By Aimilios Charbis
“Talking about Greek animation abroad 20 years ago, people would have just laughed. Now we are making an effort to open up.”
Greek director, concept artist and screenwriter Angelos Rouvas recently spoke to Kathimerini about this very distinct genre and his efforts to set up www.greekanimation.com, the first detailed Internet database of Greek animation.
The smart and easy-to-navigate website contains information about most local productions, including the first, “Il Duce Narrates,” an anti-war short animation film made by Stamatis Polenakis which came out in 1945. The website also hosts the profiles of hundreds of filmmakers and film companies.
“We need a place where we can get together. In that sense, creating the site was a call to open up and rally our forces so that we could move forward. After all, given the absence of producers with an interest in animation in Greece, the only way is to forge co-productions and collaborations,” Rouvas says.
Unlike most ordinary filmmakers, animation artists tend to work in isolation, a characteristic that does little to help the site's cause. But there was no other way. “Our research showed that most creators cannot afford to make more than three movies,” Rouvas says. “So they either give up, or they seek to work abroad.”
At a time when Greek cinema is making waves internationally, local animation films barely register a ripple. Similar to documentaries, animation offers a great platform for projecting the hopes and concerns of modern man in a more direct manner than mainstream feature films. Using color and humor, they are often more successful at touching people emotionally.
And one more thing: Most animated films are made for kids, and it's a pity those that entertain our children are all made by foreigners.