The 4th International Trickfilm Festival Stuttgart ‘88 has grown into an event worthy of our full recognition. David Jefferson went along as an official guest and reports on what he found.
The Stuttgart Animation Festival, held between the 5th and 10th of February, is a relative newcommer to the international scene. It started in a small way in 1978 and has been held biennially since. The Festival was expanded this year as part of the Year of European Film, with the city of Stuttgart and the state each granting DM 100,000 (£33,000).
A British animated puppet film, Street of Crocodiles by the Brothers Quay, won the top prize of DM 10,000 (£3,300).
Another British film, Business by Vanessa J. Cuthbert, won the prize for the best student film. Vanessa is studying animation at the Royal College of Art in London.
Irish film maker Aidan Hicky won a prize for Inside Job. Two films from the south-west of England were particular audience favourites. Babylon from Bristol based Aardman Animation and Girls Night Out by Joanna Quinn, who is a member of the Cardiff Animation Workshop.
The other British entries were Hello Dad by Christoph Simon and Strangers in Paradise by Andy Staveley. These were both made at the Royal College of Art.
In recent years animated film has gained considerable ground in the German Federal Republic as well as in the Stuttgart region. Festival director Prof. Albrecht Ade observed: “The Stuttgart Festival has been a pioneer from the very beginning and now has a recognized place among the international animated film festivals.
“This initiative demonstrates that the Baden-Wurttemberg region and the city of Stuttgart have potential to grow in the media field given realistic planning and activity.” Ade commended the state of Baden-WUrttemberg for their promotion of music, the visual arts and the theatre and there is no doubt the citizens show a growing understanding of these cultural phenomena. “But for film, animated film, video film and video art as cultural media a comparable plan was lacking, in spite of the fact that the media as a service area urgently needs development in the Stuttgart region. Some things have improved in recent years, but the large field of the visual media, including film, photography and advertising, do not yet find a climate which can be taken for granted in a region of such economic strength.
Especially for film, there is no sensible overall planning. This is not a call for new subsidies, but a proposal for the concentration of resources and a reminder that the film cities of Munich and Berlin must not necessarily be promoted with money from Baden-WUrttemberg.”
Thomas Meyer-Hermann, a member of the film selection committee, drew our attention to an animated film from the Netherlands entitled Animation has no Borders, produced with the cooperation of filmmakers from 36 different countries. “The fine title reflects the emotions animated film makers from all over the world regularly feel when coming to a festival,” he said. “But, what does our everyday world look like?
“Whoever makes animated films has to fight prejudices. People like to put this media into ready-made boxes. Animated films must be made by Walt Disney or they must come from Eastern Europe. They are for children, or, if they are too brutal, for childish adults. Singing animals must appear or big-nosed little guys fighting against hell and high water or be a climax of personal commitment- cannon balls changing into peace pigeons.”