At the New York International Children’s Film Festival, pt.2

Pt.2 from Keisha L. Wilkerson-Gammage, Cataloging technician at the library and SVA alumna:
This Saturday I had the chance of attending the world premier of Foosball; screened at the SVA Theater. Known as Metegol in Argentina, the film was directed by Juan J. Campanella, whose career spans such works as ’30 Rock’, ‘House MD’, ‘Law and Order: SVU’ and ‘Law and Order: Criminal Intent (on going), Strangers with Candy and Six Degrees. Other notables are the ‘The Boy Who Cried Bitch’ and ‘Love Walked in’.


Foosball is Juan J. Campanella’s “first” animated film and I must say the graphic work was amazing. On first glance it doesn’t look like much due to the stylization but under closer inspection you can see such a great attention to detail with the characters and overall surroundings. The worn out paint finish on the foosball characters made you feel like these humanoid pieces of time honored pastime had seen a lot of action throughout their years. I’ve seen many foosball tables but never understood how they worked, until seeing this film. It was a big turn out for a lot of Spanish speaking families that day. I’m amazed at how popular soccer is over baseball in those countries. Lots of reactions from parents and children who attended. It was a very heart felt film, I even teared up. The film also comes with a disclaimer stating that it contains some “cultural in-sensitivities” as well as content that you won’t see in American mainstream animation. Aside from that it’s a very fun and family friendly film. Foosball tells the story of a father and son’s disconnect and later reconnection as the son learns the significance (and mystique) behind his father’s Foosball table. Sadly the director was unavailable for this event. Foosball was a box office hit in it’s native Argentina, as well as other Spanish speaking countries, Europe and parts as well as Asian speaking countries. I really hope that this film does get a DVD release.

On Sunday I finally had the chance to attend the English premier of ‘Ernest and Celestine‘; screened at the IFC. It was a pretty good turnout for a Sunday. Surprisingly, this crowd was pretty lively. Co-director Benjamin Renner attended this screening giving a brief introduction before the film and Q&A at the end. During the session Renner stated that ‘Ernest and Celestine’ had been in production for 4 years.

I had the chance to speak with him briefly after the crowd had dispersed. He had to prepare for the next screening later that evening. Renner stated that the film is mostly 2D hand drawn animation done on a computers and tablets. He admitted that CG (assist) was used in the film, while not obvious unless you know what to look for this film still acts and breathes like any 2D film you’ve ever seen. The simple line work and washed water colors gives off a storybook effect that is reminiscent to the children’s books we’ve read as children. Renner does hope to have another opportunity to work on other animated projects but couldn’t comment what works he’ll be doing in the future, if any. Renner stated that he’s possibly going to work on a graphic novel sometime in the near future.

Benjamin Renner:

Ernest and Celestine will be continuing it’s run at the IFC for the remainder of this week as part of the festival. If you didn’t/don’t get a chance to see it in the theaters, the BD/DVD will be available in June of this year. We’ve already put in our preorder. More details about the production of the film will be available in the DVD, states Renner. Ernest and Celestine; directed by Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner is their own take on a prequel based on the original books produced by Belgian author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent during the early 80s. The books have since been reprinted some years ago. Ernest and Celestine is the story of a friendship between two unlikely individuals. Celestine a mouse (orphan) and Ernest (poor recluse) a bear.

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