New projects build on past achievements of school of animation
The past glory of the Chinese school of animation will continue with brand-new projects and plans released by the Shanghai Animation Film Studio, following the huge success of the animated film series "Yao-Chinese Folktales" earlier this year.
At Friday's memorial workshop paying tribute to the late Chinese animators Yan Dingxian and Lin Wenxiao, animation filmmakers, scholars and critics gathered to commemorate the artists and discuss the future of flourishing Chinese animation.
Creation for the second season of "Yao-Chinese Folktales" has started, aiming to develop the series into an influential, homegrown animated IP, based on vivid Chinese folktales about demons and monsters.
"Nobody," one of the first season's most popular episodes, telling the story of a cute pig monster will be adapted into a feature film.
The artist couple Yan and Lin made great contributions to the development of the Chinese school of animation, which is characterized by diverse traditional Chinese art forms and styles. "Yao-Chinese Folktales" debuted in January this year and was critically acclaimed as a revival effort of the Chinese school of animation.
Next year, the "See You, Snow Child" film will also complete its production, featuring rich elements of Chinese culture. The couple participated in the film's creation.
The school took shape in the 1950s and developed rapidly in the following decades with the emergence of many internationally acclaimed works such as "Proud General," "Baby Tadpoles Look for Their Mother" and "The Nine-Colored Deer."
These works drew inspiration from traditional Chinese cultures and arts like inkwash painting and operas, and impressed the world with their simple elegance and beauty.
However, the school started to decline in the 1990s with the influx of many Japanese and Hollywood animations.
To preserve and continue the past glories, Su Da, director of Shanghai Animation Film Studio, noted that they are preparing for the establishment of an art research institute of the Chinese school of animation.
The institute will cultivate many talented young animators to create cartoon images with distinctive Chinese characteristics, just like the efforts of Yan and Lin.
Yan and Lin contributed to many classic works that impressed and influenced generations of children in China.
They witnessed and participated in many of the "firsts" of Chinese animation, such as "The Monkey King," the first color animated feature film, "Baby Tadpoles Look for Their Mother," the first ink-wash animation, and "Prince Nezha's Triumph against Dragon King," the first widescreen animated feature film.
Famous Chinese animator Chang Guangxi, former director of Shanghai Animation Film Studio, recalled his 60 years of heartwarming relationship with the couple as their student and friend.
"Young animators should courageously move forward with innovations and recreate the brilliance of Chinese animation," said Chang.
In former interviews, Yan said that the desks of the studio's animators were all equipped with mirrors, which helped them study delicate facial expressions and body postures when designing the images for the school.
When creating images for "Buffalo Boy and the Flute," Lin spent a lot of time observing the performance of the flute artist Lu Chunling and recorded his elegant wrist movements in sketches to create vivid and trustworthy images in the animation.