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Cartoons Underground SG 2016: Animation Fest Shows The Latest Shorts From Around The World (22 Oct)

Finally! A festival dedicated to promoting the works of animators while pushing the boundaries of the medium here in Singapore.

Celebrating half a decade of animation this year, Singapore’s first-ever underground animation festival is back with twice the number of animated short films being screened this year — a clear sign of animation’s growing popularity in Singapore.

The event continues to be the leading showcase for new animation talent since its beginnings in 2012 by Vicky Chen and Patrick Smith, who directed MTV’s Daria and PBS’s Blank on Blank series.

The screenings will happen on 22nd October 2016 (Saturday) at Kult Kafe on Mt Emily, with two screenings starting at 6.30pm and 8.30pm with admission to the event by donations that will go towards helping sustain Cartoons Underground as a platform for aspiring animators.

Apart from screening great independent films, the event also brings together artists from different mediums. Singapore’s very own illustrator Jia Lee who helped with designing the fifth anniversary poster, Kult Gallery who will feature their Power Records Exhibition along with Mi5chief Makers and Sideshow who will provide the light shows and music.

What started as a community driven/kick-starter event has grown into a wide community of over 1,000 members in Singapore. A total of 487 applications were received from all around the world, as compared to 150 in 2015.

Those interested to find out more about the animated shorts can feel free to ask away at a intimate Q&A as local directors, including Soh Fia, Mirza Ja’afar, Grace Ong, Kai Yuan Tao, Geraldine Toh, Davier Yoon and Joshua Tan will be around to answer them.

Attendees coming this year can look forward to two programmes put together by Programme Director, award-winning film maker Tan Wei Keong, namely: ‘Time Loop’ and ‘Life Warp’ with each programme featuring 10 animated shorts from US, China, Japan, Singapore and eight different European countries.

What a better to start the show then to have local award-winning director, Jerrold Chong opening the show with a 2-D hand drawn short of a monster pulling the audience literally into the underground.

Some amazing animations that will be screened at the event:

1. “A Brief History of Time” – Davier Yoon & Joshua Tan (Singapore)

Duration: 2mins 15 secs

The first programme ‘Time Loop’ explores the concept of time and space starting off with Davier Yoon’s and Joshua Tan’s modern take on Zbigniew Rybczynski’s ‘Tango’, a playful and cheery film ‘A Brief History of Time’ showcases a cast of characters that are stuck between past, present and future realities.

2. “Go to City ELE” – Wenyu Li (China)

Duration: 9mins 44secs

Also part of the ‘Time Loop’ programme, Independent animation film-maker from China, Wenyu Li’s ‘Go to City ELE’ tells of a little pig from rural ‘P town’ that goes off to live in Metropolis but finds that he is not welcomed by the elephants who live in ‘City ELE’

3. “The Little Pastry Chef” – Soh Fia, Mirza Ja’afar and Grace Ong (Singapore)

Duration: 2mins 30secs

A lighter hearted programme, ‘Life Warp’ features ‘The Little Pastry Chef’ by Soh Fia, Mirza Ja’afar and Grace Ong, that tells of a perfectionist cook, struggling to bake the perfect cake and realizes she like anyone else, is not immune to making mistakes.

4. “Mercury” – Melis Balci and Ege Okal (Turkey)

Duration: 5mins 22secs

Also a part of ‘Life Warp’, Independent animation film-makers from Istanbul Melis Balci and Ege Okal’s piece, ‘Mercury’, presents a reality about a gallery assistant who is taken to a luxury dinner with her boss after an international art fair and is subsequently exposed to the absurd and corrupt hierarchy of the art world.


Interview with Vicky Chen (Festival Director and Co-founder) and Tan Wei Keong (Cartoons Underground Program Director)

We got down with Vicky Chen and Wei Keong to ask some of our own questions about Cartoons Underground and the future of Animation as a medium of expression in Singapore:

What is the goal of Cartoons Underground, apart from giving animators a platform to showcase their work?

Vicky Chen:
Cartoons Underground is ultimately a community driven festival with the main purpose of exposing the the public to animation that’s punchy, beautiful, and different, that makes you think.

I guess the main goal is to get people to open their minds to what’s out there, and that doesn’t just stop at picking great films, but also the whole experience of being at the festival, meeting artists, directors or just hanging out with your friends to watch visual light projections from Mi5chief Makers, or visiting the Kult Gallery’s latest exhibition.

Do you think more Singaporeans are beginning to learn to appreciate animation as a film genre?

Wei Keong:
Singapore Animation has been gaining international recognition and given more exposure over the last couple of years. However, there still is a long journey for Singapore animation to be recognized locally as an art form.

Understanding the anatomy of an animation often leads to greater appreciation, and watching them is a great start. Animation is not a film genre.

It is a medium, like live-action film-making, which then can be expressed in many genres. For example, there are animated documentary, experimental animation, animated horror, etc.

There is a rise in auteur works from Singapore recently. In the next 5 years, there will hopefully be a critically acclaimed animated feature film from Singapore.

How can Singaporeans support their favourite animation artists?

Vicky Chen:
Fund their next films or buy them a beer!

Who are some of the animation artists that you guys hope to work with?

Vicky Chen:
Personally it would be Adam Elliot, Bill Plympton, Craig “Spike” Decker.

How can aspiring animators participate in Cartoons Underground? Have you all started accepting entries for next year?

Vicky Chen:
We have not started accepting entries for next year 2017, but will soon after this year’s festival. They can submit their films at www.cartoonsunderground.com or email programme@cartoonsunderground.com!

Where do you see animation as an art-form heading to, in the next 5 years?

Vicky Chen:
It’ll be focused more on good stories, while action pack movies are great, a good story goes a long way and stands the test of time! And I think what’s interesting is how old stories can be retold, take for example Jungle Book or Rapunzel (now known as Tangled). But now adapted to more modern times.

Cartoons Underground – TRAILER 2016 from Jerrold Chong on Vimeo.

Date & Time: 22 October 2016 (Saturday), 1st screening: 6.30pm, 2nd screening: 8.30pm

Price: Free | RSVP here to attend

Cartoons Underground 2016: 11 Upper Wilkie Road, Emily Hill, Kult Kafe, Singapore 228120 | Facebook Event | Website


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Herman Low

Apart from eating, you can always catch me watching films, playing video games and indulging in Singapore's blossoming arts and music scene.

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