Ideas animated

Justin Brake
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Chromatose Anymation Festival starts today

"Anymation" can now be added to the province's burgeoning list of festival themes. Black Bag Media Collective, a local group of artists who work in music production, new media and performing arts, is getting ready to stage the first annual Chromatose Anymation Festival in St. John's this weekend.

The event, which features film screenings and music performances at The Ship Pub the first two nights and a participants' conference "around the Metaverse" (a fictional virtual world) on Sunday, will introduce audiences to a "new genre" of animation that festival organizer Liz Solo says is presently "underneath the animation world" and "still evolving and defining itself."

The Chromatose Anymation Festival will include screenings of Liz Solo's (from left) "Machine I Am", Trace Sanderson's "Push" and Lesvatar's "Love Sick." - Submitted photos

"Anymation" can now be added to the province's burgeoning list of festival themes. Black Bag Media Collective, a local group of artists who work in music production, new media and performing arts, is getting ready to stage the first annual Chromatose Anymation Festival in St. John's this weekend.

The event, which features film screenings and music performances at The Ship Pub the first two nights and a participants' conference "around the Metaverse" (a fictional virtual world) on Sunday, will introduce audiences to a "new genre" of animation that festival organizer Liz Solo says is presently "underneath the animation world" and "still evolving and defining itself."

According to digital artist Tom Jantol, author of the "Anymation Manifesto," the concept signifies a new approach to digital animation, one that is determinately "less conscious of the barriers typically seen between the different types of digital expression" and whose practitioners boast a "'renaissance man' kind of willingness to harness any available tool or method to create that expression."

Jantol hails from Croatia and is renowned for his work in the "machina" genre of animation. He will travel to St. John's for the festival, which will feature the "real life" premiere of a new short film, says Solo.

Solo and the Black Bag crew, including festival co-directors Steve Abbott and Mike Kean, share a keen desire to explore the "relationship between real-life space and virtual space."

"We've done a lot of events over the last number of years that have happened simultaneously in real life and virtual space, projecting one into the other," Solo explains. "And through travelling in these communities we've discovered ... this whole plethora of tools that are becoming available for (do-it-yourself) approaches to animation."

The festival's second night will be "devoted to musicians and their use of animation," Solo explains. "We have quite a few submissions from Nova Scotia: Tom Fun Family Orchestra, Down With The Butterfly," and In-Flight Safety, to name a few.

"There's a piece made with animating a video using only Lite-Brite, to hand-drawn pencil animations to really amazing CGI stuff and experimental stuff. So we're trying to encourage and demonstrate ... how musicians, in particular, are using these new tools to enhance their music, make short films with their songs as soundtrack, or release straight up music videos using these tools."

If concepts like "machinima" and "anymation" or even digital animation, are unfamiliar to art enthusiasts, Solo says not to worry. "Some of the environments some people are shooting in may be brand new to (other) people. We're going to put everything into context, so it should be educational as well. And then we have, sprinkled throughout, some performance pieces."

"Chromatose" will feature musical performances by Local Tough, Black Bags, Lizband and Geinus, and, during the screenings, the work of local artists like Crash Jones and Jeremy Rice of The Sellouts, as well as artists from the United States, the U.K. and Canada.

The festival web site's main page reads: "Don't be afraid of new things."

Solo explains that there is resistance to a lot of new ideas in digital animation.

"I don't know that it's everywhere, but we encounter it," she says. "There's also big backlash in the mainstream media based on a lack of understanding. So it's something that we're trying to counteract." She and the Black Bag collective are eager to "share with the community the amazing, cool stuff (we've) been uncovering in (our) experiments and exploration of digital technology."

She maintains there is a genuine desire to "bring people in to experience this wonderful work."

The Chromatose Anymation Festival runs today to Sunday at The Ship Pub and around the Metaverse.

For more information, including admission costs and a full schedule of events, visit the festival's website at www.rockcanrollrecords.com/animfest.

Organizations: The Ship Pub, Tom Fun Family Orchestra, CGI

Geographic location: St. John's, Croatia, Nova Scotia United States U.K. Canada

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