Moving pictures

Moving pictures

Animated films take over the city’s movie theaters this week for the annual Multivision festival.

Published: October 31, 2012 (Issue # 1733)

‘Die Prinzessin und der Drache’ (The Princess and the Dragon) will be shown at Tricknight on Nov. 3 at Avrora.

The 10th Multivision international animation festival began in the city Saturday with an evening of French animated films at Dom Kino to mark International Animation Day (Oct. 28).

The evening formed part of a series of cultural events organized to mark the opening of the festival, including a campaign in support of putting up a memorial to one of the best loved characters of Russian animation, the Plasticine Crow, which took place on Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa on Oct. 25.

Multivision is the first festival of animation art in Russia to enjoy international status. It collaborates with the largest Russian animation studios as well as foreign ones, including Aardman Animations (U.K.) and French companies Premium Films and Autour de Minuit. All of these studios supply exclusive material that is new to the public. When choosing films for inclusion in the festival program, the organizers attempt to select those that are most interesting in terms of plot, technique and visual effects.

“We strive for beautiful and meaningful art,” said festival director Svetlana Petrova. “The conglomeration of ugliness in contemporary art is often considered to be cool. However, we are against filth and violence,” she said.

The foreign section of the Multivision 2012 program is diverse, featuring the best short films from the British Animation Awards, as well as animations shown at prominent festivals such as Klik! Amsterdam (Netherlands), Trickfilm (Germany) and many others. But industry experts say Russian animation faces considerable difficulties.

“There is no funding for animation in the country,” said Petrova.

“One of the best Russian studios, Pilot, submitted no animations at all to the contest this year. It simply has nothing to submit. And we could count animated series for children on the fingers of one hand: ‘Masha and the Bear,’ ‘Belka and Strelka’ and ‘Smeshariki’ — that’s all. That’s not a normal situation for such a large country,” she said.

The night of films from the Stuttgart festival also features ‘Flamingo Pride.’

Nevertheless, a selection of Russian animations will be screened at the Multivision festival. Among them are “Chinty,” a stop-motion animation by Natalya Mirzoyan made entirely using tea leaves, and the touching horror story “I Will Find You,” by Andrei Bakhurin.

The films in the competition program will be judged by eminent figures in the world of art and culture.

Ordinary movie-goers will also have the chance to become jury members and participate in the Russian Audience Award, which will be given to a Dutch animation from the Klik! Amsterdam festival. It is the first time a Dutch festival participant will receive the people’s choice award from Russia.

In addition to screening animated films, the festival comprises animation workshops for both children and adults. As a part of Multivision’s 10th anniversary celebrations, the German video artist Max Hattler will visit St. Petersburg and give a series of master classes for young Russian professionals. A video installation resulting from their collaboration will be exhibited at Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Multivision festival organizers have a busy year ahead of them. In 2013, which has been declared the Year of the Netherlands in Russia, the Multivision and Klik! festivals will carry out a joint project in August to screen animated films about urban life on Palace Bridge in St. Petersburg and Magere Brug (the Skinny Bridge) in Amsterdam.

Other long-term plans include promoting closer interaction between video art and theater, but animation industry insiders say achieving this goal largely depends on financial aid from the government or sponsorship support.

The 10th Multivision international animation festival runs from Nov. 1 to 4 at the Avrora movie theater (60 Nevsky Prospekt, tel: 942 8020) and Erarta Museum of Contemporary Art (2, 29th Line, Vasilyevsky Island, tel. 324 0809).

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