After Annecy and Platform, I figured I’d had my fill of animation festivals for the year, but I’m rethinking that stance after hearing about Aurora. Aurora, you ask? This is the new name of the UK’s Norwich International Animation Festival, and it’s happening this year from November 7-10. While the festival has dropped ‘animation’ from its name, it has done so in an effort to redefine the notion of what an animation festival can be. A bit of explanation about the name change can be found on the Aurora site:
The change of the name is the annual festivalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s latest move towards a truly multidisciplinary programme, and represents the opinion that Ã¢â‚¬ËœanimationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ itself has become a restrictive tag which rarely does justice to the myriad artistic activity that it encompasses. It follows, then, that an Ã¢â‚¬Ëœanimation festivalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is no longer capable of staying abreast of this enormous artistic diversity – so in order to more freely reflect the way we think animation is heading, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re dropping the label.
However, the festival is emphatically not abandoning animation Ã¢â‚¬“ quite the opposite. The move away from an Ã¢â‚¬Ëœanimation festivalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ will allow it to concentrate on what animation really is, on what itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s truly capable of, without being constrained by arguments about definition or limited to presenting film work alone.
Aurora has five featured artists this yearÃ¢â‚¬”Robert Breer, Takashi Ishida, Jeff Scher, Naoyuki Tsuji and Jim TrainorÃ¢â‚¬”all of whom will be there in person to present programs of their work. These are complemented by an intriguing array of curated short programs, discussions and debates, and live performances combined with real-time animation. We’ve already seen some of this boundary-busting attitude at Platform earlier this year with its installation and cell phone animation competitions. Aurora is pushing it one step further, ushering in a new breed of animation festival that extends beyond films and embraces the entire cross-disciplinary potential of the medium. To read more from another blogger excited about this festival, check out Ben Ettinger’s AniPages Daily.