Beer, Boxtrolls and Blackouts in Belgium!

Written on 10th March 2017.

ShortsTV was in Belgium last week for Anima, the Brussels International Animation Film Festival. While there, we spoke with International Jury Member and Director of ‘The Boxtrolls’, Graham Annable, about his animation masterclass.

For ShortsTV Producer/Director, Max Clendaniel, it was his second visit to Anima. We asked him to tell us about his experience of the festival and share his tips on how to make the most out of it…

Anima is an annual event celebrating the best animated shorts from Belgium and around the world.

When I found out this year was going to be its 36th edition I wasn’t surprised, as everything from the events to the way staff handle filmmakers and guests makes the festival an enjoyable and relaxed experience. I was looking forward to returning this year, as it’s one of those rare times when a work trip can also feel a bit like a holiday!

Everything was set up for an epic night. After my interview with ‘The Boxtrolls’ director, Graham Annable, my plan was to focus on a live animation event called ‘Plugged/Unplugged’, followed by a screening of the animated feature film ‘Seoul Station’ and a cheeky visit to the Delirium Bar – obviously, I couldn’t go to Belgium and not have a beer!

But a word of advice to anyone attending the festival…don’t make the same mistake I did and expect to do everything in one day! I had mapped out my entire night but was thrown a curveball when the entire Brussels area lost power, resulting in my night being cut short after my first interview!

Still, that didn’t mean I didn’t have fun. Despite the lack of power, the festival lived up to its reputation as a community-feeling festival, as the band carried on playing and I got to enjoy drinks with some of the filmmakers and staff. Oh, and there was also a crepe making bar! Every festival should have a crepe making bar.

If you’re a filmmaker, you’re bound to find it easy to connect with other animators at Anima. My only advice is that if you want to get the most out of this unique event then make sure you plan a minimum of two days to enjoy the variety of Belgian animations, studio backed films, events and community atmosphere on offer.

One other thing… be careful when booking an Airbnb in Brussels. This one time my host didn’t show up when I arrived late at night leading me to have to sleep on the couch of one of the festival staff’s daughters…but that’s a story for another time, perhaps over a Belgian beer? 

– Max Clendaniel, Senior Producer/Director at ShortsTV


Also published on Medium.

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