The London International Animation Festival (LIAF 2017) returns to 3 venues across London from December 1-10 for our 14th year with a mammoth 10-day celebratory feast of forums, screentalks and over 200 of the best recent, historical and retrospective animated shorts and features from around the world.
This year’s uncompromising programme promises to inspire, delight and challenge the notion that animation is merely for the 3D-CGI blockbuster genre or cute cartoons for kids. Independent animation is an artform that continues to thrive and develop as a breathtaking medley of styles, materials, techniques and production – from hand drawn, paint on glass, collage, sculpture, cut outs, puppets, abstract, sand/salt, to some of the more interesting developments in CGI – all of which can be seen at this year’s LIAF.
Local and international guests this year include the worlds most adventurous, innovative and perverse filmmaker David OReilly (from Ireland), the team behind the Punto Y Raya Festival, the world’s most abstract film festival (from Spain), and a panel of leading members from the animation industry in a timely screening and discussion about the onscreen representation of women in a programme called Female Figures.
Over 2,600 films were entered into the festival this year and the best 126 new films have been selected to screen across several competitive categories in 10 International Competition Programmes such as the British Showcase, Into The Dark scary shorts, From Absurd to Zany funny shorts, Animated Documentaries and the Abstract Showcase.
The Brothers Mcleod’s The Inverted Peak screens in Into the Dark
We’ll also present two programmes of animation specifically for children – Amazing Animations for 0-7 year-olds and Marvellous Animations for 8-15 year-olds. There’ll be talking animals, seriously fun adventures and tales that spark all those little imaginations.
The Opening Night Gala celebrates one of the giants of animation – David OReilly. For this very special LIAF 2017 event, OReilly will discuss the many facets of his award-winning career in animation, and screen some of his most celebrated films and interactive projects. A mesmerising storyteller with a gift for open-ended, absurdist narratives, OReilly is resolutely independent, moving freely among television, feature film and music video commissions; metaphysical, otherworldly video games and interactive projects that question ideas of the self and the nature of role-playing. David OReilly’s animated films have garnered over 80 awards at film festivals worldwide and he has directed visuals for Spike Jonze’s feature film Her (2013), as well as live visuals for M.I.A. (2009) and music videos for U2 (2009). He was also the first guest director in Cartoon Network’s 20-year history to write and direct an Adventure Time episode – A Glitch Is a Glitch.
Based in Barcelona, The Punto Y Raya Festival has been called “the most abstract festival in the world” with its explorations into experimental narrative through the use of pure form, colour, motion and sound. LIAF is very proud to present a screening of the Best of Punto Y Raya and a screentalk with the festival organisers Noel Palazzo and Ana Santos where they will discuss their modus operandum and their festival motto “Only via dots and lines”.
Another special LIAF 2017 event is Female Figures, a screening of shorts featuring complex and compelling female characters, their dreams, frustrations, and dark desires. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with leading industry figures about on screen representation, the problematic depiction of women as passive objects of desire, and the rising tide of empowered female perspectives, as demonstrated by the remarkable female animators featured in this programme.
Love in Idleness (Kim Noce) screens in Female Figures
Another special guest at LIAF, albeit in a more virtual form, is two-time Academy Award nominee Don Hertzfeldt. Don has recorded a special video message for The LIAF audience to precede the highly anticipated screening of The World of Tomorrow Episodes One (trailer below) and Two. Episode Two subtitled ‘The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts’ is every bit as stunning and heartbreaking as the first film. Here we find Emily Prime, a young girl, swept inside the brain of an incomplete back-up clone of her future self, who’s on a mission to reboot her broken mind. Both films were written entirely around candid audio recordings of Hertzfeldt’s 5 year-old niece. Don’s work has played around the world, receiving over 250 awards, and in 2014 he was asked to animate a couch gag on The Simpsons. 7 of his films have screened in competition at the Sundance Film Festival, where he is the only filmmaker to have won the overall Grand Jury Prize for Short Film twice.
Don Hertzfeldt’s The World of Tomorrow trailer
LIAF’s archive screening this year is Cleopatra, the 1970 Japanese anime feature film made by “The Godfather of Manga” Osamu Tezuka and co-Director Eiichi Yamamoto.
Never given an official release in the UK, this newly discovered film is a weird and wild tale in which three intergalactic travellers from the distant future are whisked back to the court of the ancient Egyptian queen by time machine to intervene in an alien plan to destroy mankind by altering the course of human history. This depiction of the history of Cleopatra includes digressions into science fiction, broad (and often tasteless) comedy and blunt sexuality.
The festival includes 3 nights of screenings and guest talks at The Horse Hospital such as Late Night Bizarre, the Music Video programme and ‘The Best of the Next’ graduate screening programme.
The massively popular Late Night Bizarre programme shows that animation is an unbridled artform and it unleashes some of the most unleashable imaginations on the planet. The programme contains 17 films – a fearsome collection of some of the best haunted visions currently working in the film world.
Animation is an integral element in many of the best music videos. The Music Video programme celebrates the world’s most innovative music clips produced in the last 12 months, providing a visual mash-up of styles, techniques and genres.
The Best of the Next is two diverse back-to-back programmes looking at the next generation of indie animators from a variety of angles. The best international student films drawn from 60 schools in 25 countries worldwide. More details on our Horse Hospital events coming soon.
At the Close Up Film Centre in London’s East End Edge of Frame returns to LIAF with three curated programmes of experimental and independent animation, featuring provocative and cutting edge contemporary and historical work from the UK and around the world. In these post-truth, post-apocalyptic times animation has never felt like a more appropriate or relevant medium to describe the world around us. You, Me, Them presents ten films exploring disconnection and the limits of communication. After Nature is a two-part programme featuring works engaged with ideas of technology and the environment, with works combining CG animation with live action and found footage.
The festival ends with the Best of the Festival on Saturday December 9 at the Barbican (repeat screening Sunday December 10) featuring the best films of LIAF 2017 as chosen by our panel of industry judges and audience votes. On this glittering occasion filmmakers will take to the stage to accept prizes and awards handed out by our sponsors – the Elf Factory (makers of Peppa Pig), Toon Boom and RebusFarm.
Come join us as we celebrate the whole spectrum of animation over the course of 10 inspiring, thought-provoking, animation-filled days. For a list of our Barbican programmes click here. Details of our Horse Hospital and Close-Up Film Centre events coming soon!