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The Joy of Animation
Rick W
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The Joy of Animation

Cardiff Animation Festival (CAF) celebrates the diverse beauty of animation. Established in 2018, the event has grown into a highlight on every animation-lover’s calendar. This year’s edition followed in the footsteps of the hybrid format, which began in 2022. Attendees enjoyed 3 days of in-person events in the welcoming and ever-lively Chapter Arts Centre (and other nearby Cardiff venues), followed by an online programme filled with workshops, filmmaker Q&As and Watch Parties. This year’s films came from established and emerging creatives from around the world and ASFF-fans will recognise directors like Britt Raes and 2023’s ‘Best Family Friendly Film’ winner, Marita Mayer. Standout talks this year included a trip down memory lane celebrating 20 years of Peppa Pig and 2D animator Nina Nawrocki’s deep dive into the making of hit Indie game Cuphead. Today, we bring you a review of amazing shorts from the festival.

After School Snacks is CAF’s selection of sweet, heart-warming films for the whole family. Aesthetica alumnus Britt Raes leads with Luce and the Rock, a story about curiosity and friendship. Our titular protagonist, Luce, lives in a small community with a daily routine of of rock stacking as the adults chatter in the background. One day, a rock falls from the nearby mountain into the centre of her village, triggering a chain of events that will change the lives of Luce and the Rock forever. We move from bold, primary coloured 2D animation to a stop-motion piece called The Sound Collector – Bats. It’s an episode from Chris Tichborne’s award-winning TV series about the little Sound Collector, who, after putting in hearing aids, uncovers a world of nighttime noises – from rustling badgers to screeching bats.

All forms of love and relationships unite the 12 shorts that make up Love at First Bite. In Freshwater Bees (dir. Emma kanouté), Louise returns to the French countryside and reminisces about her first love, Nora – the one who taught her to love bees. We follow Louise on a bittersweet, nostalgic journey from their first meeting until today, where she checks a phone filled with unreturned texts. Maurice’s Bar (dir. Tzor Edery and Tom Prezman) also revisits the past. Here, we meet a drag queen who recounts memories of one of Paris’ first LGBTQ+ bars as well as the rumours about its mysterious owner. The collection ends with The Queen of the Foxes, a short directed by Marina Rosset that premiered at the Berlinale in 2022. We meet the titular monarch, who calls on her subjects to find and present her with love letters. They forage the bins for unsent messages, unfolding, ironing and perfuming these papers for the Queen to admire. However, after a while, she asks: Why are there no love letters addressed to me? It’s a tender tale about having the courage to confess your feelings whilst appreciating those who have loved you all along.

This year’s festival brought together an assortment of films that explored many parts of the human experience, from our senses to matters of the heart. These films are a testament to the creativity and storytelling power of animation!

Watch more animation in the ASFF Film Library and CAF’s At Home Selection!

Stills:

  1. Luce and the Rock (2022), dir. Britt Raes
  2. Freshwater Bees / Les Abeilles d’eau douce (2023), dir. Emma kanouté
  3. The Queen of the Foxes (2022), dir. Marina Rosset

The post The Joy of Animation first appeared on Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

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