Cartoons Underground animation festival showcase 13 works

My World (above) and Poles Apart are two of 13 short films selected to screen in Cartoons Underground, an independent animation festival.
My World (above) and Poles Apart are two of 13 short films selected to screen in Cartoons Underground, an independent animation festival.PHOTO: CARTOONS UNDERGROUND
My World and Poles Apart (above) are two of 13 short films selected to screen in Cartoons Underground, an independent animation festival.
My World and Poles Apart (above) are two of 13 short films selected to screen in Cartoons Underground, an independent animation festival.PHOTO: CARTOONS UNDERGROUND

My World is one of 13 selected from 400 entries to screen and compete in Cartoons Underground

In the short film My World, a girl rides a giant beast across a landscape of meshed gears. Her head is a light bulb; the creature's is a windmill.

The trippy visuals are the work of a team of former Lasalle College of the Arts students.

Producer Geraldine Toh, 22, says that the work came from director Miyako Makio's fondness for the idea that everything in the universe is connected.

"Every small thing makes an impact, we can't exist without one another," she says.

My World is one of 13 short films selected to screen and compete in Cartoons Underground, an independent animation festival now in its sixth edition.

In it, a simple act performed by the lightbulb girl gets the world of frozen gears moving again.

Makio felt that gears best symbolised the idea of oneness. Also, there was the matter of time.

"She considered using germs and microorganisms as a symbol, but they would have been too hard to visualise," says Toh. The team drew visual inspiration from manga and anime created by Japan's Studio Ghibli, in particular the film Castle In The Sky (1986).

The team behind My World is multinational. Toh is from Singapore, while Makio, 23, is from Japan and has since returned home. Background artist and creature animator Nguyen Hong Ngoc Mai, 24, is from Vietnam and has also returned.

All three graduated from Lasalle's Puttnam School of Film & Animation.

The film's richly layered orchestral score is from Wang Jingyao, 27, from China, a former music student at Lasalle.

My World is the Puttnam trio's graduating work and has been selected for this year's Sitges Film Festival, a leading festival for fantasy and horror, held in Catalonia.

Other works to be screened at Cartoons Underground include Poles Apart, winner of the prestigious McLaren Award for Best British Animation at the Edinburgh International Film Festival this year.

In the film, a polar bear has a bittersweet encounter with a grizzly bear because of habitat destruction caused by global warming.

Billed as a Britain-Singapore co-production, Poles Apart is a work of stop-motion animation helmed by British director Paloma Baeza and produced by Singaporean Low Ser En.

  • BOOK IT / CARTOONS UNDERGROUND

  • WHERE: Kult Kafe, 11 Upper Wilkie Road

    WHEN: Oct 21, 6pm

    ADMISSION: Free with registration

    INFO: For registration and programme, go to cartoonsunderground.com

The 13 works screening at Cartoons Underground were selected from nearly 400 submitted from around the world and cover a wide range of themes and styles.

For the first time, the festival will host the Golden Durian Awards, in the categories of Best Film and Best Director. Also being introduced is the Golden Durian Audience Award for Singapore Animation.

The festival is organised by an independent organisation also called Cartoons Underground.

Toh has a fondness for the festival because of its informal touch - it is held at a cafe in Upper Wilkie Road where food and drinks are available - and how attendees can watch films in their entirety, instead of clips, and hear film-makers talk about their work.

"It's feels a lot more personal, less commercial," she says.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Short film by Lasalle alumni in animation festival'. Print Edition | Subscribe