KAFF – Report on the Animated (documentary film) of Celebration of Australian Animation by Monahan, Craig – 2017 – Hungary.

Summer fun at the KAFF 2017: Animation Celebration in the City of Kecskemét – Hungary

The biggest festival of animation in Central Europe!

Hopping back in time  – Kangaroosism.

KAFF moreover was not only for the animation film’s addicted individuals, but spectators with families were also present.

Film coils rolling back in time … The Aussie artists had already made animations and cartoons as a hobby for over 50 years for domestic and as special request from the States. But before that era comic strip artist established  animation starting in 1917. Easy to see they have a hundred years of history. Even before the sound cartoons, during the silent film era was made Felix the Cat (from head to toe „dressed” in black and living in „Pussyville”) by creator Pat Sullivan – Australian cartoonist, film entrepreneur, owner of the Felix character. The cartoon was extremely popular world-wide and don’t forget  this was years before Disney films came to life, but upon arrival in the „20’s the whole style of cartoons changed.

„Art takes 2 and is the shortest distanced between 2 artist! If you got imagination then you can make cartoons. In Australia a lot of kangaroos and bats, so the basic was there… there was in those days no Book of Animation so had to make it up” said by Will Owen.

The revolution in broadcasting cartoons on TV channels all started with the jump of Freddo the Frog who became nominally the star, the scene-stealers … it is a little-known fact that Freddo Frog was the star of the first Australian television cartoon. More than 50 years ago it hopped out. At first it was broadcasted on Channel 9s long running children’s program, later debuted in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane. Around 50 episodes were made and kids in those days watched Freddo’s cartoons which each lasted 5-minutes.

Australian animators have made cartoons on request for US orders. For instance … Hanna-Barbera co-operation started with the Flintstones and thereafter many other cartoons created and produced in Australia apart from the voices.

Serious time from Overseas under political pressure were the Hitler cartoons showing how to kill people without dirty your hand. Also in those days at Church in Sydney was sang „I like airplane jelly” that was pretty strange to have happened. At the cinemas films were screened: „Back to Attack, Victory of War, before and during the intermission the full-length movie was cast.

In 1954 cartoon was actually a very important part of Australia’s animation history. Animated by Eric Porter Studios for Columbia’s Color Classics, this film and 52’s was very hard to find Rabbit Stew, represented all of Australia’s theatrical cartoon shorts during the golden age of animation.

In the 50s became popular to create animation commercials as manipulation to buy certain products as: Suzy Q … Pepsodent toothpaste etc.

In the 60s the wind-swept into the „free life style” giving much more freedom to the animators. From that era „Adam and Eve” was award-winning film.  And by the ’80s became most popular to express adding emotions with animation.  Mentioning just two terrific bands, probably seen by thousand-and-thousands through TV channel: INXS  – “What you Need”and Don’t Dream It’s Over” the song by the Australian rock band Crowded House.

Summing up the brilliantly organized KAFF animation film days spent at Kecskemét – the Capital of Animation Films, can only quoted by words from Yoram Gross … “The secret to animation is imagination and within that drawing funny pictures”

Academy Award winner and nominee Australian shorts were also featured. A separate program was organized for the best female animation directors of the ’90s, and the newest Australian animated shorts, selected by Malcolm Turner – Director of Melbourne International Animation Festival.

One of the highlights at the KAFF was Australia‘s full-length animation the Grendel, Grendel, Grendel

An animated story covering the ancient legend of Beowulf, as narrated in a Monty Pythonesque way by Grendel himself, the “monster” in the legend. Director: Alex Stitt (as Alexander Stitt)… Writers: Anonymous (epic poem “Beowulf”), John Gardner (novel) … Staring: Peter Ustinov, Keith Michell, Arthur Dignam.

Animators and its lovers are more than welcomed next year around June at the KAFF Festival – Kecskemét – Hungary

Update Aggie Reiter

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