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Lucca Animation Festival

PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:51 pm
by Barry
My my, here I go again........

This should be a fun festival and there are some good mates there. It will be good to spend some time with Suzie T. I can't afford the time to go, but hey Italy in the Spring.......

If anyone else is going from here, please say a big Italian hallo.

Re: Lucca Animation Festival

PostPosted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:40 pm
by Barry
March 17th 2009
And sure enough I've arrived in gorgeous Lucca, the architecture of which is what I'd planned to base Rigoletto on but somehow it didn't turn out like that. I'd had this idea about the tall brick towers, but they never made it onto the final film. they should have done. Cyprus trees and tall towers and fading frescoes. gorgeous. I think it will be a good festival, hard work, but very hospitable. And the birthplace of puccini. It would be good to hear some of his music whilst I am here.
Am tired on this first day as 4.00 was a silly time to get up, but good company and good food in a great restaraunt made up for that.
The hotel is in a piazza opposite the opera house, and as I opened the shutters, it was a very Merchant Ivory moment.
The festival hasn't even started and we have had two huge meals, with plates and plates just appearing. Great company, though I do find the language harder to keep up with than french. Wandering round this old town late at night was very atmopsheric.
Once again I am deeply flattered and honoured to have a whole 'hommage', and still feel uncomfortable.
But oh that ice cream, and Puccini looking down at me everywhere.....enjoy.

Re: Lucca Animation Festival

PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 10:06 pm
by Barry
18th March 2009

Well that is the first full day of the festival done, and most splendid it was too. A gorgeous sunny day, and the street lined with magnolias was a sight to gladden any heart. I awoke to the sound of a gently buzzing piazza - there's not much traffic allowed, hardly any cars. I was embarrassed yesterday to be waved through as a VIP.
Am getting to know everyone now, though the Italian names are not sinking in. But we wandered through another piazza dominated by a truly magnificent and a little eccentric church to the cinema for the opening ceremony. Various trailers representing each of the guests came up on screen with dynamic glittery gold letters, and a fanfare. Speeches and then another meal in cafe Tosca, as in this small piazza is Puccini's house. Now that alone was worth coming for. They are all probably very tired of anything Puccini related but it truly thrilled me, and I could almost hear him battering out various arais on a piano echoing round the square. It is a lovely area, with some restoration needed, but the exposed brickwork certainly adds to the atmosphere.
We had our first jury screening, and a decent mix of films....some were annoying me, some excited me. the evening programme was better, doing both in greater extremes. some jaw dropping ones. I'm feeling odd about showing my films tomorrow as they are so raw, and the frames so untouched. Tonight there was hardly a raw frame. Everything is doctored and manipulated so much. Sometimes this works, and oh boy sometimes it's just an indulgent exercise. But there is some cracking stuff being made. Tonight we had one of my favourite films, that gets better each time.
So good chats, good films, good company, and good history. The only Puccini I have heard though is a rather radio 2 orchestral version of the aria from Butterfly, with guitars plucking away. Hmm......
Oh, and excellent amarenno cherry ice-cream.

Re: Lucca Animation Festival

PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:58 pm
by Barry
March 19th 2009

And this was certainly a day and a half. Kept awake for most of the night with a very noisy gentleman next door with very fluid catarrh problems, however I ignored that as best I could, and headed round lucca after breakfast, into the Amphitheatre. Well it's a piazza that is amphitheatre shaped, and very impressive as a space. The architecture is simple but colourful.
And then my screening, with a good sized audience of teenagers and adults, being terribly responsive. I'm afraid I watched it all with my eyes shut, willing the 70 minutes to go by. I can't watch the films now. I'm worried that having done the dVD the colour is too saturated now, and that's the way it will stay. I would like to tone things down, but there we go. Anyway after some of the films we've watched recently, these are so raw and simple, just puppets behaving badly in front of a camera. No layers of CG. I was cringing actually and felt almost sick, and yet, and yet, teh response is amazing, still. Perhaps it is the craft element that is still visible and still enjoyed. one of the jury actually cried at the end of Screen Play. Maybe I will not have to watch them for a good few years soon, as I just sit there hating all that is wrong with them, and hating the fact that perhaps I think they are alright which makes me frustrated that I am not doing such films now...and believe me there are a million in my head. But a great response, which did touch me - it confused me, but tittouched me.
Another good meal and then I had to rush to do my workshop, and now this really was a first. I animated a complete scene in front of a packed auditorium. The festival had provided me with a yellow clay character that was beautifully made, but heavy and without an arm armature, and I'm afraid I didn't use it. I wouldn't have been able to make it stand up as they had provided me with a thick wooden table top, very low down. This with 60 people watching every frame, and me ahving to do a running commentary and with questions coming back is probably the most inappropriate way to do an aniamtion shoot. Cameras everywhere, which sort of confused was I was able to see on the monitor, as the big screen was showing me in action. And yet, well something fun happened. i did a very simple scene with a puppet I had brought, of the character reacting to the sun rising and pointing at it. No wieght, no sense of character, no rhythm, no nothing, and it was terrible, and I felt awful doing it, but then I had to do it for real, with the puppet as good as jsut standing by himself. chatting away made it quite hard to concentrate, and trying to explain some of the more bizarre tricks all rather complicated it. So I was very nervous to final screen the ten second shot. fisrt time we saw it it was played at 12 frames a second and looked ok, but second time at the proper rate it was rather fun, with some nice dynamics and decent animation. And the audience loved beign part of the process. I felt much relieved, but absolutely knackered, and came back to the hotel, opting out of any organised activity for the rest of the day. I did have a snooze before goign to see Momix at the theatre, whcih perked me up no end, and got me so excited, but then depressed that I'm not beign similarly creative. It's all there in my head, but I can't find the outlet and i will go bang soon.
An exhilerating day, but have I moved forward on the board at all. I fear not. I've certainly not passed Go nor collected £200.

Re: Lucca Animation Festival

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:02 am
by Barry
march 20th 2009

The days are getting packed with all manner of sights and sounds. I had lunch with some friends from Torino, trying to be of help with one of their projects. As usual, that help means change and that's not always welcome. We shall see. But great to catch up with them in a cafe surround be magnolia trees in full blossom.
more walking around the city getting delightfully lost and finding new vistas and smells. I've not encounered any cats whilst I've been hee, a few very pampered and coiffured dogs though.
More eating then two more jury films - some are very good...some not so. I'm looking forward to the adjudicating tomorrow.
Then a late night screening of Chris Hopewells music videos. I'm very jealous, I'll admit, to the chance to do so much and in so many different styles. Seeing all the filsm this week there is a sickening feel in my stomach that I simply have not produced enough and have wasted so much time. There is so much in me bursting to get out still, so many ideas.

Re: Lucca Animation Festival

PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2009 10:07 pm
by Barry

Re: Lucca Animation Festival

PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:48 am
by Barry
21st March 2009

Well I couldn't have crammed more in a day if I'd tried. The mornign was taken up with the Jury deliberations, and we thought we would have cracked in in 45 minutes. Actually it took nearly three hours, but that's what being a jury is all about. If if was totally unanimous it would be as fun. The five of us all had favourite films, and it was give and take and some were disappointed, but that is probably the fairest way, otherwise we would end up giving the prizes to the less deserving films but that pleased more people. It's never easy, and some creative tension was seen, but it was fun and there are good results. But there is an interesting common theme through the winning films.
Then yes, another spectacular lunch in a gorgeous restaraunt in the city walls.
Then after lunch with Ondrej I climbed the monumental tower that had the garden on top. A lot of steps, getting progressively narrow and more exposed the higher they went, and I did go rather silent. But then stepping out onto the turret, and a 360 degree view of tuscany with the sea and snowcapped mountains, and all that terracotta, well wow! A perfect golden light and the sound of bells. We had a laugh with some australian ladies on the top who were slightly regretting that extra bottle of red wine. But oh what a view. I couldn't help but look at the crumbling brickwork, and then reassure myself that it had stood forseveral centuries so far. It might last for a few more minutes. It did.
I raced over to the cinema, waving at my friend puccini on the way, and introduced a second screenign of my films, but I didn't stay to watch them, as i headed with Tomasso to hear a 45 minute concert in a deconsecrated church. Amixed programme of opera for bass, soprano and piano, and I can't pretend the standard was high, but the experience was brilliant. A father in front conducting away very physically had his daughters hand soon clenched round his.....stop that Dad! Several womend having a very vocal chinwag. Another woman answered her phone, and even when ushered to one side still carried on chatting loudly. But anyway I have heard some Puccini, and Mozart, and Mascagni and Verdi in lucca, so that's fine.
And yes one more meal was squeezed in, out on a deserted industrial estate or shopping mall, and it reminded me of being in Clockwork Orange. I think I had peaked by this time and took advantage of taking a weary Suzie home.
But a good day and a rather glorious weeks' holiday actually - thanks to the supreme generosity of Lucca Festival.

Re: Lucca Animation Festival

PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:22 pm
by Barry
March 23rd 2009

Am sat in the Gatwick lounge waitign to head back to Manchester, already missign the many delights of Italy and Lucca and the people. Yesterday was a pretty manic day with, yes you guessed it, lots of eating, but the jury and the ladies who looked after us, all jumped on wonderfully smooth bikes, and gently cycled round the walls of Lucca, twice. And what views and countryside, and glimspes of buildigns I'd not seen. This really was a very civilised afternoon and we all managed to relax in the sun. And yes of course ice cream followed.
The awards evening was after this with me giving out the awards, and hopefully managing to thank everyone and say somethign interesting.
One final meal, int he most exotic restaraunt of them all. I'd begun to fade after this and did not join in the spirited football in the piazza.
And that's it. A splendid festival in Lucca, with new friends, maybe new contacts, and a shared passion in a beautiful place. For this, many thanks.