Director Biography – KAIFU LIU (THE METAMORPHOSIS)

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I’ve been studying animation for 6 years. I believe it’s important to think about what art can bring us. The animation is a perfect medium, which includes multi expressions, to show sophisticated things, such as emotions, humanities, environment, and even some expectation about the future. That’s why I’m so fascinated by animation, and I hope I can continue studying in this field in the future.

Director Biography – Björn Granberg Ahlmark (ART IS ANGST)

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I am a 54 year old teacher who works at Cybergymnasiet in Stockholm. I teach animation and other similar courses. My students use software like Photoshop, After Effects, Animate, Maya and more.
During my free time I´ve been working on my own 3d animation “Art is Angst”, which I hope you will like.
I have 2 beautiful children, a boy of 12 and a girl of 15 years. And I´m married since 3 years.
I have always been interested in animation, and by the year 2000 I attended a 3d animation education for 2 years (“Graphic Studio”).

Director Biography – Nikki Chapman (MELTED)

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My name is Nikki Chapman and I am a 23 year old animator from South Bend, Indiana. My mother is a doctor and my dad is an art teacher and puppeteer, so I grew up in a household where creativity and hard work were encouraged. As a kid I constantly drew comics and passed them around the classroom. Originally, I wanted to be a comic book artist, but when I saw the film ParaNorman in high school, I dedicated my life to animation. I went to Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan for a year then transferred to Ringling for Computer Animation in 2016.

Director Statement

My philosophy is to create the art I want to see in the world. I described “Melted” as the film I wanted to make since I was a kid. It shows that even an adorable, innocent little girl can have secret anxieties she’s dealing with inside. Growing up, I struggled a lot with anxiety and fear of death. “Melted” helped me confront those difficult feelings. It is a love letter to everything I’m a fan of- horror movies, stop motion, trippy animation, the color pink, ice cream, poetry, and more. I’m interested in combining the things I love to create something new.

Director Biography – Tomás Welss Barkan (MAGIC DREAM)

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Tomás Welss is an animator, visual artist and professor. His animated filmography offers a critical vision of human nature, full of dark humor and original usage of color. His work has earned him awards and recognition around the world, showcasing his talents at film festivals such as Toulouse, Biarritz, Amiens, Zagreb, Fribourg, Monterrey, Huesca, Palm Spring, Chicago, Los Angeles, Rome, Cartagena, La Habana, Rio de Janeiro and Guadalajara. He studied Design at the Facultad de Artes de la Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile. He specialized in animation cinema at the Akademie der Bildenden Kuenste Stuttgart where he worked with Heinz Edelmann, art director of the animation film “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles. Since 2000 he works as a professor in different Universities in Chile and has teached workshops in Belgium, Cuba, Colombia, Spain, Germany, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Egypt, Mexico among others.

Director Biography – Fiona Bavinton (JE NE REGRETT RIEN)

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When Fiona was nine, she wanted a horse. She made one out of rolled up newspaper, placed her favourite bear in the saddle and under guidance from her father, used a standard eight camera and made a stop motion animation of her horse winning the Melbourne Cup.

Not long after this a Sinclair ZX80 computer arrived in the house and so began a lifelong fascination with film, technology and storytelling.

As a teenager, when asked what she wanted to do “when she grew up”, she replied cryptically “A philosopher film maker”. She holds Masters degrees in Criminology and Computer Science (Virtual Reality) and is currently undertaking a PhD in authoring for multi-platform storytelling at the Arts University Bournemouth, so she is well on the way to achieving that goal.

Fiona Bavinton is a credited filmmaker with credits as writer, director, cinematographer, and editor. She is an artist, a social scientist, a technologist, a story teller. With recent developments in machine learning, graphics cards and real-time rendering she is pushing the narrative possibilities of technology.

Director Statement

The struggle between people and power is the struggle between memory and nostalgia…

Writing of his inspiration for his famous painting “The Scream”, Edvard Munch said in his diary:

“Nice 22 January 1892
One evening I was walking along a path, the city was on one side and the fjord below. I felt tired and ill. I stopped and looked out over the fjord—the sun was setting, and the clouds turning blood red. I sensed a scream passing through nature; it seemed to me that I heard the scream. I painted this picture, painted the clouds as actual blood. The color shrieked. This became The Scream.”

I sense a scream passing through nature: Covid-19; self-isolation; Far Right/Far Left; more deaths of black men women and children; ‘fake news’; 5G conspiracies; the ongoing climate crisis; Twitter rants; ‘them’ vs ‘us’… In a socially distanced email, we were innocently asked “In lockdown, what do you miss?” The sender answered their own question: “A cold beer in the beer garden of the local pub on a warm summer’s evening.”

Much to our surprise this seemingly innocuous and wistful comment caused an almost violently visceral response. Nothing! We miss nothing! We don’t want to go back! Covid-19, far right/left, more black deaths, more fake news, 5G conspiracies, the ongoing climate crisis, Twitter rants, them vs us… No! We can do better than entertaining nostalgia.

What’s wrong with nostalgia? It is made from the Greek “nostos” meaning return or home and “algos” meaning pain – a sickness for the loss of home, homesickness or a feeling of homelessness. The philosopher Martin Heidegger interprets homelessness as a symptom of the oblivion of being.

What about the uses and abuses of memory we experience in contemporary society? Nostalgia is a favourite strategy; for example linking our approach to dealing with Covid 19 in terms of the ‘Blitz Spirit’. Obligating us to feel nostalgia, to occlude the fundamental structures and values that perpetuate a state of subordination based on, amongst other things, a meme of martial hegemony – the war against the virus, the war on terrorism, the war on drugs.

Our “exceptionalist” response? Like Conan Doyle’s Professor Challenger whose visceral desire demanded that the Earth recognise him, we want to make the Earth scream.

“Je ne regrette rien” can be loosely translated as “I have no regrets” or “I regret nothing”. There are nuances that we think are important.

‘I have no regrets’ directly reflects our discomfort with nostalgia. We do not hold the past as a “golden era”. Nostalgia can be a trap that prevents us from looking forward. It is an unwelcomed distortion of memory; a diversionary tactic.

‘I regret nothing’ is socially more problematic for us as it can be used as an abrogation of responsibility in as much as we can look at an issue such as slavery and argue that it is a historical event for which we cannot be held responsible. In doing so we distance ourselves from responsibility for the signs and structures that originated then but that we have allowed, often unquestioningly, to persist. Today and tomorrow we are responsible for those.

“Je ne regrette rien” is our scream. Please, can we put our screens to one side, look each other in the eye, acknowledge our collective humanity and offer an elbow bump of friendship.

Director Biography – Chun-Yao Chang, XuFei Wu (A POEM IN BAMBOO)

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Xufei Wu is a 3D artist with specialties including but not limited to lighting, animation and storyboard. He comes from a strong 2D background and will continue using his 2D aesthetics as his ultimate inspiration. After years of drawing on paper, he discovered that tablets and computer software are very powerful tools to create exciting images. His last semester in college introduced him to Maya. Since then he has found a completely new way of playing with lights.

Chun Yao is a CGI artist and Compositor. He was a graphic designer, AAA game artist and stereo artist in the industry for years until he became a MFA student and found his enthusiasm to the compositing and matte painting. He deepened his learning in lighting, and shading and live action compositing which makes him good at visualizing the stories and bring the fantasy, moody atmosphere into his works.

Director Statement

Xufei:
Culture takes a crucial part in the forming of my art style, as I grew up in the region of Yangtze River. It can be classified as Chinese in a broader sense, but still there is some local uniqueness. I bring ink painting, calligraphy, literature, history into my art, but most importantly, I like to observe the people and their life there, because I believes life is the source where all the fantasies and souls of artworks come from. Art to me, like cooking, is a profound method of having conversations with an old civilization.

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We humans can never keep things at exactly the same circumstance due of the change of time and environment. It takes courage to face the change and move forward.
From my perspective, people love to learn from other people’s stories and try to find out the answer of their own question, especially when facing the challenges. Because of the reason, I feel it very interesting to use the power of CG art to visualizing the fighting histories of “normal people” hopefully to bring audiences courage, inspiration, or just make them feel calm when they know they are not alone.

Director Biography – Mark Simon (THE PECULIAR ADVENTURES OF WILLOW B. STAR)

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Mark Simon’s passion for storytelling and art is evident in everything he does. Mark owns three entertainment industry businesses, authored ten best-selling industry books, lectures around the world, regularly contributes to industry periodicals, and creates, produces and sells original content.

In 2012 Mark won a Prime Time Engineering Emmy as part of the Toon Boom software team on the Storyboard Pro software. He was also inducted into the DAVE School (Digital Animation & Visual Effects School) Hall of Fame.

As of 2012, Mark has over 3,000 productions to his credit including feature films, television series, and commercials. He has worked on over 30 feature films as designer and story artist. Mark was the designer on Sony’s first U.S. feature, Midnight, starring Tony Curtis and Lynn Redgrave. He has also produced and directed dozens of shorts, all of which have won awards around the world. All his businesses are in Orlando, Florida. A&S Animation, Inc. is an animation consultation, development and production house specializing in character animation. His studio animated one of Disney’s most iconic characters, Tinker Bell, for the Disney Cruise Line.

Mark has produced and directed animated film shorts which have won over 100 international awards. Movies and TV series he contributed to have been nominated and won dozens of awards from Golden Globes to Kids Choice Awards to MTV Awards and Blockbuster Entertainment Awards.

Timmy’s Lessons in Nature, a series of animated shorts Mark created, directed and produced, won the Grand Prize in Nickelodeon’s first ever competition series Nicktoons Film Festival.

Mark was also the creative consultant on Dragon Tales, the Sony/PBS/Sesame Street Workshop animated series, that became the #1 show for kids its first season.

Animation Magazine recognized Mark for his outstanding achievements in 2006 by naming him an Animation Industry Power Player.

A&S Animations’ sister company is Animatics & Storyboards, Inc. which provides storyboards, illustrations, cartoons and comic book illustration to the entertainment and print industries. They are the largest storyboard supplier in the Southern United States. Their clients include Disney, Universal, Viacom, Sony, HBO, Nickelodeon, Steven Spielberg, Fox, USA Networks, ABC, AT&T, Yamaha, NASA, The American Cancer Society and many, many others.

Mark has been a supplier of information, inspiration and resources for the creative community for over 20 years. Many of the books he’s written are used by artists the world over. Producing Independent 2D Character Animation showcases every step of production. Storyboards: Motion In Art is the standard text used in schools. Facial Expressions is the best-selling photo reference guide for artists and the sequel, Facial Expressions: Babies to Teens, continues the series. http://www.Expressions-Books.com as the leading visual reference for artists.

Mark also developed the storyboard curriculum for the Digital Animation and Visual Effects School located at Universal Studios, and previously taught storyboarding at the University of Central Florida. He lectures around the world at major conferences (ComicCon, Animex, Chinese Cultural Expos), conventions and schools.

Readers have been treated each month to a Mark Simon article in Animation Magazine and on Animation World Network where his self-styled portraits always get a laugh.

As word of Mark’s ability to create shows that networks wanted to buy got out, many people called him who wanted to hire him to work on their shows. In response to this demand, he created Sell Your TV Concept Now, Inc. This company provides everything a creator needs to pitch and sell their TV show. Mark offers free training on the site at SellYourTvConceptNow.com.

Director Biography – Koji Yamamura (DREAMS INTO DRAWING)

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Koji Yamamura born in 1964. During the 1990s, He refined his style, spending much of his time making films for children. Nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short, “Mt. Head” marked a turning point, he to a place among the world’ s top animation filmmakers by “The Old Crocodile” (2005), “Franz Kafka’ s A Country Doctor” (2007) and “Muybridge’s Strings”(2011). Those films got awarded more than 90 prizes include the grand prizes of 4th big animation festival, Annecy, Zagreb, Ottawa and Hiroshima. He worked for international jury a lot and held on many retrospective screenings around the world. He received Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2019.
He is membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a professor of Tokyo University of the Arts.

Director Statement

This work is an autobiographical fiction that replaces the protagonist of Ueda Akinari’s ‘A Carp That Appeared in My Dream’ from Tales of Moonkight and Rain with KUWAGATA KEISAI, a painter who lived over 200 years ago. He transfigures into a variety of birds and fish in a dream. The understanding of dreams as a shared experience, which has been mostly forgotten in modern times, encourages empathy with the world and others, and aims to restore a primitive consciousness lost by modern people, who suffer from the dichotomy of matter and mind.

Director Biography – Takeshi Yashiro (GON, THE LITTLE FOX)

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Takeshi Yashiro joined Taiyo Kikaku Co., Ltd., a Japanese TV-CM production, after graduating from Tokyo University of the Arts in 1993. He has worked as a director mainly for commercial films and is one of the top “stop motion” animation specialists. He does not only direct but also create the art and sets by himself.
He especially likes creating hand-made, story-telling pieces.

Director Biography – Nomadic Alternative, Farnaz Ohadi (HESAR (GATE))

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Award-winning dynamic duo -Nelson and Xochitl Garcia-leal, are award winning independent artists that were raised and currently reside in Vancouver.

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