Jake Fried Jake Fried

In a sense, the Supernova Digital Animation Festival was a pandemic-era festival long before the pandemic hit. For half a decade, the event has been staging outdoor screenings of experimental and motion-based animation across Denver, Colorado. Last year, it introduced a complementary online platform to host screenings.

For its fifth edition, to be held in September, Supernova has had to change relatively little about its setup. Outdoor screenings are going ahead on its network of vast LED screens, making this probably the only U.S. animation festival to have taken place safely in real life since the virus hit. Events will adhere “to all Colorado guidelines and mandates for outdoor social distancing and safety protocols.” Oh, and they’re free.

The festival will kick off at 7 p.m. on September 3, when commissioned works will be beamed in a loop onto the Daniels & Fisher Clocktower. Screenings on the tower will recur throughout the month. Meanwhile, competitive and other programs will be gradually rolled out on the Supernova.video online platform (which costs $1.99 per month). The festival and platform are run by digital motion-art platform Denver Digerati.

The centerpiece of the festival comes on September 19, when it will host a walking tour past five LED screens in the downtown Denver Theatre District. Animated works will be shown throughout the afternoon and evening, presented without sound. (Registration is required for the tour.)

“If ever there was a time that society needs the gift of art to elevate the public, it is now,” said Ivar Zeile, Denver Digerati founder and creative director. “The 2020 Supernova World on Fire theme offers a dynamic forum for artists to reflect on the many challenges facing society on a global scale, paving the way towards healing, and the desire for a much greater collective consciousness to take a firm hold.”

There are competitive strands for student films, feature films — including one feature made entirely in the online game Second Life — and various short film categories. The organizers will hand out over $5,000 in cash prizes. Other events include a showcase of student works from Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and a program dedicated to games that incorporate experimental animation.

Head to the festival’s website for more information, including the full schedule.

(Image at top: a work by Jake Fried that will be featured in the walking tour screenings.)

Supernova poster

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Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit

Alex Dudok de Wit is Associate Editor of Cartoon Brew.

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