By Juan Cavillo
Iranian animators’ projects are the highlight of East Los Angeles College’s 7th Annual Animation Film Festival Iranian Animation Day, on Saturday.
The ELAC Art Department in conjunction with Cinema Without Borders and Cinema Without Borders Foundation will host the event in the S1 building on the ELAC campus from 12:30 p.m. to 4.
The founder of Cinema Without Borders, Bijan Tehrani said when it comes to the Iranian projects shown, there were limitations and financial problems that emerged throughout production.
He said despite these issues it’s the quality of the final projects that shine through.
Tehrani said the films shown should help students see that good animation comes from quality storytelling and hard work put into the project.
He said that’s what creates quality animation and film.
Michael Libonati, animation professor in the Art Department, said working in animation takes both technical and art skills. He said these skills can be refined by students in the Art Department, but when it comes to good filmmaking, it was about what was being told on screen.
He said the films shown in the festival have the distinction of being good at doing just that.
“The most important aspect of the films seen in the festival is the ability of the artists to tell a story. Story is key to the work and informs the animation,” Libonati said.
Much like Tehrani, Libonati said students should come away being able to embrace unique storytelling.
He said stories and folktales told in a perspective that is totally different from the one students have here in the United States show students different styles of creativity.
The festival will screen multiple short animation films from the past two decades and feature two established animators and their works.
In the spotlight section of the afternoon, a screening of animator Bahram Azimi’s film “The Sixth String” will play.
This is followed by a tribute to a legend for Ali Akbar Sadeghi.
Tehrani said Sadeghi used an art style for his movie “Flower Storm” called Persian miniature.
This style is used across many different countries and has been used for many centuries.
Tehrani said as the style crossed into each different country it inspired their own “miniature” style.
Tehrani said this art style is brought to life in Sadeghi’s animation and was one of the reasons he was chosen for the tribute.
Many of the films that Azimi works on are done alone.
Tehrani said everything from modeling, designs and storyboards are done Azimi.
He said as interest in Azimi’s work increased, Azimi had to start looking for help.
Tehrani said in contrast to Sadeghi’s art-painting style of animation, Azimi focused on 3D digital animation.
Azimi’s film, “The Sixth String,” tells the story of an older musician who creates new music by adding a sixth string to the string instrument called a setar.
“It becomes like a revolution, first. A lot of People are against him but they start to admire him for his work. His name was Darvish Khan, a very famous musician from Iran. And this (“The Sixth String”) is based on his life and his work,” Tehrani said.
The festival will feature animation short films that include:
“Hajar’S Wedding” (2008) by Mahin Javaherian
“The Tree” (2014) by Sare Shafipour
“When I was a Child” (2014) by Maryam Kashkoolinia
“The Switchman” (2016) by Mehdi Khoramian
“The Fox” (2017) by Sadegh Javadi
“Am I a Wolf?” (2019) by Amir Houshang Moein
“Malakout” (2019) by Farnoush Abedi
“Gone” (2019) by Samaneh Asadi
“The White Whale” (2020) by Amir Mehran
Tehrani said every animated film is about time investment and creation of the elements of the story and characters.
He said the films that will screen show what can be created through hard work and art from a single person.
This again reinforces the idea of how much can be done when thought is put into a project.
“The whole idea that we put this series together for international animation day was to show to our students how much they can work to make very exceptional and good animation,” Tehrani said.
Libonati said when students work on projects at ELAC, they are working to create a portfolio of works.
Taking inspiration from international works can inspire students to make amazing new pieces of animation.
Tehrani said it’s what employers look for from animators. Students can take advantage of the festival and use it to continue their learning.
Alberto Gonzalez, a second-year ELAC student in the Art Department, said the festival gives students a chance to really experience and learn from the animation presented.
Gonzalez is working at the event on Saturday.
He said ELAC teaches students the science behind animation.
Gonzalez said he hopes to learn what goes on behind the animation and learn how other animators’ stories and histories make what they animate into unique pieces of art.
For more information visit: https://www.cinemawithoutborders.com/iranian-animation-day-elac/. To reserve tickets for the event email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The 7th Annual International Film Festival, Iranian Animation Day begins at 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.