Robbe Vervaeke’s animated short Norman has been selected for Official Competition at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (10-15 June). Also competing are television series Picnic With Cake, a Flemish co-production, and several shorts co-produced with Flanders. Pieter Coudyzer’s The Wake is presented out of competition. The Annecy Film Fest is globally considered as the number one festival when it comes to animation.

Robbe Vervaeke's NormanCompeting in the Short Film category, Robbe Vervaeke’s animated short is in the running for up to six awards, including the Audience Award, the Special Jury Award and the Annecy Cristal.

Norman takes place in a city filled with old, statuesque buildings, with dark shadows and weathered trees. In this city lives Norman, a thickset, shapeless and pale-faced man. He’s obsessed by observing and staring at people. His fascination knows no bounds. Is he as innocent as a child? Or is he a threat to society?

The world premiere of Norman took place at the Leuven International Short Film Festival, while the film also screened at Brussels’ Anima festival. In Annecy, the film is to receive its international premiere.

The Dutch animated short film, Chopper, will be competing in the same festival programme as Norman. Flemish directors are Lars Damoiseaux and Frederik Palmaers, who created a story about a praying mantis that gets eaten by a frog. But the frog gets eaten by a stork. In turn, the stork gets eaten by a crocodile, which ends up as a pair of boots. Finally, the wearer of the boots gets hit by a praying mantis while driving his motorcycle and doesn’t survive the hit. Chopper previously screened at the Dutch Film Fest in Utrecht.

The equally Dutch production History of Pets, created by Flemish director Kris Genijn, which previously screened at Anima and the Holland Animation Film Festival, is also selected for Annecy. Betty's Blues, co-produced by Lunanime (A Cat in Paris) is a story about love and revenge in which the blues play a central theme, and is competing in the short film cateogry as well.

Another competitor in the Official Competition is animated television series Picnic With Cake. A classic whodunnit for children, it is based on the book by celebrated Dutch-Indonesian illustrator Thé Tjong-Khing. In the series, the animals of the village go out for a picnic. But once they arrive at the picnic spot they notice that the pies of Mr and Mrs Dog are missing. Each of the 26 episodes tells the same story but from a different animal’s point of view. Brussels animation studio Walking The Dog, known for its work on A Monster in Paris and Pinocchio, co-produced.

Pieter Coudyzer’s The Wake, selected out of competition, tells the tale of an introverted man whose wife is in a coma after a car accident. Earlier this year, the 20-minute short received the SABAM Award at Brussels’ Anima festival.

Finally there’s yet another film with a Belgian tinge: Marcel, King of Tervuren, by American animator Tom Schroeder, is a Greek tragedy – acted out by roosters – narrated by the Belgian Ann Berckmoes.

Norman is a production of Leen Derveaux and Barend Weyens for Cinnamon Entertainment (Memee, Natasha). Geert Van Goethem and Linda Sterckx produced Pieter Coudyzer’s The Wake for S.O.I.L. (Farmer Jack, Daddy Don’t Forget Your Glasses). Both films were made possible with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Joke Schauvliege. Walking The Dog co-produced the Belgian-Dutch television series Picnic With Cake with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Media Fund of Flemish Media Minister Ingrid Lieten.

Published on Friday 29 March 2013

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