Robert Morgan’s work shows the true art of animated horror – scared stiff by the odd-shaped characters, you shield your eyes from the stop-motion spilled blood. In June you can see every Robert Morgan film – and meet him in person at a masterclass! Fest Anča will welcome him as a grand jury member and presenter of his films.
The 42-year-old British filmmaker first came to public attention with The Cat with Hands (2001), in which he drew inspiration from the nightmares his sister had as a child. Numerous film critics have deemed it a must-see for anyone aspiring to make a horror film – for what he is and isn’t doing. And you won’t find the typical horror clichés in his work – your guesses of plot twist and turn will run up blind alleys…
Morgan – influenced by Francis Bacon, Edgar Allan Poe, the Quay brothers and David Lynch – has created animated films that resemble disorientated journeys to the human subconscious. A dream where anything can happen at any time so every second is a surprise. Films like The Separation (2003) that won a prestigious BAFTA Award (British Academy of Film and Television Arts).
“Morgan’s forte is that his films go beyond the fear and blood typical of the horror label,” observes festival director Maroš Brojo. “He’s excellent working with the simplest emotions, for example the need for sibling closeness in The Separation, which is a beautiful and sad story that surreptitiously escalates. Viewers’ stomachs knot up in the best sense. We simultaneously love and fear its heroes.”
The same applies to Morgan’s follow-up Bobby Yeah (2011) that intricately navigates the range of viewers’ emotions. It received numerous BAFTA nominations and was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the renowned Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. Reviews described it as an animated twisted miracle, and despite the realistic feel of its distorted puppets, Morgan has once again created a metaphor for our greedy self-destructive curiosity.
“Stop-motion animation is a unique irreplaceable art form,” says Morgan. An observation that particularly applies to his own extraordinarily artistic crafting of stage set and puppets in the finest aesthetic and motion detail. Characters are gifted almost perfect life-like gestures and naturalistic treatment – resplendent in light reflections, blisters, body fluids, and close-up-and-personal anatomy. Fest Anča will showcase the immortality of film puppetry at screenings of Robert Morgan’s filmography, and during his masterclass.
The tenth Fest Anča International Animation Festival will take place from 29 June till 2 July in Žilina, Slovakia. Screenings at the Stanica Cultural Centre Puppet Theatre, New Synagogue, City Theatre, and open-air at Andrej Hlinka Square. The Festival is financially supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund.