The annual Brussels Animation Film Festival, officially known as ANIMA, takes place this year over the last two weekends of February, timed perfectly with the Carnival school holidays. Offering a wide range of national and international all-ages programming, ANIMA will screen 300 films over 10 days at the Flagey Cultural Centre and the Palace movie theatre. The festival also devotes a bulk of its resources to engaging with young children through interactive installations, exhibitions and animation workshops. This appeal toward pre-school and elementary school kids is telegraphed by the poster for this year’s festival which features a cameo by Petit Poilu, the popular character of a BD series of pantomime comics drawn by Belgian cartoonist Pierre Bailly.
|The poster for ANIMA 2020 by Pierre Bailly. Petit Poilu is the character in the left-center of audience with the black face and red nose.|
The most striking aspect of the film from a comics perspective is the aesthetic of the animation itself. Belgian comics artist Brecht Evens served as the graphic consultant for the film, responsible for establishing the visual style and character design. Both Brecht Evens and director Anca Damian were present at the opening event to present their film.
|Director Anca Damian (centre) and Brecht Evens (right) at the ANIMA kickoff event.|
|Director Anca Damian (right) and Brecht Evens (centre) at the ANIMA kickoff event.|
L’extraordinaire voyage de Marona marks Brecht Evens’ first foray into the world of animation, and he follows in the wake of other fellow Euro comics cartoonists making their inroads into feature-length animated films (Emile Bravo and Lorenzo Mattotti, among others, come to mind). Here’s hoping that films like Marona reach a wider audience so that more unique visions and styles from the comics world can be expressed as moving images,