article by Meaghan Alfonso for ArtsEarth
“GLAS Animation (GLobal Animation Syndicate) is a non-profit organization run by animators for animators.” The festival takes place every year in Berkeley, California and unites the animation community around the Bay Area. At this weekend long festival, there are many showings and events you can attend. They have animated shorts competitions, workshops, and meet-and-greets. Big-named studios, such as Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon, join the festival as well. It is a creative, fun-filled weekend full of animation gods and geeks. As an animator myself, I took one look at the festival schedule and I cried a little inside knowing that I wasn’t able to make certain shows. But enough about me! It is a great opportunity to attend if you are an animator, or just an appreciator of art. GLAS also does amazing things for independent animators and artists, such as providing grants! The GLAS festival is ultimately a wonderful place to network and experience different animation genres.
I attended the last day of the festival, which was a Sunday, and caught a couple events. I first watched the artwork of Mathieu Labaye and Camera-etc. Camera-ect is a non-profit Belgian workshop where animation professionals help children, teens, and adults make animated shorts. I was lucky to catch some of Labaye’s reel of animated shorts that were conceptually stunning. “Le Labyrinthe” is one of the shorts that genuinely grabbed my attention. I wasn’t sure if the film caught my eye because it was rotoscoped, or if the sound and creepiness of it all made me feel likably a certain way. There are parts that you can relate to as a person, such as being bored in a room alone. But the film takes place in a jail cell, which would probably make a person go crazy. Labaye shows how a person’s mind might be when you are stuck in a cell for a long period of time. The film starts off with a drawing of a labyrinth that resembles the shape of a brain. It then cuts to the main character (a man), who is stuck in this cell. The film is rendered in black and white, which added a more dramatic feel than it already had. This film also displays the feeling of where the mind drifts when it is bored. I feel that most of Labaye’s films get you sucked into this hypnosis, and transports you into his mind. There is a great deal of meaning and story behind his work.
After the remarkable work of Mathieu Labaye came Brad Bird, who joined The GLAS Animation Festival for a Q&A. Some people may know Bird as a screenwriter, animator, or producer. To most, he is known as the director to highly acclaimed animated films such as ‘The Iron Giant’ and ‘Ratatouille’. And, if you didn’t already know, he was the voice actor for Edna Mode in ‘The Incredibles’(another movie he also directed, by the way). But if he isn’t incredible himself already, you will scream when you find out that Brad started training as an animator at 14 years old under Milt Kahl, one of Disney’s Nine Old Men. If you ever get to meet Brad Bird in person, he will not disappoint you. He is as entertaining as his movies, and that’s a fact. His humorous personality just goes to show that he is perfect for animation and film, and I would be sad if he didn’t do anything but. Bird made the audience laugh so many times that I thought I was watching a comedy stand up, but he is not all just laughs and giggles. He is a successful director who makes great movies that we all love and appreciate.
From Mathieu Labaye’s work to meeting Brad Bird, It was an honor to have been in such a creative atmosphere. Every year the GLAS Animation Festival has a great amount of different events to attend. You won’t want to miss it next year, in 2018!