Oslo Animation Festival 1996 was held from the 25th to the 28th of April at Sentrum Scene and Cinemateket. The festival administration consisted of Arna Marie Bersaas, Vibeke Christensen (festival director), Hilde Herming and Anne Cathrine Rognerud. New this year was the competing programme for Nordic and Baltic films, as well as screenings at Cinemateket in cooperation with Filmens Hus and Barnefilmfestivalen. A total of 3000 visitors came to the festival during its four days, roughly three times as many as the previous year. Along with the 44 Nordic and Baltic films in the competing programme, the festival screened special programmes with films from the jury members’ studios, two historic programmes, and two feature films. Oslo Animation Festival had the pleasure of screening four of the five Academy Award nominees for this year, including the winner A Close Shave.
Roughly 150 films were screened during this years four daylong festival. They can be divided into four categories:
Nordic and Baltic films in the competing programme
The Nordic and Baltic countries were invited to participate in the competition with films produced between January 1st 1995 and February 1st 1996. The number of films in this programme accounted for one third of the festivals entire programme.
Special programmes by the jury members
Five of the six members of the jury had their own programmes with films from their own studios. Bettina Björnberg, Marv Newland, Paul Driessen and Alexander Tatarsky are all animators, and Abby Terkuhle showed clips from various MTV-productions. The jury members introduced their own programmes, which was well received by the audience.
The committee in charge of the programmes selected highlights from other festivals, and divided the chosen films into three international programmes. These programmes contained various award winners, and represented a broad spectre of animation techniques and ideas. After the programme was finalized, two new films were added, improving the quality of the programme even more: Carrotblanca (Warner Bros.) (U.S.), and the Oscar nominated The End (Alias Wavefront/Silicon Graphics) (Canada).
The historic programmes were presented by film archivist and historian Dennis Nyback, and represented two different sides of film history. Wladyslaw Starewicz (Russia) is a stop-motion animation legend, and we had the privilege to screen five of his rare and macabre melodramas from 1911-1933.
The 2nd programme, Sex, Jazz & War, consisted of politically incorrect cartoons with popular cartoon characters, made in the U.S. before and during WWII. These films were made before the censorship, and therefore contain material the major studios do not want to be associated with today.
Two quite different feature length films were screened as a part of the programme: Toy Story, the worlds first feature length film entirely done by computer animation, and Crumb, a documentary about the controversial cartoonist. Both films were obvious placeholders in the festival’s programme, and were internationally considered as important films.
Competing programme and award winners
Being the only animation festival in the Nordic region, Fredrikstad Animation Festival wishes to emphasize films from the Nordic countries. The 1996 competition helped establish the festival as a gathering for Nordic and Baltic animators. Over 70 films were submitted, and 45 of these were chosen by the pre-selection jury to compete in the programme.
1895 by Priit Pärn (Estonia) won the award for Best Film. Jan Otto Ertesvåg (Norway) won the Debutant Award for Prosessor, while the award for Best Commercial was won by Swedish duo Jonas Dalbeck and Stig Bergquist (Filmtecknarna) for their commercial Linetest. Norwegian Christopher Nielsen won the award for People’s Favourite, and the jury awarded Estonian Mati Kütt and his film Little Lily with their Special Jury Award.
Jury and guests
The jury consisted of six people: Bettina Björnberg (Finland), Alexander Tatarsky (Russia), Marv Newland (Canada), Abby Terkuhle (USA), Paul Driessen (Holland) og Turid Øversveen (Norway). The jury members were chosen based on their academic skills and the fact that some of them were to screen their own films during the festival. Having Nordic representatives in the jury together with world-renowned animators was important for the festival.
In addition to the jury members, Polish animator Piotr Dumala also attended the festival, along with the Palestinian caricaturist Khalil Abu Arafeh, and film archivist and historian Dennis Nyback, from the U.S.
Exhibitions and stands
Khalil abu Arafeh
In collaboration with NORAD, Oslo Animation Festival chose to display 18 caricatures portraying the political issues in the Palestinian area. Arafeh, born in Jerusalem in 1957, is both an architect, and has been drawing for three newspapers. With support from NORAD, these displayed caricatures were published as a book. Because of the political situation in The Middle East, caricature drawers are in a dangerous situation. Arafeh said “while the Israeli censorship prohibits drawings which might be understood as provoking towards the Israeli occupation, Palestinian editors do not publish any drawings which might include criticism towards the Palestinian authorities or the President. Publishing drawings like these could cause punishment to both the newspaper and the caricaturist.
Nielsen’s exhibition consisted of cartoon drawings as well as frames from the films Narvefredag. The film won the People’s Choice Award at the 1996 festival.
During the 1996 festival Silicon Graphics held a stand where they showed the newest software and computer animation techniques. The company Alias Wavefront (owned by Silicon Graphics) were nominated for an Academy Award for computer animation with their film The End. The films was screened in our international programme, and used as a demo film at the stand. Silicon Graphics was of great interest to both people from the industry as well as other audiences.