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Enjoy 10 days of animated films in Brussels this spring

11:21 26/02/2019

The celebrated Brussels animation film festival Anima is back for its 38th edition and it's packed with things to see and do. Officially selected are 153 shorts and 44 feature-length films of which 20 features are premières. Of those, eight are feature films for adults which are in competition. Among the shorts there are 86 international and 27 national in competition.

Among the full-length out-of-competition films of special interest is a film about Raoul Servais, now 88 years old and the dean of Belgian animation with a 50-year career. Also there is a film on Leopold I who, though pivotal in Belgian history, doesn't get the attention his infamous son Leopold II or his war hero grandson Albert I get, even though his life from small German duchy to revolutionary Paris to Napoleon’s court to future Prince-Consort of Great Britain to finally first king of the Belgians is the stuff of Hollywood scripts.

In feature films for a young audience, the Belgian studio nWave brings us Royal Corgi, which is the story of the Queen of England's newest corgi Rex and the trouble he gets into. The children's films include a screening of Brad Bird's classic The Iron Giant, and the French film My Life as a Courgette about surviving and thriving in an orphanage.

New this year and hotly anticipated are virtual reality animated films - there are eight of them with durations lasting from two to 20 minutes. People will be able to experience them in groups of eight, entering all sorts of different universes: inside famous paintings, on the high seas, in a prison, all in 360°.

Isao Takahata, co-founder with Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli, died last year and Anima is presenting an homage with five of his most iconic movies including Grave of the Fireflies and Go Panda Go!

British animator Paul Bush will be honoured with an exhibition of his art and the Belgian première of his latest film Babeldom at Cinéma Galeries, and a retrospective of his career will be screened at Flagey which he has entitled My Beautiful, Stupid, Tealeaf Films and which includes his most important films and his commentary. He will be present for the screening.

Opening night features Another Day of Life, a true story taking place in Angola of the 1970s, and the closing night will feature Gertie the Dinosaur, an animated film from 1914 which will be recreated including live piano music, and the latest adventures of Patar and Aubier's hilarious heros Cowboy and Indian entitled La Foire Agricole. After the screening and the awards ceremony DJs will keep things going late into the night.

There will be masterclasses for young and old on virtual reality, stop motion, pitching and web creation among others, presented by an international roster of professionals, as well as lectures, workshops and information sessions. One of the sessions will be presented by Belgian animator Britt Raes whose short film Catherine has been selected by more than 200 festivals and garnered over 50 awards.

"We're going to talk about how it is to be a young professional and how things happen after you graduate and how do you go about making a career for yourself," says Raes.

"So we will be giving tips, some tricks that are inspired by my own experiences but of course everyone's story is different so everyone can take from it what is interesting for them and we hope to inspire young graduates on their journey after their studies."

Anima Festival, 1-10 March

Written by Richard Harris