Now in its twelfth year, the Seoul International Cartoon & Animation Festival--like many of the world's prominent animation film festivals--offers the blessed opportunity for animators as well as the general public to witness a phenomenally diverse slate of internationally produced items. The SICAF, established in 1995, received the formal recognition as an animation event from the Association International Du Film d'Animation in 2005. The 12th Annual Seoul International Cartoons & Animation Festival (May 21st – May 25th, 2008) is composed of four parts: the Cartoon and Animation Exhibition, the Animated Film Festival, the International Digital Cartoon Competition, and the SICAF Promotional Plan.
The Korean animation industry has grown immensely over the past few years but still retains the growing pains of a market in need of confident domestic investment for far-reaching, entertainment properties. Indeed a goal of the SICAF--and its Promotional Plan sector, in particular--is to raise the visibility of the regions talent, eliciting the strategic interests of the domestic and international power that be.
"Just like last year, the European countries continue at the high level, but we saw the remarkable progress being made by East Asian and South American countries," event programmer Choo Hye-jin states in an official press note.
"Good examples are Taiwan's Fly Out Blue, Argentina's The Mistakes and The Fear that successfully entered the final selection." She continues: "There are a range of feature films works form Spain, France, and Russia, offering a rare opportunity to enjoy less-watched films."
The opening film for the South Korean event is New York indie animator Bill Plympton's latest feature-length endeavour, Idiots & Angels (U.S.; 2008). The film, which tracks a man with no morals whom one day awakens to find that he has wings on his back, is a dark comedy about the man's battle for his soul. A tad different from the more eccentric themes of its creator, Idiots & Angels is nevertheless most assuredly a Plympton film.
With some three hundred world animation industry players and local political dignitaries, such as Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon at the opening ceremony, the 2008 SICAF will reportedly present 387 animated films from 36 countries during the event, while an accessible library equipped with approximately 1,000 comic books is to be set up.