Animation is serious business. Anyone who has ever seen the devastating Japanese World War Two film Grave of the Fireflies, or the adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ When The Wind Blows, or Waltz With Bashir, the Israeli film that confronts the atrocities of the 1982 Lebanon War, will know that. So it’s only appropriate that the medium has been accorded its own festival, to showcase everything that hand-drawn animation, rotoscoping, stop motion and CGI animation have to offer.
The London International Animation Festival is coming to the Barbican, for its twelfth iteration. As the name would suggest, a host of films from over 30 countries have been entered in the festival, which has previously been held at iconic cinemas including The Rio in Dalston and The Horse Hospital and the Renoir Cinema in Bloomsbury.
Highlights include a gala opening night centred on the dark, multimedia animation of Chris Shepherd, recounting youthful misdemeanours in Liverpool, as well as a screening of the oldest anime film in existence, 1945’s Momotaro – Sacred Sailors. Also screening will be a live-action documentary about Michael Dudok de Wit, the man who animated The Red Turtle, which premiered at Cannes and is produced by Hayao Miyazaki’s legendary Studio Ghibli, eight of whose films are among the 15 highest-grossing anime films in Japan ever.
Themed programmes and Q&A sessions abound in the agenda, and with tickets priced from £4-10, it’s also one of the most affordable film festivals in the UK. And with that in mind, there’s really no excuse not to go.—Thomas Barrie
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Image: Wei Keong