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For four days (March 21-24), Glas Animation will take over Downtown Berkeley with mixers, guest speakers, and films aplenty. Bringing together the full spectrum of viewers, from the casual animation fan to art students, to local and international animation professionals, Glas Animation Festival has become the place for independent animators to come out of their studio caves and find their tribe.

The Berkeley festival, which first started in 2014, and received over 3,400 submissions this year, and is one of the best (and only) opportunities for animators to get their work in front of a general Bay Area audience. Brimming with CalArts alumni, and representatives from Nickelodeon and Netflix making their rounds, it is hard to not notice the nervous energy and excitement that buzzes throughout Shattuck Cinemas, down into David Brower Center, and into the nearby gathering hubs.

As Glas organizers describe it, one of the reasons they wanted to create a platform for Independent animation is that “it’s an important part of the art and filmmaking community that has been, in the United States, greatly overlooked. Providing a platform to showcase these underrepresented works is important as it enriches the American cultural landscape in a way that is new, fresh, and different...By creating a space for a diverse community of artists and enthusiasts to discuss and share new ideas, we are able to fulfill our mission to cultivate and promote the art and science of animation.”

Check out their schedule for a full list of shows. And here are five programs to get you in the groove.

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Christy Karacas Talk

Friday, March 22, 1:45pm | David Brower Center

Do you remember that TV show SUPERJAIL! on Adult Swim, with its scenes filled to the brim with trippy scenes and over-the-top characters? If not, fix that ASAP. Christy Karacas was the creative force behind the series, and also worked as a background designer for MTV’s Daria. Catch Karacas’ talk will outline his career path in animation followed by a Q&A sesh. And as Glas adds, “There might also be some rare treats thrown in for you to see.” We’re not sure what that means, but it’s bound to be cool.

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Shorts Competitions

Multiple listings, March 21-24

The Shorts Competitions are where you’ll really get a full plate—a chance to really overload your brain on a strange and colorful mix of animation. While spoon-fed to some degree–these are part of a curated, and carefully selected group of films after all–you are sure to get a diverse mix of styles and approaches to animation. And don’t forget, just because they’re shorts don’t mean they’re not mighty!

British Animation in the 80s

Thursday, March 21, 5pm |

Saturday, March 23, 3pm | Shattuck 4

From MTV bumpers to the blingy aesthetics of the time, the 80s produced some memorable animation. Starting with the early, radical days of Britain's Channel 4 Television, to big budget commercials, this was an innovative and bright time for British artists looking to find their spot in the world of music videos, TV ads, and independent films.

British Animation in the 90s

Friday, March 22, 10:30pm | Shattuck 2

Sunday, March 24, 5pm

If the 80s were a budding period for animation, the 90s was when it flowered for all to see. During the time of Disney and Pixar’s rise, in the world of UK animation, Aardman was gaining attention at home and abroad with the likes of Academy Award winning Creature Comforts (1991), and the Wallace and Grommit films becoming a household name in the 90s. Check out this selection of films, curated by irene Kotlarz, for a sampling of this era.

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Koji Yamamura Retrospective

Friday, March 22, 5pm | Shattuck 2

Sunday, March 24, 1:45pm | David Brower Center

Koji Yamamura is a well-respected Japanese animator. His down-to-earth nature and persistence, which eventually leads to his success, as captured in this endearing docu-feature, is a story that could be quite energizing to emerging animators. Difficult to pin down, Glas Animation poetically describes his work this way: “These films depict life in an inky smear between light and dark: an unclear blend of good and evil that makes every slow frame feel filled with a touch of both life and death...Yamamura's work foregrounds the importance of independent animation in a field of advertisements, music videos, and commercial storytelling - these are animated films serving the human condition above all else.” Take in Yamamura’s unique animations in this retrospective, and stick around for the Q&A.

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