‘Chris the Swiss’ by Anja Kofmel

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Directed by Anja Kofmel and screened during Cannes International Critics Week in 2018, this feature length documentary ,which fuses a mix of live action, archive and animation, is a remarkable investigation into the death of war journalist Chris, Kofmel’s late cousin.

This personal story, rich with emotion explains how the death of Kofmel’s cousin has impacted her entire life. Chris travelled to the Croatian War of Independence in the 90’s, and much of the film is set in and around Zagreb. Kofmel appears herself in the film both as a child in animated form and as an adult in live action. We see her visit the places Chris had been, such as hotels and battle grounds and talk to the people he met, such as fellow journalists and ‘soldiers’, in an attempt to discover why and how he died. I thought the inclusion of the animation production process as part of the film was a nice touch, the storyboarding and concept sketches forming part of her search.

The animation is spellbinding, black and white 2D and created in TV Paint, there is the feeling of movement and texture in the drawings as the ink  bleeds into the ‘paper’ whilst images are formed and animated. The depiction of Chris and other characters is very clear, the characterisation of them and Kofmel’s direction holding up well against any photos or live action of those people. In particular the key characters, not alive today to give testimony, the animation is adding and ‘filling in’ for the missing live action that we require in order to tell Chris’s story. But the animation is not merely a device for the live action. It brings a new level of understanding to the documentary in the way in which it morphs, transcends time and geographical boundaries. There are symbolic themes in the animation, such as that of the animated lines that denote the lines in Chris scarf, or the black painterly marks that follow Chris, which instantly make me think of death. These devices guide us through the narrative, and act as signifiers of important events. The animation explores memory, loss and emotion and through it’s movement is evocative of all these states.

A wonderful film, truly deserving of its critical acclaim. In my opinion, this is a fine addition to the animated documentary genre.

http://www.christheswiss.net/

 

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AniDox Lab – animadoc workshop in Denmark & Croatia 2013-2014

More exciting new animadoc events! Deadline 14th April.

‘AniDox Lab is the first ever workshop dedicated exclusively to the animated documentary genre.

‘Run by The Animation Workshop, Anidox Lab will offer talented documentary and animation filmmakers the opportunity to engage and combine their two worlds. It will tackle both a time-based cinematic approach, as well as digital platforms that allow for multiple story and timelines. The coaching seminars and collaborative workshops will be designed to progress from fine-tuning an initial idea, through narrative development, to a pitching session.

‘During a year and a half, over four seminars in Denmark and Croatia, the participants will be guided by experts in the fields of animation and documentary, with whom they will work together towards creating a solid basis for an animated documentary project.

Teaching language: English
Application deadline: March 15th 2013

Fee: 500 EUR, not including accommodation or living scholarship’

More info at:
http://www.animwork.dk/en/anidox_lab.asp