I've just returned from the famed Stuttgart Animation Festival in Germany, where I was a judge in the feature film category.
It's one of my favorite festivals, so it was a pleasure for me to return - but also, since I'm almost finished with CHEATIN', it gives me a chance to see what my competition is.
They programmed 8 films for the jury to see:
"Wolf Children" by Mamoru Hosada, typical Japanese animé style of the offspring of a wolfman and a school girl.
"Approved for Adoption" by Laurent Boileau and Jung Henin from Belgium, a
very touching story of a Korean boy adapting to a European family.
"Kirikou and the Men and the Women" by the great Michel Ocelot, the
third feature about the clever little African boy, done in CG and 3-D.
"Pinocchio" by Enzo D'Alo - I found this fascinating because it was a
true retelling of Colladi's 100-year-old story, unlike the Disney
version. Also, the backgrounds by Lorenzo Mattotti are amazing.
"The Suicide Shop" by Patrice Leconte - a French/Belgian musical comedy
about a bizarre family that runs a store catering to suicides,
"Children Who Chase Lost Voices From Deep Below" by Makoto Shinkai from
Japan - a visually interesting schoolgirl fantasy with Miyazaki-like
"Rio 2096 - A Story of Love and Fury" by Luiz Bolognesi from Brazil - an
interesting look at the history of Brazil through the lives of two
revolutionary lovers, marred by weak art.
"Ernest and Celestine" by Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar and Stephane
Aubier - a beautiful and touching traditionally animated story of a bear
and a mouse who fall in love and teach us about intolerance.
The other judges, Reinhard Klooss and Anand Gurnani, and I unanimously gave the prize to "Ernest and Celestine", which made our deliberation pass very quickly.
At the closing ceremonies, the top prizes for short films went to Hisko Hulsing and "Junkyard" (audience prize) and "Oh Willy" by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels.
I did two shows - a panel on Kickstarter that was jam-packed (everyone wants to join Kickstarter) and a workshop on CHEATIN' that was also very well attended. It was interesting that a large number of my Kickstarter supporters were in attendance. I love that the crowd-funding site is so international.
I want to give a big "Thank You" to my jury guide, Patricia Strasburger.
and Thank you, Stuttgart!