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Anima Festival returns for 2021 with online format

21:42 30/01/2021

Anima, the much-respected Brussels international festival of animated films, is back but in a completely different form, courtesy of the pandemic.

Once it became clear that the festival (12-21 February) could not proceed normally, the organisers decided to fully embrace the difference and take advantage of the silver linings.

For instance, freed from a schedule limited by the number of screening rooms, all the feature-length films, the short films (a total of 236 films), the workshops, the 40 years retrospective, the meetings with directors, interviews, children's programmes, the Animated Night and the special bonuses will all be available for viewing 24 hours a day for the 10 days of the festival so you can watch them when you want to.

Additionally, since the tickets or passes are codes to give you access at home to the screenings, one ticket or one pass will give access to the entire household. This will be true across Belgium, while internationally only Futuranima (videos and live events) will be available.

This year's festival includes a special focus on Korea. "It's the 120th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Belgium and Korea so we took this anniversary as a starting point for something that we have wanted to do for a long time," says Karin Vanderydt, one of the two festival directors.

"We think Korea is one of the most interesting countries when we speak of animation. They have really a very distinctive voice, and they talk about very interesting topics. A parallel could be made with live-action films such as Parasite.

"They have a lot of films with very strong criticism of the government and of society. For example, many people in Korea are obsessed by plastic surgery and beauty products and there is a big issue to try to be as physically perfect as you can imagine, in order to be successful, and if you don’t succeed, if you can’t afford to do this plastic surgery or to buy these very expensive beauty products, well you’re a bit out of the system.

"Two of the films we are screening focus on the depths people go to - such as young school girls who go into prostitution to be able to afford these treatments and products."

Vanderydt adds: "Another part of the focus is a programme of 10 short films by independent authors which are interesting both for the topics covered as well as the way they are treated graphically. I think this Korean focus is really something to discover, it’s very direct and it’s amazing.

"On a lighter note, 14 February is during the festival so we are doing two special Valentine’s Day programmes on the theme of love, one for adults and one for children."

The workshops, interviews, conferences and masterclasses will consist of both prerecorded videos which will be available any time and Zoom webinars (Industry Day, Student Day, Multimedia Day and master class Q&As) that have specific dates and times.

To launch the festival there will a special live Facebook webcast on 12 February at 17.00 that will greet everyone and go over the details on how to take the best advantage of the platform.

Festivalgoers can buy tickets to single films, even shorts, or they can buy different packages - from a whole festival pass to small passes to different sections such as the Animated Night or just short films. And for parents' peace of mind there is a special children's pass that restricts access to age-appropriate films.

Sorry! Our prize giveaway has now closed and the winners have been notified.

Written by Richard Harris