London International Animation Festival 2011: Preview

“People think of animation only doing things where people are dancing around and doing a lot of histrionics,” Pixar director Brad Bird once said, “but animation is not a genre. A Western is a genre! Animation is an art form, and it can do any genre.” If ever you wanted proof of this statement, the London International Animation Festival at London’s Barbican Centre can provide compelling evidence.

Now in its eighth year, the annual festival spans the breadth of the medium, from cute and family-friendly to dark and experimental, with everything in between.

The biggest event of its kind in the country, there is an extraordinary 250 films squeezed into a ten-day programme, with a diverse selection from directors the world over.

The highlights include eight international evening showcasing a smattering of shorts featuring “every style, every genre, every technique”.

The ‘Technique Focus: Cut Outs’ evening blends Russian and Eastern European animators from the 1940s with a selection of recent works. There’s also two Polish programmes, a British showcase, a ‘Who’s Who of New York’ and a matinee selection for kids.

In addition to the screenings there’s a wealth of other activities such as Q&As, seminars for newcomers and pros, children’s workshops and special guests.The LIAF runs from 26 August to 4 September at the Barbican, and though it might be a cliché to say there’s something for everyone here, with such variety, it’s hard to imagine there’s nothing on this expansive programme that takes your fancy.

John Nugent

London International Animation Festival 2011 trailer from Bianca Ansems on Vimeo