The holding of the V International Animation Festival for Children and Adolescents, Cubanima, was an opportunity for enjoying and reflecting about a genre that increasingly gains more force worldwide.
During three days, animated cartoons from different parts of the world captivated the Cuban capital. The holding of the V International Animation Festival for Children and Adolescents, Cubanima, was an opportunity for enjoying and reflecting about a genre that increasingly gains more force worldwide.
Cubanima is one of the most important events of the Cuban Film Institute (ICAIC in Spanish), and it has been directed – since its founding in 2004 – by ICAIC’s Estudios de Animación (Animation Studios). The festival aims to contribute to the development of audiovisuals for children and adolescents. It also unites desires and efforts to achieve works with artistic quality.
On the other hand, with Cubanima “we have made ourselves known as an audiovisuals production company and we have learned more about world animation. The exchange with professionals of this genre and the workshops and lectures given by important personalities of the world of animation from different countries has been one of our most important achievements,” said Esther Hirzel, director of ICAIC’s Estudios de Animación and president of the festival.
At the centrally-located Sala 23 y 12, materials from Spain, Norway, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Cuba and Argentina – this latter a country that comes repeatedly as the most represented in the festival – were shown. The film exhibition, characterized by great aesthetic and thematic diversity, consisted of 34 animated cartoons, of which three were feature films, 25 were short films and six were video clips.
In addition, for the first time Cubanima was present in primary and secondary schools and in children’s hospitals of different towns. In this way, those attending not only had the opportunity of enjoying the exhibitions, but also of voting for their favorites.
The audience, the only jury in this fifth edition, chose the following in the children’s section: Fernanda, from Cuba; Nito, el gusanito (Nito, the Little Worm) from Argentina; and El taller de historias: “La leyenda de Hanaq Pacha” (The Story Workshop: “The Legend of Hanaq Pacha”) from Argentina. Adolescents preferred the series Pubertad (Puberty) from Cuba, Wajiros (Peasants) from Cuba and En la ópera (In the Opera) from Argentina.
To think of the animated cartoon…
Besides the shows, Cubanima gathered together specialists who dialogued about the main goals pursued by today’s animation genre. Two panels were devoted to music, an indispensable element in the genre.
De las Silly Simphonies al video (From the Silly Symphonies to the Video Clip) had the participation of producers Aramís Acosta and Armando Alba, radio and television producer Guille Vilar, as well as musicians Rafael Guzmán and Villy González. From their professional outlook, each guest commented on the contributions provided by the use of animation in making video clips. They all agreed that merging both genres – combining the aesthetic and the commercial, or marketing – is effective.
The panel Tiempos distantes, la misma canción. Muestra de videos clips con dos versiones, una antigua y otra contemporánea (Distant Times, the Same Song. An exhibition of Video Clips with Two Versions, One Old and the Other Contemporary) was a moment of much nostalgia for film directors like Juan Ruiz and Sila Herrera. They were in charge of making Canción de la vacuna - or El Brujito de Burubú (The Vaccination’s Song – or The Little Sorcerer from Burubú), based on a theme by María Elena Walsh, or Me tiene sin cuidado (I Don’t Care) - both classic materials that still remain in the imaginary of many Cubans.
The audience also enjoyed themes like Marinero quiero ser (I Want to be a Sailor) by Juan Almeida, or Lo feo (The Ugly) by Teresita Fernández, but in versions recently made by young filmmakers from ICAIC’s Estudios de Animación.
Another Cubanima special moment was the panel Cuando aprendí animación (When I Learned Animation), about experiences from children’s workshops told by the children who participated. According to Hirzel, “these courses constitute one of our lines of work, as serious as the production of video clips and series. Towards that end, we have had great support from the Belgian association Cámera-Etc, with more than thirty years of experience.”
These activities have their closest antecedent in 2011, when ICAIC’s Estudios de Animación opened their doors to five creative groups of children. With workshops like these, not only is creativity empowered but also team work and manual skills.
On this topic, Armando Alba, deputy production director of ICAIC’s Estudios de Animación, has commented: “We want to make best use of our facilities. We aim at putting together a course on film appreciation, to teach them to build optical toys and to promote building a history among all.”
On the other hand, A la tercera no va la vencida: Tercera temporada de pubertad (The Defeated Don’t Make It to the Final Round: The Third Stage of Puberty) gathered together specialists from CENESEX (Center for Sexual Education) and part of the staff of this popular series. In the debate, the double role of the material was highlighted, as it both entertains and educates adolescents. Another feature to which the specialists called attention was that parents have also become a potential audience, because they consider audiovisual material as a reliable teaching source.
The exhibitions of films, the theoretical discussion panels and the creation workshops with children carried out during the V International Animation Festival for Children and Adolescents, corroborated that the festival is necessary nowadays, where society doesn\'t put many limits on the contents consumed by minors. “Our main challenge is that Cubanima remains the fiesta of Cuba’s animation cinema and reaches the greatest number of people possible,” Hirzel concluded.
Translated by Roberto Espí Valero
Revised by Susana Hurlich