Amidst soaring local and international interest, Cartoons Underground, South East Asia’s premiere animation festival, has partnered with the island’s iconic independent cinema chain, The Projector, to stage the event in a cinema theatre for the first time.
Now in its eleventh year, a post-pandemic Cartoons Underground is returning to an in-person format at its first ever theatre venue, Projector X, at the historic former Cathay Cinema on Handy Road, on October 22, 2022, at 7 pm.
Organisers received the largest number of submissions ever, having to choose just sixteen films from almost 1,700 animators from 96 different countries. Nine animated shorts will be competing in the international competition, ‘Out of this World’, while seven by young Singapore-based animators, will be weighed by the judges for the student competition, ‘Wild Times’. All will be competing for the Best Film Award. The programme screening will be followed by a Q&A with the Singapore-based directors and a networking session, both open to all.
The festival has also joined forces with *SCAPE and LASALLE College of the Arts to launch Animated Visions, a series of events intended to increase access for all to the animation industry including masterclasses, a story development lab, and industry meetups, all of which will be free to members of the public.
The masterclasses will be hosted by two luminaries in the field – Directors Emily Dean and Samantha Lee. Emily directed Netflix’s critically-acclaimed LOVE, DEATH + ROBOTS Volume 3: The Very Pulse of the Machine, and was a story artist on films such as The Lego Batman Movie, while Singaporean Samantha is a director at Disney TV Animation, with a CV that includes Netflix, Warner, Dreamworks and Singapore’s own One Animation. Both will share their experiences in the industry as well as give us a rare peek into the behind-the-scenes creative decisions they have to make. Cartoons Underground also has the support of this year’s festival artist, Sarah Lim whose work, inspired by the adventures of her cats, will be promoting the event.
Cartoons Underground’s Programme Director, Jerrold Chong, says this is the year that Cartoons Underground truly comes of age. “We’ve moved into fantastic movie theatre space, we’re ramping up the festival’s public outreach to encourage more Singaporeans to consider getting involved in animation and we’ve been inundated with competition entries from around the world.”
Chong, who led the team that reviewed all 1681 films, says picking the final sixteen was a huge challenge especially because it meant saying no to scores of outstanding animations. “This year there’s a greater range of visual styles and storytelling approaches than ever before that showcase the breadth of experience and the diversity of our filmmakers,” Chong says. “It’s always hard when there is so much work of exceptionally high quality, telling unique stories, provoking powerful emotions, tackling mature themes and challenging the animation medium, because we wanted to say yes to so many more of them but couldn’t.”
“Just to give you a taste, in the International Selection, we have films like My Father’s Damn Camera! by Milos Tomic (Slovenia) and The Pattern by Peter Bogyo (Hungary) that take animation in fresh, inventive directions, and others, such as The House of Loss by Jinkyu Jeong (Japan) and Girl in the Water by Shi-Rou Huang (Taiwan), that explore the human condition deeply in ways not available to live-action filmmakers,” says Chong.
In addition, 7 student films from LASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), will compete for the Best Singapore Student Animation award. This year’s batch of Singapore student filmmakers show remarkable depth and maturity in tackling challenging themes such as sex education (“To Kill the Birds and Bees” by Calleen Koh) and mental health (“Letting Go”, by Rebecca Chng).
Ivy Lim, Executive Director of *SCAPE, says the organisation is thrilled to see the launch of the Animated Visions programme. “When you’re just starting out learning and honing new skills, the opportunity to be mentored, or to simply imagine yourself applying these skills to pursue your passion because you saw others like you doing the same, can be life changing. *SCAPE is all about broadening the horizons of young Singaporeans and our partnership with Cartoons Underground helps us do just that,” Lim says.
Cartoons Underground 2022 plays on 22nd October 2022 at Projector X: Picturehouse. Tickets and more information available here