Fredrikstad Animation Festival 2018

The 23rd edition of Fredrikstad Animation Festival (FAF) was held from October 25 to 28, with Fredrikstad Municipal Cinema, the House of Literature in Fredrikstad and TÆPS as its venues. The festival saw a huge increase in public attendance, with a 70% increase in pass sales. Fredrikstad Animation Festival is produced by Norsk Animasjonsforum.

Summary FAF 2018

31 screenings with a total of 129 films.
86 short films, 33 pieces of commissioned work and 10 feature films.
11 seminars and panel talks with 30 filmmakers from 7 countries.
55% female directors in the festival’s competition programme for Nordic-baltic animated short film. 7 of 10 features screened had a female director.
Films from 26 countries were shown, including Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, UK, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Poland, USA, Hungary, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Canada, Croatia, South Korea, Russia, Ireland, Luxembourg.

Golden Gunnar winners 2018

The international jury for Nordic-Baltic student- and short film consisted of Christin Berg (Norway), David Doutel (Portugal) and Riina Viilén (Finland). The jury for commissioned film was Nick Simons (Norway/England), Lena Ólafsdottir (Denmark/Iceland) and Mats Grorud (Norway). The winner of the children’s film award was selected by a jury of local children.

Grand Prix

Night Walks (Lizete Upite, Latvia – 2018)

Jury’s statement:
This year’s Grand Prix winner was chosen for its ability to transport us into an atmosphere of mysticism with simple, but carefully crafted visuals, its immersive sound design and its beautifully paced dialogue that made us walk along with the characters.

Best Nordic-Baltic Short Film

Quiet (Marianne Bundgaard Nielsen, Norge – 2018)

Jury statement:
The winner of this year’s Nordic-Baltic Short Film Competition is a film that is consistent in its approach, giving an unsentimental portrayal of a painful everyday life. Through its animated and original tableaux, this film shows the quiet children who, each in their own way, become the victims of their parents’ struggles. The theme is sadly universal and relevant. This film manages to give these children a voice in a reflected, touching way.

Special Mention Nordic-Baltic short film:
Little Boy (Kristian Pedersen, Norway – 2018)

Best Nordic-Baltic Student Film

Muteum (Äggie Pak Yee Lee, Estonia – 2017)

Jury statement:
We have chosen to award a film that inspires with its exuberance. The film is colorful and informal, juxtaposing the seriousness of the art establishment with children’s natural playfulness. The animation is precise, and the line elegant, playful and consistent.

Best Nordic-Baltic Children Film

The Downfall of Santa Claus (Robert Depuis, Norway – 2018)

Jury statement:
This year’s children’s film award winner is really cool. We like how it’s put together. It just captivates you. A really funny Santa.

Special Mention Nordic-Baltic children’s film:
The Robot and the Whale (Jonas Forsman, Sweden – 2018)

Best Nordic-Baltic Commissioned Film

Når Knoklene blir Gele (Kristian Pedersen, Norway – 2018)

Jury statement:
We felt that we were watching talented, instinctive and virtuosic artists, practicing true craftsmanship of animation within the framework of a commission for a client. The director is a discreet genius, overseeing a perfect package of detail, subtlety, pacing and blending of style, that brought it together as an organic whole. While not the first to use lyrics on screen, this was both gloriously retro and genuinely original. The strength of concept, musicality within the animation, and seamless interplay made this.

Audience Award

Vittelo Gets a Yucky Girlfriend (Dorte Bengtson, Denmark – 2017)

Film Programmes

Opening film

The Tower
Norway – 2018, Director: Mats Grorud

The Norwegian feature film The Tower opened the festival Thursday evening. Director Mats Grorud and producer Frode Søbstad were present during the screening. The festival was officially opened by the state secretary of the Ministry of Culture Frida Blomgren in a short ceremony before the screening.

Competition programme for Nordic-Baltic animated short films

The festival’s main programme is the competition programme for Nordic-Baltic animated short film in the categories of professional short film, children’s film, student film and commissioned film. 144 projects were submitted, out of which 19 short films, 8 children’s films, 16 student films and 33 commissioned work were selected. The pre-selection jury consisted of Pil Cappelen Smith (Norway), Laura Almantaite (Lithuania) and festival director Anders Narverud Moen.

Best of International Short

Two programmes with short films selected from other European animation film festivals were screened during the festival. 18 films from 15 countries were programmed by the festival staff.

Other short film programmes and retrospective programme

A total of 26 films were screened in three different side programmes.

  • Kindergarten programme: five films suitable for the age group from 0 to 5.
  • Roze Stiebra Retrospective: programme dedicated to the festival’s guest of honour, Latvian filmmaker Roze Stiebra.
  • Animated Night: Sex, Love and Erotica

Feature Film

10 feature films were screened during the festival. Six of these films were part of the family day event.

Children’s- and family films

Gordon & Paddy (Linda Hambäck, Sweden – 2017)
Nabospionen (Karla Von Bengtson, Denmark – 2016)
KuToppen (Lise Osvoll, Norway – 2018)
Vitello (Dorte Bengtson, Denmark – 2018)
Troll: The Tale of a Tail (Kevin Munroe & Kristian Kamp, Norway, Canada & China –2018)
The Tower (Mats Grorud, Norway, France & Sweden – 2018)

Animated features without a Norwegian distributor

The Breadwinner (Nora Twomey, Ireland, Canada & Luxembourg – 2017)
This Magnifique Cake! (Marc James Roels & Emma De Swaef, Belgium, France & Netherlands – 2018)
Seder-Masochism (Nina Paley, USA – 2018)
Tehran Taboo (Ali Soozandeh, Germany – 2017)

VR Short films

Two VR short film were showcased in the cinema hall Friday October 25:
Nothing Happened (Michelle & Uri Kranot, Denmark – 2017)
Beyond the Fence (Goro Fujita, USA – 2017)

Guests

During the festival, several highly acclaimed filmmakers and animation experts were presented in different programme sections. The festival’s official guest were: Roze Stiebra (Latvia), Carter Goodrich (USA), Eric Daniels (USA), Goro Fujita (USA), Ciaran Duffy (Ireland), Lana Tankosa Nikolic (Denmark), Chrisitian Ryltenius (Sweden), Kari Juusonen (Finland), Hanna Järvinen (Finland), Petter Lindblad (Sweden), Ivan Kondrup Jensen (Denmark), David Doutel (Portugal), Lena Olafsdottir (Denmark), Riina Viileén (Finland), Hefang Wei (France), Fraser Maclean (Scotland), Laura Almantaite (Lithuania), Ieva Viese-Vigula (Latvia), Mats Grorud (Norway), Christin Berg (Norway), Nick Simons (Norway), Endre Skandfer (Norway), Ronald Kabicek (Norway), Frank Mosvold (Norway), Twintrash (Norway) and Pil Cappelen Smith (Norway).

Additionally, several short filmmakers from the competition programme were presented in the festival’s ’Meet the Filmmakers’ events: Marianne Bundgaard Nielsen (Norway), Lizete Upite (Latvia), Kristian Pedersen (Norway), Kaisa Penttilä (Finland), Jonas Forsman (Sweden), Dorte Bengtson (Denmark), Robert Depuis (Norway), Astrid Pfefferkorn Øverli (Norway), Claudia Munksgaard-Palmqvist (Denmark) and Ola Angelman (Sweden).

Guest of Honour and Lifetime Achievement Winner

The guest of Honour during Fredrikstad Animation Festival 2018 was the Latvian director Roze Stiebra, who also received the festival’s lifetime achievement award for her lifelong dedication to the Nordic-Baltic animation scene. Stiebra was educated at the Leningrad State Institute of Theatre, Music, and Cinematography, and graduated in 1964 with a diploma as director of puppet animation. She began her work in Latvian television with live-action puppetry, but wished to venture into animation. Despite many obstacles, she managed to start a department of animation and professionally pioneered both cut-out animation (1969–1983) and drawn animation (from 1983) in Latvia. She has created more than 30 films and received national and international awards.

Industry Seminar

Painting and animating in VR – Goro Fujita

Goro Fujita is part of the Oculus Story Studio team in San Francisco, where he works as an art director for several VR projects. He talked about his career path right through from his first entry into the film industry, all the way to creating VR content. Using his journey as an example, he discussed different ways to succeed and showed how creating a routine can improve your skills. The discussion was followed by a live Quill VR painting demo.

Disney: How tech can solve artistic challenges – Eric Daniels

Looking back at a long and successful career in the international animation scene, Eric Daniels shared with the audience the insights and skills he has gained through working on numerous major productions. A traditionally-trained animator, programmer and inventor, and now an EFX animator at Disney, Eric has a long history of finding new ways to bridge the worlds of art and technology, and is frequently called upon to help solve technically challenging artistic problems. Eric focused on the processes that enabled him to solve some of the more interesting challenges he has faced at Disney Animation, and how false starts and dead ends encountered along the way led to new solutions in art and technology.

Character Design – Carter Goodrich

The creator of a majority of the characters in movies like Ratatouille, Coco, Finding Nemo, Shrek or Despicable Me held a keynote talk about his work and the methods he employs in creating iconic characters. Considered one of the greatest in his field, Carter Goodrich possesses a distinct and easily recognizable style that places a particularly rare and imaginative spin on all his characters. During Friday’s seminar, he shared his experiences as a character designer and illustrator, and showed some of his work through three decades.

Nordic Animation Forum

As an important part of Fredrikstad Animation Festival’s focus on the Nordic animation scene, the festival arranges a forum with a special focus on the animation industry in the Nordic Area. This forum is put together through a collaboration between different Nordic associations for animation and includes the Swedish Association for animation and VFX – SAAVA, the Danish association for animation – ANIS, and Finnanimation, a non-profit organization for promoting the Finnish animation industry.

The speakers at the 2018 edition of the forum were:
Frank Mosvold from Norway, with a work in progress presentation of his feature about the TV heroine Ella Bella Bingo; The Danish production company Late Love Productions represented by producer Lana Tankosa Nikolic and the Swedish director Christian Ryltenius who is developing a new animation feature. Hailing from Finland, the production company Matila Röhr presented their newest projects.

Other seminars and presentations

Breakfast seminar: Petter Lindblad

Together with the creative industry in Fredrikstad and Blender Collective, the festival presented a breakfast seminar to kick-start the festival Thursday morning. The Swedish producer and director Petter Lindblad gave a work-in-progress presentation of his upcoming VR-short film Lifegiver, which he and co-director Mika Pollack are producing with funding from the Swedish Film Institute. Lifegiver is an animated VR film dealing with refugees placed in a science fiction format, and tells a story about their fate and the moral dilemmas people face in a highly difficult situation. In the presentation Petter Lindblad focused on the process of developing the story, why they chose the format of VR-short film and shared some thoughts about what the experience would be like.

Krüger & Krogh

The trio Bjarte Agdestein, Ronald Kabíček and Endre Skandfer all have a long career in the animation scene in Norway, and have worked with numerous studios like Qvisten, Mikrofilm, Filmkameratene, Storm and Hyper. In 2014 they made their debut as graphic novelists with the first edition of Krüger & Krogh. During the festival, the authors presented the new book in the series in a presentation at the House of Literature in Fredrikstad.

Meeting with filmmakers

Meet the Filmmakers

On Friday night, the short film makers from the festival’s competition programme were presented in a Q&A session. The conversation was moderated by Pil Cappelen Smith, who had also been part of the pre-selection jury for the competition programme for short and student films.

Meet the future

In a Q&A session, the young talents from the student film programme were presented by Laura Almantaite, festival director of Blon Festival in Lithuania. Laura was also part of the pre-selection jury for the Nordic-Baltic competition programme.

The Breadwinner: Q&A with Ciaran Duffy

After the screening of the Oscar nominated feature The Breadwinner, a conversation with the film’s art director Ciaran Duffy was held. The conversation was led by moderator Fraser Maclean, and gave the audience insights into the visual approach of the film.

Roze Stiebra Q&A

After the screening of the retrospective programme dedicated to the guest of honour Roze Stiebra, a Q&A session was held. The session was moderated by the author of the Stiebra’s biography, Ieva Viese-Vigula.

Young Audiences

Educational: Seminar for students

Supported by the Viken regional film center, the festival has been developing a seminar for students in upper secondary school and higher education over several years. The 2018 edition of the seminar presented two Scandinavian artists that regularly work with big international productions.

Ghost VFX: Ivan Kondrup Jensen

Ghost VFX is the the Nordic countries’ leading VFX studio and has contributed to productions like Star Wars, Walking Dead and Kontiki. Ivan Kondrup Jensen has over ten years’ experience as VFX supervisor for the studio.

Twintrash

Twintrash are Markus and Tommy Vad Flaaten from Tønsberg, Norway. Despite their young age, they have already established themselves in the international animation scene and are now directing the Disney-DX TV-series Space Chickens in Spac.

Workshop for young talents

In collaboration with Amandus – Lillehammer International student film festival and E6 – Østfold Medieverksted, a workshop for young talents was arranged during the festival weekend. The workshop was led by animation director Hefang Wei, who also was involved in the making of the festival’s opening film The Tower.

Ceremonies and exhibitions

Award Ceremony

The festival’s legendary award ceremony was held on Saturday night, with the official jury handing out the awards for best short film, student film and commissioned film. The Golden Gunnar Grand Prix was awarded to the Latvian animation director Lizete Upite for her short film Night Walks. Master of Ceremony was Nabi Yeon Geisha.

Exhibitions

The Tower
An exhibition displayed puppets, sets and other art material from the brand-new Norwegian feature film. The film is a mix between puppet stop-motion and 2D animation, and is a collaboration between Norway, France and Sweden. The audience could experience original art work from the film, and dig deep into the great work which made the film possible. A reception for the exhibition was held before the official opening of the festival, which also included the screening of the film.

Roze Stiebra
During the festival, an exhibition dedicated to the films of Guest of Honour Roze Stiebra was on display at the House of Literature. A representative from the Latvian embassy was present and opened the exhibition.

Team and Partners

The festival administration consisted of festival director Anders Narverud Moen, festival coordinator Therese Øvergård, guest and seminar coordinator Jonas Saabel and information coordinator Martin Bjølstad.

The festival was produced in collboration with:
Amandusfestivalen i Lillehammer, Animaatioklinikka, Animation Volda, ANIS – Animasjonssamenslutningen, Blender Collective, E6 Østfold Medieverksted, Fabel, Finnanimation, Frame by Frame, Fredrikstad Municipal Cinema, Fredrikstad Kommune, Grafill Animasjon, Karivold Film, the House of Literature in Fredrikstad, Nebbet, Netron, Nordisk Film & TV Fond, Norwegian Film Institute, OBOS, Qulthus, SAAVA, Scandic City Hotel, The Cure Foodtruck, Viken Filmsenter and Østfold Fylkeskommune.