"Animation Hotline" "Animation Hotline"

If you’re missing the friendly crowds at animation events and their virtual editions aren’t scratching your social itch, Animation Hotline may help. The new podcast bills itself as “a voicemail for lonely animators.” In practice, it is a lovely patchwork of intimate testimonies from artists around the world, which has warmed the heart of this lonely journalist.

The premise is simple: in each episode, one animation filmmaker delivers a short monologue about their current projects and general experience of this strangest of years. Some branch off into others subjects on their mind, be it Boris Labbé praising the medieval Japanese novel The Tale of Genji or Lori Malépart-Traversy speaking candidly about her recent burnout. Two episodes are released every week, one in French, one in English — listen to them all here.

Clémence Bragard.
Clémence Bragard.

Animation Hotline is the brainchild of Clémence Bragard, a programmer and events manager from France. As the artistic director of the National Animation Film Festival in Rennes, Bragard felt the full implications of the pandemic back in early April, when the festival became one of the first to move online. Shortly after, Annecy Festival, where she serves as a programmer and moderator, did the same.

“I am always curious about what animation directors are up to,” Bragard tells Cartoon Brew. “It’s a part of my job to keep an eye on their ongoing projects, and I thought that it could also interest other people. During that first lockdown, I had a lot of time to listen to podcasts while working remotely, and I thought that it could be a good idea to way to share their news.”

Bragard described her idea for a podcast to a few filmmaker friends, who were keen to contribute. Having quickly learned how to edit recordings, she launched Animation Hotline in September. To date, 31 artists — predominantly from the indie world — have recorded an episode, including Regina Pessoa, Einar Baldvin, Sarina Nihei, Dahee Jeong, and Hisko Hulsing.

“What I learnt about the filmmakers was something I was already guessing: they like working at home, having time to focus on concepts, to read, to be inspired by their daily lives,” continues Bragard. “I think through the podcast, they feel at ease to talk freely about private and profound issues such as [Malépart-Traversy’s burnout] or switching between family life and working time. I like that.”

In a neat touch, each contributor is asked to name another filmmaker they would like to hear from. Often, the person they suggest turns up in a later episode. Overall, the podcast does a great job of creating a semblance of festival social life — the ultimate vaccine against the Covid blues.

As well as its own website, Animation Hotline is available on all podcast platforms. It also has a presence on Facebook and Instagram.

Image at top © Denis Chapon

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