Two local short animated films, Ulek Mayang: Spirits of the Sea by Hajar Aznam and The Flower of Guernica by Sokhooi Teng were screened at the 15th France Animated Film Festival, on 21st October 2016 at the National Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), Petaling Jaya.
Organised by Alliance Française de Kuala Lumpur (AFKL) and FINAS, in collaboration with the French Animated Film Association (AFCA) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), the festival also showcased 10 other short animated films; Le Ruban, One Day, Myosis, and more produced by the students from The Gobelins, the premier school of visual arts in France.
Produced in 2011, Ulek Mayang: Spirits of the Sea is a 2D animation which tells the ancient tale of a sea-princess who fell in love with a fisherman, portrays the unique element of Wayang Kulit (a shadow puppet play) with traditional Batik design and music. The film was also showcased at the Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart under the ‘Journeying with Shadows 1: Animation’ category in 2012.
Whereas Sookhoi Teng’s The Flower of Guernica, is a stylized 3D animation inspired by a painting by Pablo Picasso on the protest of the bombings of Guernica, a small town in Northern Spain. The film received the Gold Award: Digital Animation (Student Category) at the Singapore’s Asia Pacific Digital Art and Animation Competition (ComGraph) in 2002.
Besides the film screening, the festival also featured a discussion on the characteristics of French and Malaysian animated films by local animation industry players; Usama Yasin Zaid (Founder of Wau Animation), Fariz Ghazali (Animation Lecturer at ASWARA), Desmond Lee (Managing Director of Appxplore Mobile Game Development Studios), Hassan Muthalib (Filmmaker) together with Guillaume Duchemin (Audiovisual Attache at the French Embassy in Singapore) and Jean-Pierre Dumont (Director of AFKL).
Hassan Mutalib, who was the moderator commented, “I believe we can learn a lot from the French short animated films, especially on the narrative and stylistic approach. The narrative is more philosophical, sometimes mystical, but often posing a thought-provoking question. On the stylistic side, it’s about how you tell your stories visually using the right film grammar and the film language that arises from it.”
The 15th France Animated Film Festival in Kuala Lumpur continues until 26th October 2016 with other short and feature-length films in French with English subtitles.