Friday, 20 May 2005

the 5th melbourne international animation festival (june 21-26, acmi cinemas)

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is proud to host the fifth Melbourne International Animation Festival, which will showcase over 200 animated films from more than 30 countries from June 21 to 26 at ACMI Cinemas. Highlights of the festival include: a feature biography of original Disney animator Ub Iwerks, co-creator of Mickey Mouse; the Oscar-winning animated short film Ryan; and the manga-influenced animated feature Wonderful Days from South Korea's Abi Kobayshi.

The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story (US)
Special festival guest: Leslie Iwerks (US) - Granddaughter of Ub Iwerks and director, writer & producer of The Hand Behind the Mouse.

Nominated as a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, banned in Germany, considered a spy in Russia, and spoofed in The Simpsons (remember Steamboat Itchy?), Mickey Mouse is one of cartoon history's most beloved and enduring characters. Screening as part of MIAF 2005 is The Hand Behind the Mouse - The Ub Iwerks Story, a biographical documentary about Academy Award winning film pioneer Ub Iwerks. Disney's first animator and best friend and (short-lived) business partner to Walt, Iwerks co-created Mickey Mouse and animated Mickey's earliest cartoons (at the rate of 700 drawings a day) almost single-handedly.

Narrated by Frasier's Kelsey Grammer, The Hand Behind the Mouse was directed, written and produced by Ub's granddaughter, Leslie Iwerks. An accomplished filmmaker in her own right, Leslie is currently completing a film about the history of animation giant Pixar Studios (Finding Nemo, Toy Story). She will be in Melbourne to present her documentary in person, and also screen a special side program of original Ub Iwerks films including early Disney classics Steamboat Willie (1928), the first-ever synchronized sound cartoon to be released theatrically; the spooky Skeleton Dance (1929), the first short from Disney's famous Silly Symphony series which was considered by some theatre owners of the day as too macabre to screen; and Plane Crazy (1928), where Mickey constructs his own series of flying machines in a bid to impress his lady friend Minnie.

Ryan (US) - 2004 Academy Award® winner for Best Animated Short Film
**Melbourne Premiere***
Special festival guest: Steve Hoban (producer, Ryan)

Ryan, winner of the 2004 Academy Award® for Best Animated Short Film, chronicles the rise and fall of maverick Canadian filmmaker, Ryan Larkin. Once described as the "Frank Zappa of animation", Larkin made four groundbreaking films for the National Film Board of Canada, including the Oscar nominated short Walking (1969), before drifting into cocaine and alcohol dependency and disappearing from public view to become a homeless man panhandling for change on the streets of Montreal for more than 20 years.

An intriguing hybrid of animation and first-person interviews (including dialogue culled from over 20 hours of conversation with Larkin himself), Ryan was created using the pioneering Maya software, the same 3D graphics program used to create effects in such blockbusters as Lord of The Rings and Spiderman.

Ryan (the film) will screen as the centrepiece of Ryan: The Whole Picture, a special MIAF program that will be presented by Ryan producer Steve Hoban. The program will include all four of Ryan Larkin's films as well as two previous films from Chris Landreth, director of Ryan.   

Other highlights of this year's festival:

A two-program selection of films from former Eastern Bloc countries - Following on from the incredible response to last year's Estonian Panorama, MIAF has compiled a two program Panorama of films from countries in the region including Georgia, the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and, of course, Estonia.

Animated Documentary showcase - After the success of last years program, MIAF brings back the series in 2005 with a diverse offering ranging from the recreation of the Parthenon to the personal tales of people suffering from mental illness.

International Panorama program - Always one of the most anticipated parts of MIAF, the International Panorama competitive showcase (now a whopping 9 sessions!) features the crème de la crème of the best animation from around the world, including many Australian and Melbourne premieres. 

Australian Panorama program - Featuring an eclectic mix of remarkable Australian animation from the past year, the program includes Australian Academy award nominee, Birthday Boy by Sejong Park; Pest Control by the Melbourne-based Animators at Large, where hard-rockin' insects become the stars of the show; and Twelve Months, from multiple award winning animator Jonathan Nix (Hello).

Taking animation to the Melbourne bar scene - MIAF is proud to bring you their first Music Video Festival, a 3 hour non-stop animated music feast, free at the Loop Bar (Meyers Place, City) and a special program of installation and experimental animation at Misty Bar (Hosier Lane, just across the road from ACMI).

Student Animation Festival - The vibrancy and rule breaking abandon of student animation bursts onto the big screen for this 'festival-within-a-festival'.

Heavy Metal (1981) - Unearthed from the vault especially for ACMI's new late night cult series Freaky Fridays, this film has it all.good and evil, swords and sorcerers, sex and toasters, the voices of John Candy, Eugene Levy and Harold Ramis, plus lots of very, very loud music.

Other events:  Saturday and Sunday mornings during the festival will be devoted especially to kids with Kids Animation, and returning again will be the ever-popular Best Of The Festival.

Further information

Danielle Poulos, Communications Coordinator, ACMI ph 03 8663 2415 m 0417 540 543
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