Sunday, 29 May 2011

Animated Realities conference

So I blogged about the call for the Animated realities conference here. I put a paper in and it's been accepted (hooray. It's about working collaboratively in the animated documentary frame), so I'll be heading up to Edinburgh next month.

Held on June 23rd and 24th 2011, Animated Realities will be a 2 day academic conference at the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art. Interestingly it will include a screening programme of new animated documentary work as part of the Edinburgh International Film Festival, so it should be a good mix of screening and discussions.

The line up to speak is kind of terrifyingly amazing; for a start the key note speakers are Sheila Sofian (University of Southern California), Paul Ward (Arts University College, Bournemouth) and Paul Wells (Loughborough University. Other speakers include Annegret Richter, Maike Thies, Anne Marie Fleming, Suzanne Buchan, Bella Honess Roe and Ohad Landesman. 

The panels deal with topics such as; animated documentary and spectatorship, animated documentary and otherness, animated documentary and memory. There seems to have been a bit of a venting of material about animated documentary, I found the sheer volume of material being presented surprising considering the fairly recent recognition of the genre (this is the first conference on this subject).

However, the papers I shall be most keenly anticipating will be the ones that are defining and theorising animated documentary. In some ways it's such a contentious area that it will be fascinating to see how it will be dealt with in this context. It's a term that in a way has been blithely assimilated into our language about film without much insight about why it's being used and what that might mean. The recent Wonderland: The trouble with love and sex was described as being "the first full-length animated documentary made for British television"(from the BBC2 website). It was a beautifully drawn, interesting and informative film, but I feel like the animation was such a direct shot-for-shot substitute for live action that I wasn't really sure why it was animated, except purely as a way of disguising the identities of the interviewees. So the question of why we use animation in a documentary context at all is really the core of what interests me about it.

The trouble with love and sex BBC2 © Jonathan Hodgson

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