Top British Animation Goes BAA at 35mm Festival

35MMA scene from Osbert Parker's "Yours Truly," the second part of a film noir trilogy that has won awards worldwide.
A hungry cat tries to wake up his owner with a baseball bat, a naked man wanders around within the lines of his own outline and a badger has his sleep disturbed by nuclear warheads. These are just some of the characters andimages that are going to be flashing across the screens of 35MM theater starting Thursday for a three-day showcase of the winners of the British Animation Awards.

"We always try to come up with something unusual, stuff that no other cinema theater in Moscow will dare to show," said Kristina Vorobyova, one of the organizers of the festival, which is showing the 2008 award winners. The cinema hosted a similar exhibition in 2006, "but as the ceremony only takes place once in two years, we had to wait for the next one."

The festival includes everything from kids' cartoons to television commercials, with genres that range from comedies to art house but all with a good dose of absurdity.

One of the most popular is likely to be "Measles," produced by Streetworld TV for Amnesty International, where extinct viruses call for an arms ban. The creators said on their YouTube page that they made this film "to lure people back to an old-fashioned, diseased way of dying instead of more modern war-and-killing-style demises."

The winners' list shows that despite the spread of computer-based animation, there is still huge enthusiasm to explore unusual techniques of animation, to experiment and to use the experience and methods of the past.

One of the winners is Luis Cook, who works for Aardman Animations, the Bristol-based animation studio famous for its "Wallace and Gromit" cartoons. Cook is tipped to become the studio's new key figure, and his short film "The Pearce Sisters" was given a BAFTA Award for Best Short Animation.

Although "The Pearce Sisters" runs for barely nine minutes, it took 18 months to complete using a complicated mixture of 3-D and 2-D production. It is a "tale of love, loneliness, guts, gore, nudity, violence, smoking and cups of tea," the story of two miserable old spinsters living by the sea and their longing for human contact, according to its web site.


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Cook's "The Pearce Sisters" won a BAFTA Award for Best Short Animation.
A competitor to Cook's sisters in the Craft category was "Adjustment," a story about lost love that is the directorial debut ofanimator and visual-effects specialist Ian Mackinnon. He has previously worked on visual and special effects for movies such as Terry Gilliam's "The Brothers Grimm" and Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride."

Another highly anticipated short film is "Yours Truly" by Osbert Parker, which won the Best Short Film award. Parker, who used to produce commercials for Coca-Cola and MTV, among others, is working on a trilogy of film noir animations. The first part, made in 2006, received nominations at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and at the Cannes Film Festival.

"Yours Truly" is the second part of this trilogy and is a tale of romance, Humphrey Bogart and murder. The film was showcased at the Sundance Festival and received a prize for Best Short Animation at the Chicago Festival.

Other famous names in the B.A.A. show program include Sylvain Chomet, the director of "The Triplets of Belleville" who also has a commercial for a Swiss insurance company on show, and the Chemical Brothers, whose video for "Salmon Dance" from their latest album was awarded the prize of Best Music Video.

The winners are packaged together in a showing of about 90 minutes that runs twice a day on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. at 35MM, 47/24 Ulitsa Pokrovka. Metro Krasniye Vorota, Kurskaya. 917-1883/5492, http://kino35mm.ru