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.