ANIMAZE - A film festival of rare gems
Fresh off her recent stint with En Masse at Nuit Blanche 2011, Midnight Poutine Guest contributor Cheryl Voisine is back in town and out to cover what's good in the Montreal Art Scene. Last weekend, she set out to cover the first ever ANIMAZE festival, and this is how she felt about it.
The more I think about Animaze, the more I wonder why it took so long for someone to arrive at the concept. As children, we loved animation, thrived on it, learned valuable life lessons through it. But somehow along the path to adulthood most of us left it behind. The festival itself is designed to reignite our passion by unveiling the grittier, sexier, and more intricate side of modern adult animation. Animaze was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see animations that are hard to come by in North America, and may never be shown again in theatres.
Day 1 began late in the day with a colorful Polish animation called Jez Jerzy ( George the Hedgehog ). This isn't some cute film about an endearing rodent that your niece will inevitably want a plush replica of. Rather, the film is everything you don't want a child to see, full of crude humour, nudity, violence, and a questionable sexual relationship between an animal and a young female. That said it was beautifully animated and extremely visually stimulating.
Day 2 featured a Saturday morning cartoon charity show, some international features from Japan, Norway, Czech Republic and Sweden, and most notably a guest appearance by Heavy Metal director and Quebec resident Gerald Potterton, who signed autographs and spoke about the film after the screening. Unfortunately for me, a lingering cold hell bent on domination prevented me from attending. My plan to eat popcorn and watch movies all day was sadly replaced by decongestants and bed rest.
Day 3, after a remarkable amount of sleep and soup, I awoke in the afternoon only to realize that in the process of curing myself, I had also slept through the bulk of the day's films. Fortunately Redline, which I had been waiting for the entire weekend, had yet to be screened. The Japanese anime was recommended to me by a friend who has previously lent me his Neon Genesis Evangelion collection. The aforementioned series, as well as the film Redline are both incredibly detailed and impeccably animated, featuring mechas, fast paced action, and a whole lot of craziness that engages the viewer every step of the way.
The night concluded with the student animated shorts contest. College de Bois-de-Boulogne, Cegep de Vieux Montreal, UQAM, Algonquin College in Ottawa, Concordia and Centre NAD were the participating schools, with close to 50 short films screened between them. Out of the numerous entries, three student animators took home the honors, and were rewarded with a bundle of swag (on top of bragging rights). First place went to Roxanne Baril-Monfette with Monfette Il Etait Encore Une Fois, second place to Gabriel GangÃ© with Foxball, and third to Yves Paradis with Albert L'as de L'air.
This was Animaze's first year, but they hope to be back for another in the fall of 2012. Look for them again next year and make sure you check back on Midnight Poutine for updates.
Header photo courtesy of the film Redline