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Linoleum Animation Festival Opens at Solyanka

A clergyman watching the skillful work of animator Bastien Dubois, serving as one of many sources of inspiration as the artist travelled the world. Bastien Dubois

The eighth International Festival of Animation and Media Arts opened on Friday at Solyanka Gallery, documenting the detailed designs of both Russian and internationally acclaimed artists, through a series of beautiful, strange scenes and their  inhabitant creatures.

 Eighty animated films from 25 different countries are on display, including from the likes of Oscar-nominated Bastien Dubois. The artistic styles span a wide variety of categories, and competition was steep: Some 135 works from 30 different countries were submitted.

Linoleum 2013 showcases the newest, most unique, and downright weird developments in the field of animation.

The majority have never been seen by the public before, but some recurring names provide a clue of what to expect.

"One of the works that stands out is called 'Portraits de Voyages' (Portraits of Travels) by French director Bastien Dubois and consists of 20 three minute episodes, each describing a different country through a story about one of its residents," commented festival organizer, Alisa Bagdonayte.

The categories, united under the general theme of "Re-animation," include subdivisions: "Artsy," "Drama," "New Wave" and "Over 18."

"The category 'Artsy' showcases movies on the subject of art including 'Kiki of Montparnasse' about the legendary model in 1920 Paris. In the 'Drama' category there is 'His War' by Bruno Collet about an old man who keeps remembering the horrors of war in Indochina," Bagdonayte continued.

"There are also those movies that are better described as contemporary art rather than animation," she stated, recommending a personal favourite. "Check out 'Animation Hotline' by Dustin Grella. It is based on a crowdsourcing initiative, where anyone could leave him a message on his answering machine."

Films from the CIS are the sole productions which aren't being shown for the first time.

Russian animations will include works from the likes of Ivan Maximov, most well known for his 1992 short "Bolero," set to Maurice Ravel's orchestral piece, and who has since produced much longer yet equally surreal features.

The category for viewers over 18 includes a film entitled "Like Rabbits" by French animator Osman Cerfon. "The animation depicts human vices through characters like a fish-headed man releasing bubbles of death, a prostitute, boy scouts, and, of course, the rabbits themselves," Bagdonayte said.

The festival will culminate in competition results. Visitors can vote for a "viewer's award." "A professional jury will decide the winners of the rest of the awards," Bagdonayte finished.

Andrei Muchnik contributed to this article.

Linoleum Festival runs until Sept. 8 at Solyanka Gallery, 1/2 Ulitsa Solyanka. Metro Kitai-Gorod, 495-621-5572. solyanka.org

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