Roberto Genovesi, the artistic director of Italy’s Cartoons on the Bay festival, being held in Venice April 7-9, talks toon trends and what makes this 20-year-old event unique (cartoonsbay.com/en). Click here to see the newly announced Cartoons on the Bay 2016 official competition selection.
Animag: What is your aim in curating the Cartoons on the Bay festival?
Roberto Genovesi: Since 2009, my main goal has been to prove that animation is a language, not a product. A language that can be parsed in seemingly widely separated worlds. Cartoons on the Bay is the first European festival that opened the door to cross-media — a choice made when it seemed a heresy. The aim of the festival is to look beyond the horizon to see the future of animation.
Animag: Are there any big changes to the festival this year?
Genovesi: This year, the festival turns 20. To celebrate, we decided to establish the children’s prize, because kids are the main target audience of the festival and we need to know not only what the experts think, but what the audience thinks. We also have reintroduced the “Live-Action/Hybrid” category, and we have merged the “Teen” and “Young Adults” categories.
Animag: How do you pick the projects for competition?
Genovesi: We have seven categories. According to the festival regulations, we accept projects carried out over the last two years. We do not accept productions with racist or pornographic content.
Animag: Which screenings are you the most excited about?
Genovesi: I cannot answer this question — even though it’s natural to say, “the next one.”
Animag: What sort of trends are you seeing in this year’s submissions?
Genovesi: 3D and CGI are the most used techniques and, in some cases, the most abused. I think the choice of technique should depend not on trends but on what you want to communicate and who your audience is.
Animag: Are there any special guests lined up?
Genovesi: This year, we will have two gurus of audiovisual language: Richard Garriott, the father of online games, and Chris Vogler, the father of animation screenwriting. And, we anticipate the arrival of hundreds of students from all over Europe.
Animag: What makes Cartoons on the Bay an important event in the animation events calendar?
Genovesi: Because CotB’s task is to explore new animation paths and offer professionals a reliable picture of the evolution of this language to help them remain competitive in the market. In recent years, we have hosted gurus of animation, cross-media and videogames. You can listen to them for free — you do not pay to attend workshops because we are (Italy’s public broadcaster) RAI.
Animag: Personally, which film or show first inspired your love for animation?
Genovesi: The first was West & Soda by Bruno Bozzetto. The second was, obviously, Minions. But my favorite of all time is The Secret of NIMH by Don Bluth.
Animag: Do you have any predictions for the animation industry in the next few years?
Genovesi: A change not only in the techniques of realization, but also and above all in the script. A radical change in the concept of the project that puts creative vision and business on the same level. And then, the final and definitive expansion into other, contiguous worlds.
Responses have been edited for clarity of language.