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AnimatorsFestivals

8 Must-See Programs At The Upcoming GLAS Animation Festival in Berkeley

Four days of animation screenings, filmmaker talks, workshops, installations, and parties are coming to Berkeley, California, next month in the form of the GLAS Animation Festival. Whether you’re interested in hearing from Pixar directors and artists like Brad Bird and Ana Ramirez or international legends like Georges Schwizgebel, GLAS promises to have something for everyone.

Below, we’ve highlighted eight programs and guests that we think are worth checking out. True of any major festival, the only way to get the full GLAS experience is with a festival pass, available through the GLAS web site. But there are other options as well, including single-day passes, weekend passes, and individual show tickets. Students, ASIFA members, and groups of 5 or more people all receive a discounted rate.

In addition to the special programs and guests listed below, GLAS also has a full slate of competition and showcase screenings comprised of narrative, experimental, student, and commissioned films. This new trailer gives a taste of the type of work that’s waiting to be discovered at the festival:

Here’s our must-see events:

1. Special Guest: Mathieu Labaye
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Mathieu Labaye is a Belgian director who has won numerous awards for his works, which explore themes of movement, constraint, and breaking imposed limits. His lauded short films Orgesticulanismus and Le Labyrinthe both investigate ideas around the confinement of one’s body, mind, and environment, and the freedom and strength found within inner space. His virtuosic chops and ease with hand-drawn animation are a unique window into these topics. Labaye’s works allow the viewer to rethink these subjects on a deeper level, through the expertly fine-tuned eye of an artist with an incredibly strong understanding of human motion and its meaning in our lives. Labaye will be present to discuss his work in a Q&A following the screening.

2. Landscapes + Architecture

Through the invention of impossible architectures and the reimagination of existing ones, these films subvert the usual approach to depicting space. Abstracting the familiar and generating chaos from order, in this program the character of a landscape is reevaluated and a background becomes a foreground. The majority of these films utilize computer graphics and manipulated photography to depict a world that is simultaneously structurally recognizable and deeply alien. The frame is used to challenge the frame, the grid is used to veer off the grid.

3. Special Guest: Lei Lei
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Lei Lei is a master of style and one of the most exciting young Chinese animators working today. Bold and elegant at the same time, his animations follow characters as they navigate his angled landscapes of bright colors and shifting shapes, each film a kaleidoscope of found imagery, vintage book covers, and imagined worlds. Also a musician, Lei Lei’s beats and melodies are a distinctive component of his animated universe. His award-winning work has shown in top animation festivals throughout the world, and this retrospective screening will show the growth of his prolific animation practice. Lei Lei will be present for a Q&A following the screening.

4. Post-Sincerity in Animation

On their surface, the films in this program are lacquered with sarcastic playfulness and insincerity. At their core, however, they are in fact deeply sincere films that address difficult emotions. Using humor and absurdity, these works examine some of the repression and pain that comes with being a sentient being. These films reach their emotional register through misdirection. A large smirk wraps around a tenderness that is buried in the deepest layer. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Are they fucking with you?

5. Special Guest: Masaaki Yuasa
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Masaaki Yuasa is a highly acclaimed director working outside the mold of traditional Japanese animation, slicing open the conventions of anime on his own terms. Yuasa is known for directing such works as Ping Pong, Kaiba, and Tatami Galaxy, and has worked in many corners of the field as a storyboard artist, screenwriter, animator, and co-founder of Science Saru animation studio. Utilizing a vibrancy and a crudeness that liberates, Yuasa’s work is revered for its wildness and invention. His style is infused with a broad variety of influences and his narratives are unapologetically raw, fresh, and bizarre, creating a new form of psychedelia. A special screening of his first feature film Mind Game will be followed by a Q&A with Yuasa led by Nobuaki Doi, animation scholar and director of the New Chitose Airport Festival.

6. Sensual Animation

Animation is a medium that can express the sensuality and stickiness of our inner desires in a way that no other form can. A quivering line. An infinite tongue. A slowly split piece of platonic fruit. It is a flexible space for the expression of id, taboo, fantasy and pleasure. This selection of films probes the psychology of desire and the sensual from a variety of different positions. Libidinal expression has pulsed throughout the history of animation and these films continue the pursuit to scratch that itch. This program is intended to be viewed as a group, side by side in the dark, almost touching.

7. Special Guest: Amy Lockhart
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In Amy Lockhart’s idiosyncratic candy-colored world, all cartoon creatures flex, smear, blink and lick in perpetuity. Lockhart is a multi-faceted artist and teacher who works in animation, sculpture, painting, and comics. Her techniques range from a masterful manipulation of DIY aesthetics like papier mâché and painted paper cut outs to irreverent digital Amiga animations that boast their glitches. Lockhart’s work is embedded with a strong sense of craft and an awareness of animation history, fully owning and repurposing cartoon logic and physics to her own absurdist ends. Are her anthropomorphic hamburgers snickering with you or at you? You’ll never know. Join us for complete retrospective of Lockhart’s films followed by a Q&A.

8. Installation: “Pattern Language” by Peter Burr

“Pattern Language”” is a term coined by architect Christopher Alexander describing the aliveness of certain human ambitions through an index of structural patterns. Some advocates of this design approach claim that ordinary people can use it to successfully solve very large, complex design problems. In this installation, the vocabulary of Alexander’s system is employed towards the construction of an endlessly mutating death labyrinth, projected inside an immersive 4-channel video environment. Audiences enter the environment and may choose to stand, sit or recline on a stepped platform.

Peter Burr is an artist from Brooklyn, NY specializing in animation and installation. His work has been presented at venues across the world including Le Centre Pompidou, Paris; Reina Sofia National Museum, Madrid; and MoMA PS1, New York. His recent work explores the concept of an endlessly mutating death labyrinth and is being expanded into a video game through the support of Creative Capital and Sundance. A retrospective of Peter’s works will be presented in addition to the installation.

GLAS will take place from March 2-5 in Berkeley, California. For more information on programs and attending the festival, visit GLASAnimation.com.

Cartoon Brew is proud to be a major sponsor of the GLAS Animation Festival.