Friday, June 13, 2008

Gobelins Students’ Animations at Annecy Animated Film Festival 2008

Gobelins Students Animations at Annecy Animated Film FestivalIf, 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.

Here are my previous posts about Gobelins students’ Annecy animations 2007 land 2006; links for previous years are listed below.

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.

2 thoughts on “Gobelins Students’ Animations at Annecy Animated Film Festival 2008

  1. Michael

    Thanks for the link Charley. :)

    Do you think that the facility that the French demonstrate with drawing is in part due to the rich culture of comic book (B.D.) production and consumption in their country, and that gives rise to a sort of climate of respect for drawing (and the desire to emulate) among French Art students?

    I can’t help comparing them to our own British animation students, most of whom seem to have tried to avoid drawing if possible, and use 3D software to hide their lack of drafting skills. The culture of drawing is nowhere near so strong as it is in France. As an illustration, there are 25 places available every year at the Gobelins Animation course, and more than 600, yes – six hundred – students apply for those places in an arduous 3 day selection process.

    Would you say that the legacy of comic book production instils the same cultural urge to draw, there in the USA?

    There are some amazing draughtsmen and women in the US, so from which well do they draw their water?
    Too many questions, I know. :)

  2. Charley Parker Post author

    The link is my pleasure, Michael, thanks for maintaining such a great blog!

    I think I agree with your suggestion, not only is the comics (B.D.) culture stronger in France than anywhere beside Japan, France is also the third largest producer of animation in general, after Japan and the U.S., the other largest nations for comics.

    From an outsider’s point of view, the British comic culture, though it has produced some real stars, seems more limited.

    I didn’t know about the applicant/selection ratio for Gobelins; that does help explain the extraordinary level of talent displayed by the graduating class.

    There is a large culture of aspiring comic book artists here in the U.S., and an increasing number of schools and programs in support of comics and related arts.

    There is also a distinct crossover between comics and movie/animation/television storyboard artists as well as concept and production artist for the film and gaming industries.

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