Anifest 2014 was a three-day festival in Yau Ma Tei which showcased some of the best animation from around the world. We sent our junior reporters to the festival for a screening of French film Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants and the chance to try out some flip-book animation for themselves. Anifest 2014 was organised by the cable TV channel, MOViE MOViE.
Spreading her wings
Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants is truly a film for everyone. For one, there is no language barrier because the film has no dialogue - only a succession of squeaks, whistles and chattering from the insect characters. The whole world can enjoy it!
Strangely, you become attached to the insects precisely because you can't understand them. You are forced to watch their actions closely, and you soon begin to feel empathy for them.
The journey begins when a small ladybird gets separated from her family, losing a wing in the process. She takes refuge in a box of sugar and is found by a group of ants who take her on an incredible adventure.
The film places a lot of focus on nature's beauty, but the plot has it all: humour, conflict, tension, suspense and romance. Minuscule creates a complex yet simple world where everything comes together perfectly.
Watching the lone ladybird struggle, grow and then literally "find her wings" takes the viewer on a journey of their own. Combined with a perfect score and stunning visuals, this is a must-see film.
Bringing pictures to life
Flip-books are the earliest form of animation, and it was exciting to explore this traditional method which gave rise to the 3D animated movies we watch today.
Compared to what professional animators do these days, making a flip-book animation out of a notebook should be easy. But it didn't seem like it!
The concept was perfectly simple: draw a lot of very similar cartoons and flip through the book to watch them come to life. Easier said than done, as it turned out.
My four-second animation comprised nine images. Yet in a professional animation, there are about 24 images every second. It really made me appreciate the gruelling work that goes into a short animation.
It was also thrilling to see my animation in action. It was almost magical, as though I had the power to bring something to life with my fingertips.
The Flip-book workshop was the perfect way to learn about this art form. It also taught me the importance of paying attention to detail; my hastily drawn stick man seemed to change size as he danced in each frame. I should have been more careful to make sure he was the same size every time I drew him.
Still, the whole thing was an eye-opening experience and I look forward to creating more flip-book animations in the future.