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Australian International Animation Festival 2017 starts tomorrow!

Tags: Animation News Film Education Harmony Storyboarding

This weekend, our industry will turn its attention to Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. Besides having potentially the best name ever, the city is hosting the Australian International Animation Festival 2017 (AIAF) in collaboration with Charles Sturt University (CSU).

Now in its fourteenth year, the annual event has garnered global attention and acclaim for its curation of cartoon cinematography. Running Friday, May 12, to Sunday, May 14, at the Forum 6 Cinema, AIAF 2017 will screen over 120 first-class films across a range of styles, genres and techniques — selected from more than 4,000 international submissions.

Programming is categorized as:

  • International Programs 1-3 (M15+)
  • Australian Showcase (M15)
  • Best of International Student Animation (M15+)
  • Kid’s Program (all ages)
  • Late Night Bizarre (R18+)
  • SIGGRAPH Showcase (M15+)

 Admission to the festival is limited to those aged 15 and over (M15+) with two exceptions: the all-ages Kid’s Program and Late Night Bizarre, which is restricted to adults 18 and older. Tickets are $8 for the Kid’s Program, $13 for a single session and $50 for a full festival pass. (Prices are in AUD.)

At 23 million people, Australia has a comparatively small population compared to top animation producing countries like the United States, France and Japan. That said, Oz punches well above its weight in animation education. On “Animation Career Review’s 2017 Top 100 International Animation Schools”, 14 of the 100 institutions listed were from Down Under.australian-international-animation-festival-2017-candide.jpgSource: AIAF Facebook page

AIAF 2017 will be a special celebration of CSU pioneering animation education in Australia; this year marks a decade since the school launched the nation’s first undergraduate degree dedicated to the art of animation and visual effects. The festival is also a chance for the public to learn about our industry, its history, the creative process and production through a series of free talks and workshops by leading animators from Australia and abroad.

Toon Boom is proud to sponsor the Australian International Animation Festival for 2017. While we don’t want to spoil the ‘sur-prize’, last year’s attendees won free one-year licenses to our industry-leading 2d animation softwares Harmony and Storyboard Pro.

We chatted with AIAF organizer and CSU animation professor Andrew Hagan about the festival, the school behind it and why Australian production has risen from ‘Down Underdog’ to regional leader of the pack.

What sets AIAF apart from other animation festivals?

AH: AIAF has to be experienced to be believed. Set in beautiful Wagga Wagga, Australia, this relaxed, generous, animator-friendly festival has all the charm of a country town without compromising on the highest-quality standards expected from a prestigious international event.australian-international-animation-festival-2017-amarillo.jpgSource: AIAF Facebook page.

A vital and popular program, there aren’t many opportunities to watch Australian animation on the big screen — and each year AIAF probably shows more than any other event in the world. This is a chance to see what Australian animators are doing, how they’re doing it and how the art form is traveling.

After screenings, viewers can meet many of the animators, hear them talk about their films and ask them questions about their work. Overall, the festival showcases an eclectic mix of films and gives audiences a complete, up-to-date snapshot of the international creative animation scene.

Congratulations on CSU’s 10-year anniversary in the animation education business. How has the program evolved in the last decade?

AH: Thank you! This course was Australia’s first bachelor’s degree dedicated to the art of animation and visual effects. It is devoted to students who are passionate about creating memorable visuals and bringing their imagination to life. We help them capture the concept in their mind and deliver it to the screen, web, 2D/3D print, theatre, canvas — whatever format does the idea justice.

Founded upon traditional arts principles, this degree provides a unique collaborative framework for students to explore their visual talents through diverse media and evolving industries, with particular emphasis on the digital realm. From traditional 2D animation through to a whole new generation of VR/AR experiences, creative people are always in demand!

Why do you think Australia is seeing such an animation boom currently?

AH: Australian animators are generally isolated from the rest of the world but aspire to make internationally competitive films no matter the cost. These artists punch well above their weight and stun audiences with high-quality animation that no-one expected from Down Under.

For more details on AIAF 2017 screenings and scheduling, visit their website or Facebook page.

What are you most excited about at the Australian International Animation Festival 2017? Let us know in the comments below!