Jan 252012

First off, let me just say, there is a TON of animation showing at the Children’s Film Festival (Jan 26-Feb 5 at the NW Film Forum). There are 11 shorts programs, organized by themes (click here for the full schedule). I’ve gone through and sorted out which programs have the most stop-frame animation (whether dawn or puppets) rather than live-action or computer animation:

If you’re really into drawn animation, there are two shorts programs that seems to be pretty much comprised of this:

Fire and Ice: New Animation from Russia (Jan 28 at 3pm, Feb 4 at 3:30pm, 51 minutes): This is a program of 9 shorts, none older than 2002. All seem to be drawn, except for this one which is told with buttons (!):

and Fright Delight (Jan 29 at 1:30pm, Feb 1 at 7pm, Feb 4 at 5:30pm, 67 minutes): Scary films for ages 9 and up.

If you’re more into stop-motion with objects and puppets rather than drawn, there is a program for little little kids called  Touch My Heart: Gentle Films on the Big Screen (Jan 27 at 11am, Feb 5 at 11am) that has a knitted film, one made with cardboard, and a few other stop-motion.

Birds of a Feather (Jan 29 at 1pm, Feb. 4 at 11am) also has many stop-motion and drawn shorts.

These are the ones with the MOST stop-motion, but truth be told, every single shorts program (11 altogether!) has a least one or two stop-motion animations. So go out and catch them!

The other big animation is the opening night feature, and here is my rant about that:

I’m torn. I absolutely loved Micel Ocelot‘s ‘Princes et Princesses‘ when I first stumbled upon it in my university library seven or eight years ago. It was a fun film, a short film, but a long one, if I recall correctly, composed of vignettes of a girl and a boy play-acting different fairy tales. It was made in a Lotte Reiniger style of back-lit cut-outs, and they were ingenious, and moved beautifully. Then Ocelot made ‘Azur et Asmar‘ a computer animated feature that echoed his two dimensional cut-out style.
It was ok. Not great. There were some fun moments, but overall I found the story went downhill two thirds of the way through and I was disappointed with the animation. What a waste, I thought! Surely he has now learned that he should not have strayed from the simplicity and grace of his stop-motion technique! Alas, that was not to be. His latest film is called ‘Tales of the Night‘ (Les Contes de la Nuit) and it will open the Children’s Film Festival at the Northwest Film Forum tomorrow (Jan 26th) at 7PM.
From what I can tell, it seems to be very much inspired by his short Princes et Princesses, except it focuses on one fairy tale and is longer. He is using computer animation to closely imitate his stop-motion technique, and maybe the restriction of the having the figures silhouetted will reign in the temptation to go CG-crazy. But you decide! I’ve included below clips or trailers from all three films.


Princes et Princesses


Azur et Asmar


Tales of the Night



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