Animated dreams take over Tallinn

  • 2011-11-17
  • By Laurence Boyce

PENCIL AND PAPER: Mark Shapiro will discuss the Oscar nominated animated film “Coraline.”

TALLINN - The Animated Dreams Animation Festival, which began on Nov. 16 in Tallinn – looks set to cement its reputation as the biggest and most popular animation in both the Baltic region and Northeast Europe with a stellar line-up of shorts and features from across the world. This year’s event also promises to encourage a new generation of animation talent by launching AnimaCampus Tallinn, a meeting point for a hundred young animation filmmakers who, over five days, will get the chance to share experiences with top players in the field and build international networks.

The opening of the festival kicked off with some brand new animations from Nukufilm, the legendary Estonian studio, which specializes in puppet animation. They included “Body Memory” from Ulo Pikkov, a wonderfully moving and experimental piece that examines how the body not only remembers individual experiences but also the pain of its predecessors. A beautifully crafted film that has already won numerous awards at other festivals, it – along with films such as Hardi Volmer’s “Domestic Fitless” and Rao Heidmets’s “Coming of Oracle” – was a great way to start the festival.

Also showing was “Summer Moment,” a beautiful meditation on time and memory that was shot in Estonia by Japanese filmmaker Maya Yonesho. The film acts as a perfect introduction to the festival’s focus on Japanese Indie Animation. Whilst Japanese animation is often associated with Manga films, the films on offer at Animated Dreams will showcase more experimental and thoughtful affairs. These include the feature film “Midori-ko,” a stunning hand drawn animation about scientists attempting to end world hunger, and programs of shorts that include “Hand Soap,” an eerily disturbing film about a young boy reaching puberty that won last year’s Wooden Wolf – the biggest prize that the festival has to offer.

Indeed, there will be plenty of excellent films represented in this year’s competition, as well as the Panoramas and Best of International Student Animations. These include “The Making of Longbird,” a stunning behind the scenes look at the work of Vladislav Feltov (one of the great long lost pioneers of animation) and his most famous collaborator Longbird. Taking a modern spin on the master’s past works, this is an introspective yet extremely clever take on cinema history that should surely pave the way for further rediscoveries of the work of both Feltov and Longbird. Other great films to look out for include “The Renter,” a strange tale of childhood memory and weird people from the USA, and “Mask” the latest film from the legendary Brothers Quay.

There’ll be a chance to sample the work of some of the upcoming Estonian animators as well as a retrospective of the work of Estonian animator Rein Raamat as the festival celebrates 80 years of Estonian animation.  Rein Raamat is considered to be the founder of the Estonian school of animation whose hand-drawn work was considered revolutionary at the time. Whilst developing his style he also managed to encourage others around him and his importance in Estonian animation cannot be underestimated. With films such as “Empty Workers” – inspired by the book from Fr. R. Kreutzwald – his work has a childlike quality that belies the complexity that lies at their heart. With other screenings including both classic and up and coming Estonian animators, Animated Dreams will offer the opportunity to discover just why Estonia is seen as one of the most important animation producing countries in the world.

The Love, Sex and Desire late night program, which will bring a decidedly erotic edge to the festival with some extremely risque Japanese films and more whilst the aforementioned AnimaCampus Tallinn will see talks from the likes of Laika Studio’s Mark Shapiro, who will take young animation talents behind the scenes of the Oscar nominated “Coraline.”
There’ll be all that and plenty more besides as the festival aims to take audiences on a journey of discovery through worlds of animation both old and new.  As always, those who love animation will feast on the delights on offer whilst those who have yet to experience Animated Dreams will find a whole new world waiting for them.

For more information about the Animated Dreams Animation Film Festival program and how to buy tickets, visit