05 November 2012

Kunjani'mation 2012

So despite my actions I am still alive, though my lack of an update is quite appalling nonetheless. A great deal has happened since my last post, but by far the most interesting was Kunjanimation 2012, the second edition of the original South African animation festival.

Much expanded, this years festival was host to hundreds of animators from across the country, fascinating workshops and talks, deplorable screenings of absolutely excellent local and international films (Thanks Ster kinekor, thanks Nu-metro) and all round festive atmosphere!

The festival centred around the V&A Waterfront, where I had the fortune (figuratively and literally) to attend the Gobelins master classes taught by animator, director and all round decent bloke Alexandre Heboyan. Unfortunately, attending the master classes excused me from many of the other awesome events of the festival, but it's ok, because everyone at those events hated me for being amongst the hotshots who managed to book for the masterclass.

The Masterclass was an in depth breakdown of Alex' performance animation workflow, and man. Man man man, it's a seriously logical workflow, and Alex is a seriously encouraging, honest and clear teacher. I'm definitely going to be making use of what I learned and I don't blame those who didn't apply fast enough for their envy - What a great experience.

But my luck in securing a seat in the workshop had everything to do with sitting two desks away from Daniel Snaddon at Triggerfish. Daniel is the only man I know crazy enough to organise an animation festival while working 29 hours a day as a lead animator on Khumba, and he is also crazy enough to be a close friend of mine. And while we're here in the past, before the festival, I can explain how I came to be in charge of the outreach component of the festival.

Again, I blame Daniel. But like he would tell me, it's my own damn fault.

Alexandre Heboyan, the Gobelins lecturer, Dreamworks Alumni and currently the director of his first animated feature film Mune, offered generously to give a free talk to students from under privileged communities. So I volunteered to head that up, sounds like something chicks would dig, right? Needless to say, the experience of organising the talk was a huge lesson to me. Through a convoluted and poorly illuminated search for help, I eventually came into contact with Leon Buchner, head of Visual Art and Design for the WCED(Western Cape Education Department), and Gary Kachelhoffer, head of the animation department at the Falsebay college, the only animation course to my knowledge in the Cape Flats. These guys did the real work, of getting the students with the aptitude and interest for animation aware of the talk, and of getting them there.

Triggerfish generously came to the table, offering us their viewing room as a venue, and WESGRO generously offered us Patricia de Lille, who unfortunately had a date with some rather unimpressed truck drivers and couldn't be there to enjoy the talk. A more interesting extra guest was Tumelo Selemolela, a friend and animator who fought alongside me on Khumba, who grew up in Alexandra township in Gauteng. Tumi had the challenge of standing up after Alex and talking about the path he took to find his career, and he did an awesome job.

At the end of the day, despite my lack of experience in event management, the students got to the talk and left with their heads exploding with awesomeness.

Me, talking about talking

Alex, blowing minds

Tumi, giving us his story

Alex and the animation students from the Falsebay College, in the Triggerfish Parking area.

From that point my stress levels decreased, and I was able to enjoy the festival, a true celebration of the art of animation. The next night was the opening ceremony, and the Cape premiere of Adventures in Zambezia, the first Triggerfish feature film. 

The opening ceremony.
You may think I came this far back to get the perfect shot, but actually I was trying to spot all the food platters.
From there the festival was all day and all night animation, I made it to only one other screening, the closing ceremony screening of le Tableau (the Painting) directed by Jean-Fran├žois Laguionie, who I got to have lunch with on the harbour. He's an incredibly knowledgeable man, which would have changed my life if I could understand French.

Left to right, Triggerfishies Samantha Cutler (Animator), Vanessa Sinden (Producer), Anthony Silverston (Director), Daniel Clarke (Concept Artist), Karen Botha (Art Director) hanging out with Alexandre Heboyan (French) before the screening of le Tableau.
I can't really say I feel comfortable in normal everyday life since, the festival was a buffet of opportunities for everyone. Had it never happened, I feel my future would be painted with a different brush. 

(lol painter jokes.)

Daniel and I at the closing ceremony after party. Being hunks.
Photo by Shannan Taylor.

In the meantime, I'm lecturing on animation principles and drawing at the SAE institute Capetown, and looking for any freelance work that hasn't seen me sneaking up behind it. Have a look at my new portfolio blog, and also check out these stories I've been writing

I've been considering alcoholism as a career booster towards my goal of one day being a renowned author. What you guys think?