Twelve titles competing since November 21 in the AnimaFICX section of the 52nd International Film Festival of Gijón, which include the four films shortlisted for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature: The mechanics of the heart, Song of the Sea, Giovani’s Island and Rocks in my Pockets. Since its creation, AnimaFICX has emerged as one of the most important sections in Spain within the animation industry and a favourite of the audience attending the festival. A diverse and international list, showing the infinite possibilities of this type of films, both from a technical point of view (2D, 3D, stop-motion…) as argument from movies for the whole family to other much more adult style. Also, among the directors there is a balance between internationally recognized masters and full of enthusiasm and talent debutants.
One of the major releases is Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet, an animated film that adapts the eponymous bestseller by Kahlil Gibran, read by millions of people around the world. A coordinated work by Roger Allers (The Lion King) that has some of the most important directors of the world cinema scene lively, handling each poem of the author. Includes names like Bill Plympton, who stands in Gijón starring in one of the special cycles of the festival, Tomm Moore, Joann Sfar (winner of the first edition of AnimaFicx) or Nina Paley, among others.
Special mention deserves The mechanics of the heart, (Jack et la mécanique du coeur) by Mathias Malzieu and Stéphane Berla, which will have its national premiere in Gijón. 3D adaptation of the eponymous bestseller, is a beautiful story for all ages set in Edinburgh in 1874 to be included in the best of the steampunk genre.
Song of the Sea is the new film from the Irish Tomm Moore, after being a finalist for the Oscar in this category with its previous animated feature film, The Secret of Kells. With this new work, Moore is confirmed as the great defender of traditional animation and rich Irish folklore, in this case turning the frame around the mythological selkies.
The eastern animation plays a major role in the selection of this year. To the hilarious Japanese film Magical Sisters Yoyo and Nene (Majocco shimai Yoyo no to Nene) by Takayuki Hirao, we must add the also Japanese Giovanni’s Island (Giovanni no shima) by Mizuho Nishikubo, formerly collaborator of the legendary Mamoru Oshii. A beautiful film inspired by actual events, set shortly after World War II when Japan’s defeat made some small islands were absorbed by the Russian oblast.
From South Korea there’s two debut films. The Satellite Girl and the Milk Cow (Woo-r-byull Il-ho-wa Ul-ruk-so), by Chang Hyung-yun, that just won the Sitges award for Best Animated Feature and displays a full universe of original characters and daring ideas, able to delight everyone. Meanwhile, On the White Planet (Chang-baek-han-gul-deul Eol) by Hur Bum-wook, is a dark and daring sci-fi that presents a future in which everything on earth has lost pigmentation, except the protagonist. A hard film that hits the adage that “man can be a wolf to man” and that will have its world premiere at this year FICX also with the presence of its director.
From France will be released in addition to The mechanics of the heart, two other proposals submitted: Wolfy, the Incredible Secret (Loulou, Líncroyable secret) by Solotareff and Ormond, recent winner of the César for best animated film, and Aunt Hilda (Tante Hilda) by Benoît and the standard of FICX Jacques Rémy-Girerd, a film by the studio responsible for the Oscar nominated A Cat in Paris that presents a dystopian future starring a woman who has the last remaining natural plants on the planet in the garden of her home.
In AnimaFICX also competes the Spanish Pos Eso, the first feature of SAM, one of the key voices in the current landscape of domestic animation. Filmed in stop-motion plasticine, represents the work of many years, this version in a parodic and “cañí” tone, so carefree and irreverent as his winning short films The Exorcist. SAM will be in Gijón to present the film, along with some of the actors who gave voices to the main characters.
A diverse selection of titles, marked by the quality and diversity of its proposals, to which must be added the Brazilian The boy and the world (O menino eo world) by Ale Abreu -winner of the Award for Best Film at the Annecy Festival this year, and the American / Latvian Rocks in my Pockets by Signe Baumane, further preselected for Best Animated Feature, is the candidate of the Baltic country to qualify this year for Best Foreign Language Film in the next edition of the Oscars.
A strong animated presence usual in the last years of FICX, which aims to give weight to a field from which are reaching some of the most innovative and interesting proposals in recent years.