Distinctly Honolulu: The First Cultural Animation Film Festival

Cartoons once dismissed as filler or just for laughs, are big business now.  Animations can shape our view of the world and now, hand in hand with virtual reality and digital gaming, animations are being used to preserve and perpetuate traditional culture.  HPR’s Noe Tanigawa reports.

What could be the world’s first Cultural Animation Film Festival happens at the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum of Art, May 20 through 24, including special programming on May 21st , 2017, Family Sunday.  

Worldwide, Frozen tops the box office list—it has grossed 1,274,235,000 since 2013.  Minions, then Toy Story 3 are next.  The Boss Baby is the highest grossing animation of 2017 so far, at $444 million worldwide.  Only one animation from the 20th century is in the top ten:  The Lion King, 1994, rates number six at 987 million gross worldwide.   These represent a tiny fraction of all animations that are produced every year, many with very different objectives.

Taylour Chang is director of the Doris Duke Theatre at the Honolulu Museum:  We have many film festivals throughout the year but it is the first time we’ve had a festival that’s solely dedicated to animation.  And we’re really proud to have this festival specifically focus on cultural representation in animation, which is in itself, its own unique genre.  It brings up representation in film, which has been sort of a hot topic, especially after the release of Moana recently.  People have been hungry to address what it means to represent culture and animation as an esthetic. 

Chang:  First off, animation is captured from the mind of the artist.  That in and of itself offers this very limitless landscape for how to tackle representation, particularly representation of different cultures.   We have been conditioned through western animation…

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