VAFI—International Children and Youth Animation Film Festival—was founded with the desire to make Varaždin and Croatia a place where children and youth, professionals, guests and all animation lovers will be able to exchange their experience and make new friendships beyond their own states; a place where young people will enjoy films, learn and socialise.
VAFI Junior (held April 22-27), which represents animated films made by children and youth, as part of its fifth anniversary celebration, held the world première of Colours on April 24. The young audience enjoyed the screening.
Sandra Malenica and Hrvoje Selec, founders and the "engine" of VAFI, are both active members of AWG. A festival like VAFI is an ideal opportunity to show the work of AWG: films made by children, viewed by children. A way to watch and absorb, learn and get excited about animation.
Guests from different countries included several AWG members. One could visit the kids’ workshop “Da”, from Russia, and watch animation made live by children, with the result shown at the closing awards ceremony. At Herzer Palace interesting lectures and presentations were organized. Owen Chan and some of his students from Hong Kong displayed the work from a 3-D animation school; Koyaa, Zvviks from Ljubljina presented the making of a stop-motion series for children; and Nicolas Bougère, presenting AAA (Atelier de cinéma d'Animation d'Annecy), France, proudly informed us about the history of the workshop group. The animators gathered for a roundtable on the theme “animation as a pedagogical tool”.
VAFI is a kid-friendly place where adult animators also have the opportunity to meet the young audience, socialize, learn and enjoy the screenings.
Hiroshima festival is becoming a biennial tradition, and a great one.
During the 15th Hiroshima International Animation Festival Hiroshima (August 21-25, 2014), AWG was invited on August 25 to have the Asian premiere of Colours.
AWG has always been very welcome in Hiroshima. Sayoko Kinoshita, honorary President and Festival Director of Hiroshima Festival, was involved with AWG as president, before she passed the torch to Anastasia Dimitra.
Both AWG and Hiroshima Festival share the same positive feelings towards animation.
Among the many visitors from Japan and abroad, several AWG members were present at the special program at Aster Plaza; Nicole Salomon, co-founder of AWG from France, Deanna Morse from the US, Petra Dolleman from The Netherlands, and Iza Cracco and Christel Degros from Belgium.
The program started with the screening of Colours followed by the Flipbook Contest Awards and two earlier AWG films, The Sound of Animation and The Daughter of Manju Cake Shop was Kidnapped.
It is always a great pleasure to be in a theatre among the public and experience how the viewers enjoy the screening.
After the screening, the members present had a meeting where we discussed the upcoming project Optical Toys. Bringing optical toys in a workshop allows the young participants to meet the origin of animation and help to understand the principles of moving images.
The International Animation Festival in Hiroshima is a great opportunity presenting an AWG project., The festival has a great reputation organizing workshops for children during the Festival and the attending members get the chance to meet other and new people involved in the same business.
At the same period, during the Cyber Sousa animation festival in China (August 15-18) at the invitation of ASIFA China we made a presentation of the goals and objectives of the ASIFA Workshops Group (AWG).
In existence for almost half a century, AWG is guided by the desire to make the art of animation available to others as well to help create a peaceful world through our love of animation.
It was an honor to be invited to the festival and specifically to a conference dedicated to those who teach animation and hold workshops. The conference gave us a chance to share ideas, discuss teaching methods and, of course, meet new friends.
Acceptance was enthusiastic and already the workshop ASIFA Workshop of China, Beijing, has applied and was accepted by the AWG board as an AWG member.
Also interested in joining AWG is the workshop of Xiamen. Contacts were made with officials of QingDao city wishing to organize their many animation events. In the near future, they are planning to establish an ASIFA “animation experience center" for the women and children of the city and would love to work with the AWG to achieve the best possible results.
We announced as well the concept of our next AWG project, Optical Toys Abi’s Feijo idea.
Some optical toys (thaumatropes, phenakistiscopes, zoetropes and flipbooks) are used as "starters" when doing animation workshops. It is an easy way to introduce kids to the animation concepts, but most of the times these animations are not taken "seriously" and have no further development.
Today, we can see many artists coming back to the origins of animation and revisiting many of the pre cinema techniques in their creative approaches. So this project could be a challenge for us to find ways to include an optical toy in the animation process and create films out of a chosen optical toy.
Looking forward to an imaginative participation in our next AWG Project 2015!
Christel Degros AWG Vice President
Anastasia Dimitra AWG president