-D animation is still the leading trend and most profitable format," said director of the festival Chen Yi-ching (陳怡菁). She added that this year's line-up shows more of an Asian perspective.

The opening film Raining Cats and Frogs, the latest film from French Folimage Animations, is directed by Jacques-Remy Girerd. It took the company two years and 150 animators to complete. The story is basically a metaphor of Noah's Ark. It's a fable of what happens at the end of the world, when all species face the danger of extinction. The little frogs prophesy that the next full moon will bring 40 consecutive days and nights of rain. The frogs are undecided if they should tell their human best friends, Lily and Tom.

The closing film, Tokyo Godfather, is renowned director Satoshi Kon's latest work after his well-received Millennium Actress. Kon is another Japanese animation maker gaining international fame (and sales) along with Hayao Miyazaki (director of Spirited Away) and Mamouru Oshii (director of Ghost in the Shell). Tokyo Godfather is about a former bicycle racer named Gin; Hana, a former transvestite performer; and Miyuki, a girl who leaves home to wander the streets.

The three find an abandoned baby girl on Christmas Eve. Miyuki decides to keep the baby until they find her real parents, and names her Kiyoko. The three godparents then start their adventure researching the mysterious background of Kiyoko.

The other three long features are The Triplets of Belleville, a co-production from France, Belgium and Canada. Leon and Jo(梁山伯與祝英台) is from Taiwan's Central Motion Pictures Corporation (中影, CMPC) and is the animated version of the classic love story, The Butterfly Lovers. The Little Longnose is the first feature-length animation from Russia in the past 40 years.

The film is based on a fairy tale by German author Wilhelm Hauff and it has beautiful background music and an imaginative drawing style. The Triplets of Belleville tells of three sisters from Belleville in France who go on a journey in order to rescue a Tour de France racer from being kidnapped.

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