FEATURE: Animation

France is a world leader when it comes to animation.

It's no coincidence that our review of the best animation around soon transformed itself into a French special. France continues to nurture excellent animation directors, partly due to the Paris-based animation school Supinfocom. Almost all the directors featured here are graduates of the school.

A recurring theme on this year's Supinfocom graduate reel is the post-apocalyptic world. In 'Faux Pli', directed by final-year students Francois Xavier Lepeintre, Antoine Arditti and Audrey Delpuech, the ground no longer exists and everything is suspended from threads. The directors have created an Orwellian nightmare, where people are part of a machine, their physical shapes flattened into 2D forms. Despite the bleak subject, the film is absorbing and beautifully crafted.

'Au Bout Du Fil', directed by final-year students Jerome Decock, Cecile Detez de la Dreve, Olivier Laneres and Melina Milcent, features a man plunged into an eternal nightmare. It excels in sound and disturbing imagery.

Our animation special also features highlights from IDOG, an animation show set up by Wanda Productions two years ago. The aim is to help agencies, record companies and TV channels source new talent in animation and production.

After rave responses from Paris cinema-going audiences, IDOG was screened at London's Curzon, Soho last month. Here, we present our pick of the best from this year's reel.

'Trick or Treat', a Hallowe'en tale of two children who terrorise their neighbours, stands out for its strong characters and voiceovers. The directors are Supinfocom alumni Candice Clemencet and Jean Dominique Fieuet.

'Si Je T'Attrape' is directed by another Supinfocom graduate team, Nicolas Brack, Robin Deledique and Vincent Fiere. This moving piece - the trio's first film - is about a gingerbread man who comes to life. It is packed with inventive ideas, slick effects and stunning images.

'Panique a la Cuisine', shot by the collective Partie, is a hilarious French version of cowboys and Indians, where the horse is boss.

With animation becoming increasingly popular in all areas of filmmaking, including commercials and promos, maybe its time for other educational institutions to emulate Supinfocom's ability to turn out so many strong animators.

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