Highlights from FAF 2023 - Fredrikstad Animation Festival

Highlights from FAF 2023

French focus in the industry program, a Dutch animation legend, and a Norwegian veteran are some of the many highlights featured when this year’s Fredrikstad Animation Festival takes place from 19 to 22 October. An extensive concert and club program, along with a multitude of films also complements the program. Here’s an overview of some of what you can look forward to day by day. 

Thursday 19 October

Edufest: Building Neo-Tokyo, the world of Akira 

12:00, Fredrikstad Kino 

The first part of Edufest – which is seminars tailored for students – features a lecture by anime background art expert, Stefan Riekeles. He will delve into the unique artistry behind the classic anime film Akira. Riekeles has authored numerous books on the architecture in anime films and is considered one of the foremost authorities in the field. The seminar will also include presentations about key programs in animation, film, and VFX education. 

New Nordic Animation  

16:00, Fredrikstad Kino 

Every year, FAF gathers some of the foremost producers, filmmakers, and studios from across the Nordic region for a forum which is dedicated to shining a light on all the innovation happening in the field of animation in our part of the world. The forum is a collaboration among several Nordic organizations within the animation industry, and this year, exciting projects from all over the Nordics will be presented. 

Qvisten Animation, led by director Will Ashurst, will offer a Work-In-Progress presentation of The Brothers Gruff go to Splash World, set to premiere in Norwegian cinemas in December. From Sweden, Nordisk Film and producer Anna Warfvinge will showcase the studio’s work in developing animated TV-series. Additionally, Magnus Igland Møller from the Danish animation studio Tumblehead will share insights into the studio’s success with short films like Svinedrængen and how they achieve their unique 3D style. 

Official Festival Opening  

21:00, Fredrikstad Kino  

The official opening of the festival is at Fredrikstad Kino and will include the screening of the first of the competition programs for Nordic-Baltic Animated Short Films, other entertainment, and official speeches. 

During the opening, there will be a dance performance titled Grow, where surrealism meets climate and the environment through video projection, dance, and music. In this collaborative performance, questions and reflections on how the world looks today are raised. A constantly changing and dream-like scene creates a space for the audience to contemplate some of the biggest challenges of our time. 

Before the festival’s opening, an AR exhibition featuring the Danish animation artist Sara Koppel is held at Nygaardsgata 37.

Friday 20 October

Production Day 

10:00 – 16:30, Fredrikstad Kino  

For the third year in a row, Virke Produsentforeningen has chosen to host its Animation Convention in Fredrikstad in connection with the animation festival. The program has a French focus and offers exciting lectures featuring prominent figures from the French animation community. Read more about the program here. 

Meet the Filmmakers  

19:30, St.Croix Huset 

Meet the filmmakers behind the films in the festival’s competition program for Nordic-Baltic short films and learn more about both the films and the filmmakers. In a Q&A session, you have the opportunity to ask the questions you’re curious about, get more information about the films directly from those who made them, and gain insight into the ideas, processes, and techniques behind the finished works. It all takes place in a relaxed atmosphere at the St. Croix Huset. The participating filmmakers will be interviewed by animation expert, and journalist Nancy Denney-Phelps. 

Animated Live: Ánnámáret

21:00, St.Croix Huset 

For the third consecutive festival, FAF presents its Animated Live concept. This year, the Finnish-Sámi artist Ánnámáret, in collaboration with visual artist and animator Marja Viitahuhta, presents a concert featuring live music and video art. Their film Flames may be familiar to previous festival attendees, as it was shown in the festival’s opening ceremony in 2021. Read more about the concert here.

Animated Club: Snorre Magnar Solberg & Ola Lysgaard 

22:00, St.Croix Huset

To end the fun of Friday, put on your dancing shoes as the festival presents a unique concept featuring retro heroes Snorre Magnar Solberg and Ola Lysgaard. This duo has collaborated on a series of spectacular audio and video total experiences, including at venues like Østre in Bergen. 

Multiartist and DJ shaman Snorre Magnar Solberg has established himself as one of the country’s most driving, distinctive, and experienced techno DJs over the past decade. Through his own club concept, Club No-No, and Ambient Garden, as well as collaborative releases with Berlin-based Sex Tags Mania, Solberg has marked his presence. Solberg builds up and improvises his beats all night long, taking audiences on extended sonic journeys through a carefully selected and tested eclectic mix of ambient, techno, acid, electro, and experimental electronic music. He molds them into a punky, unique, highly danceable mashup style, often infused with his own compositions. 

Multiartist Ola Lysgaard works with everything from his own comic books and art materials to 2D video game graphics and advanced 3D animation. He blends techniques from the old-school hypnotic lightshow and rave-visuals culture into a wholly distinctive live video style based on fractals, game graphics, and digital wormholes. 

Saturday 21 October 

Masterclass: Hisko Hulsing

10:00, Fredrikstad Kino 

Hisko Hulsing, the Dutch director behind the award-winning and widely acclaimed Undone, Seventeen, and Junkyard, will hold a Masterclass at FAF 2023. Hulsing, is known for his dystopian visuals and use of rotoscoping. In works such as Junkyard, he skillfully weaves his own life experiences into the film’s narrative, resulting in a cinematic piece that resonates with its audience. Hulsing is a multi-talent who not only directs but also writes, paints, and composes music for his own films. In the masterclass, Hulsing will talk about his methods, how he builds scenes and animation, and also highlights from his career. 

Guest of Honor: John M. Jacobsen  

12:30, Fredrikstad Kino 

John M. Jacobsen is being recognized for his contributions to the animation film industry, as well as his efforts to elevate the importance of visual effects in Norwegian cinema. As a producer, Jacobsen has significantly contributed to the establishment of the internationally acclaimed Norwegian CGI, animation, and VFX communities. His work has also further developed the significance of strong visual language used in major Norwegian film productions. In this encounter with the veteran of Norwegian cinema, you will gain a better understanding of his thoughts on how Norwegian cinema should appear visually and how it should engage with the audience. 

Symposium: Animatet Horror 

15:30, Fredrikstad Kino 

Animation and horror share many common traits: they are both pop cultural forms of expression that reanimate the seemingly lifeless, they both strive to push boundaries, and they both allow for limitless creativity in style. 

A premise for the symposium is that horror is a genre that deals with processing fear, not just a genre focused on creating fear. We ask: What is unique about animation’s ability to address and express fear? 

The keynote speaker at the symposium is Stacey Abbott, a professor in film and TV studies. Abbott has extensively published on the topic of horror. She will discuss the exciting synergies between animation and horror. Associate Professor Endre Eidsaa Larsen will present theories on the value of experiencing horror films and suggest how animated horror can make the familiar appear strange. Finally, Ray Whitcher, who teaches at the Department of Game Design in Uppsala, will discuss how the so-called Grimdark genre can serve as a starting point for storytelling. 

Animated Live: Center of the Universe/ Kristoffer Lislegaard

22:00, Østfold International Theatre (ØIT)

This year’s closing party will be held at Østfold International Theater following the award ceremony. Center of the Universe is known for producing videos to nearly all of his tracks, with a notorious use of green screen, B-film tricks, and funny animations. For FAF he is presenting a new audiovisual show in collaboration with VJ Kristoffer Lislegaard, with live video effects and attempts to take the concept Animated Live literally! Center of the Universe just released the album “COU”, where all the songs are acronyms, and an album of electronic Norwegian folk music together with Kenneth Lien, receiving plenty of good reviews and coverage in the media. Now the album “Long Player” is on its way. You can dance to this music that is inspired by house, disco, oriental, and various folk music.