ANIMAFEST SCANNER IX | SYMPOSIUM FOR CONTEMPORARY ANIMATION STUDIES | PANEL 1 GLOBAL ANIMATION AND ITS HISTORY - TRIBUTE TO GIANNALBERTO BENDAZZI
KEYNOTE: Caught Between Two Stools: Star Wars vs. the Art of Animation - Rolf Giesen (Animafest Zagreb Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animation Studies)
Pandemics such as the current COVID-19, the consequences of climate change and recent and future wars have a profound effect on our personal lives, our way of thinking, and on what we consider art, including the art of animation. Things that under normal conditions would have lasted longer now begin to pick up pace in introducing a global Cyber Age of Virtualisation: from cyber money to cyber wars to cyber people. Right now – and for the decades to come – we experience the agony of the turning point. Everything and everybody become subject to an Orwellian, Disneyfied global matrix. Since digitization, cinema and TV have lost their primacy over moving images to Google, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, with other streaming services and interactive enterprises yet unknown already waiting in the starting gates. Considering our profession, VFX and animation, the story began after the Vietnam debacle, with a human mind highly influenced by Disney, with George Lucas and Star Wars: the transfer of WW2 images to outer space, a re-education of a war-weary nation. Star Wars opened the era of blockbusters, of movies that make a billion dollars at the international box-office. By contrast, animation in Europe is as different and varied as the European countries – from country to country rather small compared to the big global players (none of which are European). In Europe we are not like the big fish, never will be. We are more like cleaner fish. Our strength should be the content and, even if simple, animation quality. Zagreb was and is a good example that we have something to say, that we value the art of animation higher than the commercial standardization.
Rolf Giesen was born on July 4, 1953 in Moers, Germany. He studied at Free University of Berlin, and obtained his PhD. (Dr. phil.) in 1979. He served for 20 years as a curator at Deutsche Kinemathek (German Cinematheque) in charge of collections “Ray Harryhausen” and “Special Effects/Animation”. He organised film exhibitions, wrote numerous articles and more than 60 books including Animation Under the Swastika, Chinese Animation: A History and Filmography, 1922-2012, Acting & Character Animation and the upcoming Animation in Europe. For several years, he was a visiting professor lecturing in China. As a consultant and screenwriter, he was involved in a dozen European VFX and animation films.