Keisha L. Wilkerson-Gammage, Cataloging technician at the library and SVA alumna, brings us this report:
This was the first weekend of the New York International Children’s Film Festival, which the SVA Theater is now a proud part of, increasing the list of venues around NYC.
My first stop was the IFC Theater.
“It’s a coming of age story. About 10 year olds, black envelopes and palindromes.”:
Directed by Alfredo Soderguit, ‘Anina‘ is the latest entry from Uruguay. The film is based on the popular children’s novel ‘Anina Yatay Salas’ written by Sergio Lopez Suarez. Anina tells the story of a 10 year old girl who’s name lands her in a bit of hot water. After having a skirmish with another student, named Yisel, both are sent to the principal’s office and given one of the strangest punishments ever. Each receives a black envelope sealed with wax that they must carry with them at all times, unable to open them until the punishment is over. This sets both students on a path allowing them to grow as individuals. And sometimes what you know isn’t really what you thought. Lessons learned. I really enjoyed this film. The music score aided the visuals perfectly. The animation direction is a combination of 2D and paper animaton; giving it a storybook feel which is the overall charm of the film. Even in its simplicity, there were small details that made it feel somewhat realistic, from the moisture on the outside windows of the city bus on a rainy day, to the movement when it turns the corner. You can see how it feels like paper cut-outs, but the animation is smooth giving a realistic feel. Anina is a really fun film to watch and a testament to how 2D animated works like these can still be made and given new life.
My second stop was the SVA Theater for the North American premier of ‘The House of Magic‘ in 3D.
During my wait to see House of Magic I shot some photos of Brazilian artist Ale Abreu (click thumbnails below for full size images of Abreu), who attended the debut of his new film Boy and the World. Abreu seen here signing posters before his Q&A session. Due to unforeseeable matters, I unfortunately did not get the chance to attend this event.
“Eccentric magicians, cats and a surly old curmudgeon of a rabbit. That FACE!!!”
House of Magic tells the story of an abandoned cat who ends up taking shelter at a mysterious mansion owned by a retired magician. Given the name ‘Thunder’ by the kindly Lawrence, he’s quickly adopted into the family of animated “do-hickeys” and “thinga-ma-bobs”. However his happiness is short-lived due to the current residents; Jack and Maggie who’ve been with the “old man” longer and they “don’t take kindly to freeloaders”. But Thunder is the least of their worries because Lawrence’s nephew wants EVERYONE gone, and with good reason.
House of Magic is the latest film produced by nWave Pictures. Directed by Ben Strassen and Jeremy Degruson who’s previous works, are Fly Me to the Moon and A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures. The film was released in France last year in 2013, but has since been dubbed in English to reach a wider audience. It has been said that Strassen’s work rivals that of current 3D animation studios. With great attention to detail with lighting, textures and fluid movements, it truly is a quality piece of work in action. Some of the lighting effects during the day and the shadows gave me a feeling of nostalgia. It was a 3D film but somehow I felt like I was looking at a block I used to live during my childhood. I truly enjoyed this little feature. It is definitely a film worth seeing with family members. It truly needs a US DVD release.
The NYICFF is held annually around the first Friday in March through the end of the month. The festival has now chosen the SVA Theater in addition to their list of screening venues. Eric Beckman founded the NY Int’l Children’s Film Festival back in 1997. He’s the president and co-founder. The goal was to establish a festival solely for children to enjoy films from all over the world. Since then the festival has grown exponentially, to Oscar level. So if you have any children and you want them to see a variety of different animated and indie films [from all over the world] other than the usual mainstream, this is a festival just for them.