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Three CG films you HAVE to see at Cardiff Animation Festival

Originally posted on

Guest Blog from Dani Abram, an animator with over a decade’s experience who is playing a key role in the organisation of the inaugural Cardiff Animation Festival. Dani picks out the best from the rest so that you don't have to. Over to you Dani!

I have a love/hate relationship with CG Animation. I say that as a trained and experienced CG animator, having studied Maya during my 3D Computer Animation undergraduate degree in Swansea, and having worked in the animation industry in the 10 years since. I have worked on countless CG projects during my career: some huge, some not so huge. I have tasted the sweetness of a practically perfect pipeline and I’ve drowned in the bitterness of a failed one.

And I’m not alone! Although my experience is unique to me, I share a common perception with audiences from all over the world that, when it comes to that computer generated style, we sure know what we hate!

I am a co-organiser of the upcoming Cardiff Animation Festival (CAF), and part of the team that runs Cardiff Animation Nights. I am also a regular animation festival attendee and I get to see an awful lot of animated short films. I love and appreciate the energy of an independent animator: enduring the experience of making a short film from scratch, often for tiny budgets, and against all the odds. So I wanted to celebrate some of the fantastic and stylistically diverse CG entries we are showing at CAF. There’s a place in my heart reserved for this computer-based medium, and whenever I come across one that challenges what I currently think about CG, or uses it in a unique and interesting way, or ultimately inspires me to let go of my analytical nature and lose myself in the story, that is worth writing about!


Director: Bastiaan Schravendeel

I have never watched a film that has made me emote with a Rubik’s Cube more in my whole life, and I’m 32! When Esra misses her train late one evening, a discarded, living vintage toy tries to get her attention in an attempt to get solved.

The style is a lovely and soft example of toon-shaded CG, with an almost pencil crayon quality to the overall frame. The setting is simple: a lonely underground platform edge, an economic technique I always admire in filmmaking. Esra is gorgeously stylised with soft hand-drawn quality evident in her facial design. But, unquestionably, the film is stolen by the sweet performance of the anthropomorphic Rubik’s Cube. Technical rigging achievements aside, this cube has so much, well… character! I challenge anyone not to fall in love with it.

When? Showing as part of our Family Programme of Shorts on Saturday 20th 3:00pm

Where? Cardiff Animation Festival, Chapter.

The Box

Director: Dusan Kastelic

The Box is a claustrophobic tale about life inside a box. The box is full to the brim with weird, little, flat-headed inhabitants who like it just the way it is! Until, one day, a new inmate arrives with a positively sunny attitude and life inside the box grows unbearable for all.

This is a creepy and disturbing addition to CAF’s Close Quarters Programme and a fabulous example of CG at its best. While the film is infuriating in its pacing, which I think echoes the experience of the inhabitants and is wholly on purpose, it is gorgeously designed and incredibly beautiful to look at. I researched this film as soon as I watched it and was pleasantly surprised to find it was made entirely with Blender, an open source CG animation package available to everyone! I definitely recommend this film as an example of what can be achieved with a small team, a tiny budget, and pure artistic will!

When? Showing as part of our Close Quarters Programme of Shorts, Friday 20th at 1pm and Saturday 21st at 6:30pm

Where? Cardiff Animation Festival, Chapter.


Director: Nikita Diakur

An ugly cat struggles to coexist in a fragmented and broken world, eventually finding a soulmate in a mystical chief. Ugly is kind of beautiful, in the most anarchic way. It plays with CG as a tool with the world and characters breaking all the laws of physics and more. It embraces faults and errors; the team even implementing Playstation controllers to animate with!

It’s a difficult watch; the ugly cat suffers at the hands of the grotesque ‘human’ characters that populate this hideous reality. The animation style does nothing to ease your fears that everything is not going to be ok; it is a peculiar blend of realism and physical disprepair. The world often loses its colourful veneer and shows the audience it’s seedy CG underbelly: complete with wireframes and visible controllers! As horrible as this film is, it’s equally brilliant. I felt genuine feelings, which is no small feat in the world of short animated films. I’d be so interested to hear what others think!

When? Showing as part of our Uncanny Valley Programme of Shorts, Friday 20th 9:45pm and Saturday 21st 8:30pm

Where? Cardiff Animation Festival, Chapter.

We have some amazing themed programmes of short animated films screening as part of Cardiff Animation Festival. Of the nearly 500 that were submitted, we have chosen a whopping 99 to compete for our awards:

- Best Animated Short Film

- Best Student Short Film

- Audience Award, chosen by YOU. We cannot wait for you to see them!

Cardiff Animation Festival 2018 will run from Thursday 19th to Sunday 22nd April at Chapter, an independent arts hub and cinema space in the heart of Cardiff, as well as other venues across the capital.

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