Fredrikstad Animation Festival (FAF) 2020 was held from 22 to 25 of October at the Fredrikstad Kino, TÆPS, and HoiPolloi as the main venues. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, there were strong restrictions on the event and assembly. The festival chose to develop a digital platform that allowed the audience to see most of the programme online.
Key Metrics of the Fredrikstad Animation Festival:
- 102 films in 26 performances
- 96 films were available on the festival’s digital platform
- Second highest sales of festival passes
- 17 seminars and presentations with filmmakers and international guests arranged physically and streamed on the festival’s digital platform.
During the Fredrikstad Animation Festival (FAF) 2020, a diverse programme was presented with films, seminars, and other events in the theme of animation. The festivals film programme provided an overview of both the domestic and international animation scene. Retrospective programs were also important to FAF 2020. In 2020, the festival marked the 100th anniversary of Norway’s greatest film artist Ivo Caprino. The programme was available both on the digital platform and physically in Fredrikstad. FAF is one of the few festivals that could give the audience almost the same experience physically and digitally.
When Coronavirus broke out and shut down communities in March 2020, FAF quickly chose to focus on a digital platform, as either an extension of the physical festival, or if necessary, as the only form. By using eventive.org and enlisting streaming and TV production expertise, the festival wanted to ensure that the program content could be presented in a way that the audience could enjoy. All the seminars and presentations were filmed and streamed live on the digital platform, along with most of the film programme. This made it possible to overcome the obstacle of traveling to Fredrikstad to experience the festival.
The Fredrikstad Animation Festival held an annual competition program for Nordic-Baltic animated films. In 2019, a separate competition for feature films was also introduced, which was also held in 2020. The programme included 20 short films, 14 student films, 33 commissioned films, and 5 featured length films. 50% of the films in the competition were from female directors.
This year saw nominees compete for the Golden Gunnar in a total of five categories: best student film, best commissioned film, best children’s film, best short film, and best feature film.
Selection Committee: Festival leader Anders Narverud Moen, festival producer Jonas Saabel and Information Coordinator Marit Krogstad (due to the corona situation, they chose to have an internal committee in 2020)
The children’s film jury consisted of local children from Fredrikstad.
The awards ceremony was held at TÆPS in Fredrikstad on 24 October and the following films won the festival’s award – the Golden Gunnar.
Best Student Film
Director: Margrethe Danielsen
Jury’s motivation: A beautiful film about impossibilities. The well-structured story explores the opposites of the characters and their possibilities. The jury recognizes the film’s precision and clarity combined with a rich symbolic value that the elements carry with them.
Best Commissioned Film
Director: Kim Holm
Jury’s motivation: An appealing ascetic design where each frame is a work of art with strong technical skill that complements the story without deviating from the striking design choice.
Best Children’s Film
Reven og Nissen
Directors: Yaprak Norali and Are Austnes
Jury’s motivation: This is a good story. A great movie that shows you can trust tomten. The music is very good, and it is well animated.
Best Nordic-Baltic Short Film
Director: Gísli Darri Halldórsson
Jury’s motivation: The film’s effective use of time, rhythm, and visual information makes it a rediscovery. The film is unusually light-hearted for the Nordic-Baltic animation scene and captures the jury with the same humour and humility that the character share.
Tales from the Multiverse
Director: Magnus Igland Møller, Mette Tange, Peter Smith
This film was voted on by the audience of the digital platform.
Best Nordic-Baltic Feature Film
Knutsen & Ludvigsen 2: Det Store Dyret
Directors: Gunhild Enger & Rune Spaans
Jury’s motivation: The winning film celebrates a wealth of ideas, and the joy of finding meaning in the meaningless, at a time where we find meaning in absolutely everything. The film is playful in its references, both universally and locally. The animation is well crafted and mirrors the story in an elegant manner that makes the whole happy and colourful trip a hit with all ages.
Golden Gunnar Grand Prix
Director: Soetkin Verstegen
Jury’s motivation: The technique in Freeze Frame matches the story and reveals the contrast between steadfastness and fragility. The jury sees this film as a dystopian tale of human greed and thoughtlessness in the face of the world we are all a part of.
Featured film: Old Man Movie (Mikk Mägi & Oskar Lahemaa)
Student film: A Room with a Sea View (Leonid Shmelkov, Estonia 2020)
Commissioned film: Basic Self Disturbance (Julian Nazario Vargas, Norway 2020)
Other Short Film Programmes
The festival also showed five other short film programs, with a total of 31 short films and two feature films as part of the extensive film programmes that the festival presents. The festival administration attended other festivals to bring films to this programme. In 2020 the festivals mainly took place online, which meant they could cover more than before.
Best of International Short 1 and 2
Two programs that highlighted 12 films from the international animation scene. The films showed a range of techniques in animation and 50% of the films had female directors.
Friday Nightmare at TÆPS
Six films in the horror and gore genre shown in collaboration with the nightclub TÆPS in Fredrikstad. The screening was part of the festival’s development of screening animated shorts for a more ordinary audience who does not necessarily visit the cinemas to see short films.
Seven non-narrative films were shown in collaboration with the nightclub Hoipolloi. The film programme was dedicated to films that have a more abstract approach, where the filmmakers use artistic expression to create unique film works.
Ivo Caprino 100 years
Six of Ivo Caprino’s fairy tale films were shown to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the filmmaker’s birth. The short film programme was followed by a panel discussion between Remo Caprino, the director of Caprino studios, and animation expert Gunnar Strøm. The classic Flåklypa Grand Prix was also shown during the festival as part of the celebration.
The festival presented several renowned international filmmakers and animation experts in various programs during the festival. Due to Coronavirus restrictions, all the international guests were presented on video stream to the event venues and on the digital platform.
The official guests were: Michaël Dudok de Wit (NL/UK), Lizzy Hobbs (UK), Tim Allen (UK), JP Ahonen (FI), Samppa Kukkonen (FI), Peter Smith (DK), Inga Sætre, Yngvill Sve Flikke, Rune Spaans, Alex Dudok de Wit (UK), Simon Österhof (Se), Remo Caprino, Robin Jensen, Janne K. Hansen, Will Ashurst, Ieva Viese, Line Lockert, Vassilis Kroustallis, Oda Barh, Aksel Kielland and Truls Foss.
In addition, the following filmmakers were presented in various “Meet the filmmaker” sessions: Kristian Pederdsen, Bjørn Sortland, Nils Johan Lund, Jöns Mellgren (Se), Dominyka Adomaityté (Lit), Vykintas Labanauskas (Lit), Gísli Darri Halldórsson (Isl), Jacob Stålhammer (Se), Anita Killi, Yaprak Morali, Sofie Edvardson (Se), Gunhild Enger, Malin Erixon (Se), Kaspar Janics (Est), Star Bazancir(Tys/ Se), Anu-Laura Tuttelberg (Est), Niina Suominen (Fin) and Riho Unt (Est).
Seminars and Presentations
FAF is internationally recognized for its seminars with top international actors from the animation scene. Due to the Coronavirus, there were strong travel restrictions that made it difficult to present filmmakers from other countries in the programmes. Through live streaming and audio-visual productions aboard it was possible for present seminar programmes that did not lag previous years’ programmes. The Masterclasses had a rented studio in London where animation expert and journalist Alex Dudok de Wit (Cartoonbrew.com) interviewed three different filmmakers with a broad approach to the world of animation. The broadcasts were live in one of the screens at Fredrikstad Kino and on the digital platform.
Alex Dudok De Wit had conversations with filmmakers Michäel Didok de Wit and Lizzy Hobbs in the London studio.
FAF Masterclass: Michäel Didok de Wit
Oscar winner for best animated short film and master director, Michäel Didok de Wit presented in his masterclass the work he has done over the years as a director, animator, and illustrator including the development of his Oscar nominated feature film The Red Turtle, which was produced by the legendary Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli.
FAF Masterclass: Lizzy Hobbs
Short filmmaker Lizzy Hobbs, is an experimental filmmaker who through her unique style, tells surprising stories. With her analogue techniques, her films offer a creative and free artistic view of everything from historic events to mythical narratives. In the Masterclass, she discussed her approach to making the films and showed how she goes about creating her unique expression.
FAF Masterclass: Tim Allen
Tim Allen has over 20 years’ experience as a stop-motion animator where he has worked on major feature film productions around the world. The films he has worked on include Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dog and Tim Burton’s Franenweenie. In his Masterclass from London, he told about how he, as an animator, takes on direction, when he has to create life in the puppets in the production he is a part of. Allen showed different clips of animations he has made, and analysed how he progresses as an animator.
New Nordic Animation
One of the festival’s main goals is to create awareness of what’s happening in Nordic-Baltic area within the world of animation, and increase the exchange of experiences and cooperation in Northern Europe. Every year the festival invites studios and filmmakers from the Nordic counties to present themselves and work in a forum called New Nordic Animation. In the 2020 edition of the forum, director Yngvill Sve Flikke and animator and cartoonist Inga Sætre presented the work they did in the hybrid film Ninjababy which is based on the cartoon novel Fallteknikk by the latter. Simen Österhof producer and screenwriter at the Swedish animation studio Soja presented their work including an award-winning film Top 3, which won the FAF first feature film award in 2019. The session ended with a studio presentation by the Danish studio Tumblehead. The two-studio presentation were pre-recorded and broadcast online.
Anidox Workshop and Presentation
Anidox is a creative platform for developing and producing animated documentary projects based I Viborg, Denmark. By bringing together international filmmakers and further developing collaborations between animators and documentary filmmakers, the project wants to develop the genre for animation documentaries. For the past two years, FAF has entered a partnership with ANIDOX for a workshop in the festival. With the support from Viken Filmsenter, six new projects in animation, documentary and VR participated in the two-day workshop with a Pitch Presentations during the opening day of the festival.
Meet the Filmmakers
Three questions and answer sessions were held with filmmakers from the competition programme during the festival. The conversations followed the first showings of carious programmes. The sessions were led by Cecilie Stranger-Thorsen (Young Audience), Tonje Skar Reisersen (Short Films), and Anders Narverud Moen (Feature Films). Filmmakers who were unable to physically participate were available via video link.
Meet the Distributors
In a video conference that was streamed on the digital platform, the festival director Anders Narverud Moen moderated a conversation with key distributors from the European animation scene. Marcin Lucjaz from New Europe Film Sale and Nicolas Schmerkin from Autor de Minute were introduced to the Norwegian animation industry, and they talked about how they work with the distribution of animated short films in an international market.
Children, Young People, and Families
Programme for young people
Since 2012, FAF has had a strong focus on young people with several programmes aimed at this audience group. Due to the Coronavirus situation, the measures were reduced in 2020 when they could not be implemented dur to restrictions. One programme that could be implemented was a seminar for high school, where filmmaker’s animation gave lectures for students. In the seminar, Finnish creators of the TV series Belzebubs gave a “Work In Progress” look at the upcoming TV series based on the cartoon of the same name. Director Samppa Kukkonen and series creator JP Ahonen held a seminar via video link from their studio in Helsinki, Finland. Live in Fredrikstad was one of the two directors from the latest film about Knutsen and Ludvigsen, Rune Spaans to talk about the process of making the audience success Knutens og Ludvigsen 2: Det store Dyret.
Workshop for Young Talent
Another initiative for young people is a workshop that the festival holds for young people who show particular interest in animation and media production. In collaboration with Amandusfestivalen and Mediverksted E6, the festival puts together a workshop with the aim of developing young talents’ abilities in animation or related disciplines that animation films use. The leader for this workshop was the renowned illustrator and art director Gina Thorstensen, who has a strong international career in animated films. She was centre in the design team of the award-winning feature film Morna’s Fantastic Tale, and directed several music videos, including for the Australian artist Gotye. In the workshop, Thorstensen focused on the creative process behind designing the animated film and how to work creatively with the film’s artistic expression. Gina also introduced different techniques in illustration and animation.
Children, Families and Opening
In connection with screening the festivals opening film My Favorite War by Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen, a short ceremony was held at Fredrikstad Kino, with then opening speech by Latvian Ambassador Judite Dobele.
Video Installation of Hvalhai Film
In the cinema foyer, the festival in a collaboration with the production company Fabelfjord and producer of projectors Barco, installed a floor design of Kristin Günther’s film installation Hvalhaien, which allows the audience and especially children to interact with the film’s plot and theme. The film is intended to be over ice, but due to lack of funding, the wrong season and location of inside a cinema foyer, this was not possible.
The last day of the festival was dedicated to families with a customized programme with family movies. Various measures were adapted to the audience group to spread joy. In the cinema foyer, there was an animation and zoetrope workshop arranged by the festival’s partners E6 – Østfold Mediverksted and children’s culture house, Qlthus. The cinema programme included a preview of the Norwegian Film Jul på Kutoppen and the Irish animated film Wolfwalkers. Also, in connection with the screening Jul på Kutoppen, there was a song and dance show with characters from the film. Family Day is the most important initiative that the festival makes because this audience is a strong supporter of animation. The programme was limited due to infection control considerations.
Team and Partners
The festival administration consisted of festival director Anders Narverud Moen, festival producer Jonas Saabel and marketing and communications Marit Krogstad. Two festival assistants were also employed right up to and during the festival.
The festival’s partners are Fredrikstad Kino, TÆPS, Hoipolloi, Netron, Parabol Studio, E6 – Østfold Medieverksted, Amandusfestivalen – Lillehammer student film festival, SAAVA and ANIS
The festival was produced by Norwegian Animation Forum and in connection with Norwegian Film Institute, Fredrikstad Municipality and Viken County.
OBOS, TÆPS and TVPaint are the festival’s sponsor partners.