SeaShorts'18: Mini Animated Movie Munchies

What Has To Be / Singapore / Jerrold Chong
Philms and cheeps, anyone? The SEA animation programme at SeaShorts offers bite-sized variety through twelve animated shorts from Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Japan. Here, SINdie interviewed Fabrizio Gilardino, the programmer for the SeaShorts animation section.

Fabrizio, you're a graphic artist and independent curator and you founded Kuala Lumpur's AWAS (A Weekend of Animation Shorts), and you're also part of the curatorial team of KLEX (Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Music and Video festival). Tell me more about the selection process and what you considered when you programmed the animation section for this year's SeaShorts Film Festival. 

I usually don’t impose myself very specific limitations when I’m asked to curate animation shorts programmes, apart from possible geographical considerations, such as in this case. I tend to prefer a large palette, especially when it comes to animation techniques — be it more or less traditional, hand-drawn animation or computer-based or rotoscoping or stop motion animation. The same goes for “content”, although I am very fond of abstract animation and non-linear fiction… In this specific case, I wanted to include as many shorts as possible both in terms of animation techniques and narrative (or non-narrative) takes and try to offer the widest view as possible of today’s animation in South-East Asia.

Neither Lit Nor Dark / Thailand / Chanon Treenet
The Hunt / Vietnam and Japan / Mai Nguyen Hong Ngoc and Miyako Makio
Many of the films are about personal history and memory. What are some of the themes you see come up repeatedly? Are SEA animators more interested in certain themes compared to those from other parts of the world (Italy, Canada, etc.)? 

Actually, I’m not sure this is the case. There’s only a couple of movies overtly dealing with “personal history and memory”, Dessy Tab’s “Going Home to Indonesia” and “The Hunt” by Mai Nguyen Hong Ngoc and Miyako Makio… And no, I don’t see South-East Asian animators being more interested in certain themes than their European or American counterparts. 

Three The Peehood / Singapore / Kapie Eipak

The programme features some experimental works. Are there any animation styles or techniques you're excited about in SEA?

I have a tendency to prefer hand-drawn animation, especially whenever ink is involved. I guess it has to do with my background as a graphic artist who learned his trade a few years before computers were introduced. 

Purr / Thailand / Pailin Tantiprasongchai
You said that you were often confronted with the idea that "animation" was only what Pixar and Disney were doing, or Japanese anime, or video games. What is "animation" to you? What draws you to animation in particular? 

I believe animation is about painting and illustration, graphic design and typography, cinematography and editing, music and sound design, storytelling and poetry: indeed is about Art. And as French poet Robert Filliou so aptly put it, “Art is what makes life more interesting than art”. 

A Brief History of Time / Singapore / CraveFX
Generally speaking, what direction (or directions) is SEA animation heading toward? Where would you like to see it go next? 

First of all it would be nice to see more independent animators around — there’s not many in South-East Asia in general, and indeed very few in certain countries. And it would be nice to see more of them speaking with their own voice and breaking away from mainstream/commercial models...

Interested in what else showed at SeaShorts? Check out the full line-up hereSeaShorts Film Festival 2018 ran from 01 - 05 August. You can support the festival here.
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