2017 Highlights!

Cartoons Underground Highlights – 2017

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We promoted and showcased animated films by talented local directors, animators and producers in Singapore. At the end of the event, only one local-made animation was presented with the highest honour of getting the Golden Durian Award; for best film, best director and the “People’s Choice” award.

PROGRAMME ​SCREENING

Four local animated films – Poles Apart, Untitled (Kafka), The Third Script and My World were judged by Chris Shaw, Head of Puttnam Film and Animation at Lasalle, Marchand Jooste, Lead Animator at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and the Zhuang Brothers, who are award-winning, local independent directors.

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FILM ​NOMINATION

The three judges, Chris Shaw, Marchand Jooste and the Zhuang Brothers made a tough decision to select the best film and best nominated director. Besides their personal opinions, the decision proved difficult for them as the short films screened during the event had great storytelling and narrative as well as fantastic cinematography. However so, they judged them all equally and fairly.

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The two films which were selected were Child for Best Director and Merlot for Best Film.

AMBIENCE ​AND ​FOOD

CU’s founders – Vicky Chen and Patrick Smith were inspired to create and organise the concept of the festival based on New York whereby it was common for animation festivals to be held in casual settings such as bars.

Located outside Kult Kafe at Emily Road, the festival was made for people to enjoy themselves, lounge and appreciate animated films. This was also a way for the audience to mingle and find out more about animation in general.

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There was a wide range of food available, such as popcorn, falafels, chocolates and tidbits. We were chuffed to see the audience enjoying themselves with a cup of alcoholic beverage from Kult Kafe with snacks. During the screening, the audience was intently entranced by the films and were extremely eager to vote for their favourite films using the googly eyes provided. While waiting for the results, they could also try the UV face painting booth or get their portraits done!

This is definitely a go-to event whether you’re an artist, art enthusiast or just someone looking to have a relaxing night out with friends. You can not only indulge in the variety of food and drinks provided but also, take time off to look at films hand picked by creative individuals for casual discussions amongst yourselves. Events like these are especially crucial in places like Singapore as it helps promote our local art scene and serves as a platform for people of similar passions and interests to connect.

Do head down to Kult Kafe on 27th October at 6pm to experience this and more!

 

 

Athira

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Breaking Barriers for Women in Film and Animation

Our very own Festival Director, Vicky Chen, was part of an expert panel discussing about Breaking Barriers for Women in Film and Animation!

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SheSays Singapore hosts a discussion on women in film


Women make up 51% of the world population, and buy more than half of cinema tickets, yet there are a disproportionately low number of female protagonists and female directors in the film industry.

SheSays Singapore’s Lizi Hamer brought an expert panel together to discuss the issues, following hot on the heels of a SheSays event which looked at the state of women in STEM in Singapore. On the 15th March 2017, she was joined by CheeK, chief content officer and director of Chicken Rice War), Jacqui Hocking, documentary filmmaker at Vision Strategy Storytelling, Charlotte Worthington from Puttnam School of Film and Animation, LASALLE, Vicky Chen of Cartoons Underground, and Carlene Tan former studio head of One Animation, to find out why.

What advice would you give to a woman trying to break into the film industry?

Jacqui: Just do it. Make the decision, own it, and just take action. Nowadays all you need is a phone – everyone has the tools. It is about having the guts to get out there and start making something, whether you are a guy or a girl.

Charlotte: You need to have a hunger for it, as it can be a very tough business sometimes. You have got to be patient. You need confidence and drive, and confidence can be hard when you start out.

Carlene: I know it is scary, but part of that not knowing is why we do it. Harness that fear and just do it.

Do you have to know about a story in order to tell it?

Charlotte: With any story you have to know and understand the subject. You cannot do it with only a superficial knowledge of a subject. Observe and listen, that is the root to film making.

Jacqui: I have often edited documentaries where I wasn’t a subject matter expert. It is through the process of making the film that you discover things. It is about observing. Carlene: With animation it is all about preparation. You go deep a lot earlier in the project. You talk about the characters and the pace and you have to make those decisions earlier, otherwise the costs are prohibitive.

Vicky: Running Cartoons Underground, a lot of our films are really short, but a good story can be told in a very short time span.

Carlene: One reason why I never went to animation school is I cannot draw to save my life, but I enjoy walking around the studio and watching the animators pulling faces into mirrors. It is all about observation and going in deep.

Are film festivals playing the right role for young film makers and animators?

Jacqui: Here in Singapore we have a huge problem with gender equality because we are all women! However as a woman it is hard to get into film festivals. Until we can transition into a world that is gender neutral then we have a huge problem.

Carlene: Animation festivals are about 50-50. Judging panels are equal.

Vicky: Our judges do not look at names because they have hours of film to go through! For bigger film festivals there would be a bigger panel and perhaps more nepotism involved.

CheeK: When I first started making short films people didn’t know if I was a woman or a man because of my name. Perhaps I benefited! When I was judging it was based on how good the product was.

Jacqui: The amount of women directors is small so we definitely have an issue there. We need to wake up and realise we can become directors or producers, we just need to get out there and do it.

Charlotte: I have found that young women are cautious about putting themselves forward and I have to encourage them. Young men seem to find it easier.

Carlene: I was lucky in my school in that they encouraged us, so when I did my first project I told my male partner that we would split the directing.

CheeK: In my company 71 per cent of the creative content team are women. They are executive producers and writers, not just doing make up.

Jacqui: Tonight I want to bring awareness to equal pay, because when I was a producer I was paid a quarter to a half of what the guys were paid!

Carlene: I don’t think it is as bad here in Singapore. In LA someone in a meeting treated me like a secretary. That has never happened here in Asia.

How do you decide what medium to use?

Charlotte: It has to come from the heart, and be relevant. I am proudest of are stories that came from the heart.

Jacqui: It comes down to how much money you have. Pick a story that you are passionate about, and then use the medium that you can afford.

Carlene: There are a lot of ways to get into film. I always ask myself ‘why animation?’ It is a visual style thing. With animated films there are styles you can encourage which would be harder to do with live film.

CheeK: In terms of a story it depends on the medium you are most comfortable with. Go

How have your experiences been working with tiny versus huge teams?

CheeK: You can scale up or down. It is the strength of the concept or the story that will get you noticed.

Carlene: I agree. I’ve been fortunate to work with big and small teams, and some worked and some didn’t. It comes down to whether the team trusts each other.

Jacqui: You can do everything yourself now, but the question is knowing what you are good at. Try and find a team that complements you.

How do you approach marketing and advertising?

Jacqui: The only way to do that is to sustain yourself first. I find shared value with companies I work with. More than ever the traditional avenues for funding are not an option, so find corporate funding.

Jackie: I am a content consultant, and this is what I do. My clients say they don’t want to pay a million dollars for a short lived advert any more. So it is a great space for film makers.

Jacqui: If you are getting asked to work, make sure you are paid for that work, especially as women. Be aware of your own value.

Lizi: If you’re not sure of your value or worth ask us!