Snapshots is a unique strand within the Manipulate Visual Theatre Festival at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. Showcasing short animated films from recent graduates from the Edinburgh College of Art animation programme, we are treated to a delightful short animation and a conversation between director/animator Vitalij Sichinava and animator/curator Iain Gardner.
Gardner has chosen a brilliant piece of animated fill-making, clearly taking an influence from Russian animation and Yuri Norstein in particular. The visuals are reminiscent of Norstein’s shorts ‘The Hedgehog in The Fog’ and ‘Heron and Crane’, however Sichinava has put his own stamp on this style, by creating a humorous story involving a stork who was an award winning Tea Party host. Now, however the stork is a washed up drunk, cut adrift and staggering hopelessly through a swamp.
Lavish watercolours and simple yet endearing character design, make the animation a joy to watch. The viewer is taken on a bizarre journey with the stork who is humorously voiced by Sichinava’s fellow Edinburgh College of Art graduate Ainslie Henderson (Director of I Am Tom Moody, also showing during Snapshots at the Manipulate Festival).
After the screening Gardner and Sichinava discussed the director’s Eastern European background and how he made his way to Edinburgh to study. We discover that Yorstien is an influence and actually had the pleasure of viewing Tea Party at a Russian Film Festival. Norstein, who is famous for being a harsh critic, gave positive comments which pleased Sichinava and rightfully so.
During the discussion we also discover that Sichinava enjoyed writing and illustrating stories when he was a youngster and continued to do so as he grew up. This passion is evident in Tea Party and will hopefully be evident in whatever the director does in the future.