Hollywood’s Animated Festival 2023: Miyazaki and Aardman Take Center Stage

The sixth annual Animation Is Film Festival is making a triumphant return, and it’s bigger and more exciting than ever. With a spectacular opening-night selection and a lineup filled with acclaimed films, this year’s event promises to be a cinematic delight for animation enthusiasts.

A Grand Opening Night


Is tonight’s opening-night selection of the sixth annual Animation Is Film Festival its biggest ever? Figuratively, perhaps: “The Boy and the Heron” is the rapturously received return of the most revered name in anime, Hayao Miyazaki. Literally, it’s definitely the biggest — the festival’s first foray into Imax.

Quote: “There have been many films worthy of it from our past,” says programmer Rodney Uhler of the big-screen format. “But I think this will just be incredible to see on that scale. The topics [“Heron”] deals with — the characters are so grand and epic that it’s fitting to see it in the largest way possible.”

Sadly, both the Imax and standard screenings of Miyazaki’s weird, transcendent latest are already sold out, but Los Angeles’ world-class animated film festival has plenty of other programs to offer.

The Festival’s Growth

Housed in Hollywood’s TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and produced by GKids in collaboration with Annecy International Animation Film Festival and Variety, AIFF has been growing consistently since bouncing back from the pandemic shutdowns, according to festival director Matt Kaszanek. He estimates a trending increase in attendance of around 30% per year since the darkened-theater days of COVID.

Diverse Film Offerings

There are 20 more presentations during the festival’s run through Sunday, some aimed at the whole family, others at discerning cinéastes. Among the bigger names: award-winning titles from Annecy’s annual June showcase (the French-Spanish “Robot Dreams,” the French-Italian “Chicken for Linda!”); a special early screening of DreamWorks’ ”Trolls Band Together”; the North American premiere of “The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story,” a short in the cinematic universe of Oscar contender “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”; and celebrations of Disney past and present, including a love-letter short “Once Upon a Studio” and a work-in-progress sneak peek at the upcoming “Wish.” There are also 30th anniversary screenings of “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” and Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit short “The Wrong Trousers,” the latter a free event.

Closing Night Extravaganza

Closing night will be the Los Angeles premiere of the Aardman and Netflix sequel “Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget,” plus another free event, the “Animate! With Aardman Workshop.” Miles Morales is back in “The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story,” a short having its North American premiere.

Spotlight on Short Films

“We’re trying to have a more robust program of short films,” Kaszanek says. AIFF has three shorts programs, one for award winners, one featuring student filmmakers and one curated by the group Women in Animation.

Oscar Contender Showcase

The festival has also been burnishing its credentials as an Oscar harbinger: Nine of the last 10 animated-feature nominees have played at AIFF.

Hollywood’s animated festival is back with Miyazaki, Aardman, and it promises to be a remarkable celebration of the art of animation. Whether you’re a fan of Miyazaki’s legendary work or eager to explore the latest in the world of animated cinema, the Animation Is Film Festival offers a diverse and exciting lineup for all. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this animation extravaganza.

Impact of Animation on Global Communication

What is the Animation Is Film Festival?

The Animation Is Film Festival is an annual cinematic extravaganza that returns to Hollywood, offering a meticulously curated array of animated films from across the globe. This includes captivating works not only from renowned filmmakers in Japan and France but also from creative minds in Belgium and beyond. It serves as a platform to celebrate the art of animation on an international scale, highlighting diverse cultures and storytelling through the medium of film.

What is the meaning of animation in film?

Animation in film is a versatile filmmaking technique that involves the manipulation of static images to produce the illusion of motion. In traditional animation, artists painstakingly hand-draw or paint images on transparent celluloid sheets known as cels. These images are then captured through photography and projected onto the screen, bringing characters and stories to life through the magic of motion.

What does a film festival include?

Film festivals are organized events designed to present a curated collection of films to an audience within a defined timeframe and at a specific location. These events can be arranged by a variety of entities, including film schools, government organizations, and non-profit groups. Film festivals offer a platform for filmmakers to showcase their work to a diverse and often passionate audience.

Is animation considered film?

Animation is considered a form of film in which the illusion of motion and character performances are meticulously crafted through a frame-by-frame technique. Typically, animated films fall within one of two broad categories: narrative, which tells a story, or abstract, which explores artistic and non-linear expressions.

How animated movies are made?

The creation of animated movies begins with a process that involves breaking down actions into a sequence of significant poses known as key frames. These key frames mark essential positions within the animation. Subsequently, computer programs are utilized to define the object’s movements between these key frames, ensuring that the resulting animation effectively conveys the intended emotions and storytelling elements.

Why is animation used in films?

Animation holds significance as it provides a distinctive and easily comprehensible means of storytelling and conveying emotions and ideas. Its universal appeal makes it accessible to both young children and adults, fostering a unique form of communication. Animation has the remarkable ability to connect people globally in ways that the written word and live-action films sometimes cannot, bridging cultures and generations through its visual and emotional impact.

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