The launch of the London Internation Animation Festival took place last night at the Curzon Soho. Nag Vladermersky presented a taster of the festival by screening five films to a small and lacklustre crowd. LIAF doesn't start with a bang, but if it's anything like last year, most of the screenings are full and by Best of the Fest on the final day, London will be as pleased as it bloody should be that Nag and Malcom Turner have thought of getting the festival off the ground.
The first film screened was McLaren's Negatives by Marie Josee Saint Pierre, a Canadian animator who is coming over to give a masterclass during LIAF. The film was gentle, not embarking on any of the more colourful areas of Norman McLaren's life, but instead making much of two or three audio recordings and a quote. It was very exciting to hear his voice but I think it is very difficult to make a good documentary about Norman McLaren using animation. Also screened was John R Dilworth's Life in Transition, a slightly old fashioned and surreal depiction of Mr Dilworth's up's and downs. Mr Dilworth was at Animafest and because he's big and quite muscly I can't imagine that he really sits down with his Wacom for the long haul. Tragic Story with a Happy Ending tells a story that could be fey and simply shouldn't work but it's sincerity and an astonishing score by Normand Roger makes it the best film of the evening for me. A Long Day of Mr Calpaccio made me have a headache twice, once in Zagreb and again yesterday. I couldn't help quite liking Jona/Tomberry for being zealous and earnest but if I were to watch it again I would wish Rosto AD had had another go at the script.