If, like me, you have grown just a little weary of super-slick and oh-so-kinetic CGI animated movies, and long occasionally for the simpler pleasures of hand-drawn animated films, here’s a site to make your day.
Every year the graduating students at the Gobelins school in Paris, where they apparently have some incredibly effective instructors and/or amazingly talented students, form teams and create animated shorts that serve as introductions to each day’s screenings at the world renowned Festival International du Film d’Animation d’Annecy in the Rhône-Alpes region of France.
I don’t know that hand drawn animation is a requirement, but it certainly forms the majority of the student’s projects for the Annecy shorts, much to my delight.
The shorts are only 90 seconds long, but if you have ever done any hand-drawn animation, you know that even that short time involves a large amount of work. The teams work on the animations for 4 months, from January to April, and they are then shown at the festival in early June.
The films are posted to the Gobelins web site as they are introduced at the festival, one a day for the duration of the six day event.
This year’s festival is in progress as of this writing and there are five films posted, with one remaining to debut tomorrow (Saturday). You can check back to the Gobelins page that lists the animations, or you can follow along with notices, and comments, by Michael Hirsh on his ever-entertaining and informative blog, Articles and Texticles, which is where I hear about the event each year.
France, in general, is a bastion of hand-drawn animation, standing with Japan as the largest remaining bulwarks against the tide of increasingly formulaic CGI from the American studios.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy CGI animation when it’s done well, and The Incredibles is one of my favorite films, but there is something about the visual pleasures of moving drawings that I don’t think CGI will ever quite recapture.