South Beach Goes to the Toons

A steady stream of characters join film festival of the animated variety

We’ve got a film festival for gays and lesbians. We have one for the international crowd. We have one for women, one for shorts, one for black Americans, even one for underground films. And let us not forget the one for cartoons, because cartoon characters (and more importantly, the people who draw them) need recognition, too.

The South Beach International Animation Film Festival hits the beach March 26 through 29 and brings along with it a host of characters. From art exhibitions to hands-on demonstrations, there’s a little something for the Saturday morning cartoon lover in all of us. (Whatever happened to Saturday morning cartoons, anyway?)

The festival, which hands out gold, silver and bronze flamingo-shaped awards to its best animators, is drawing in the likes of Bill Plympton, an Oscar-nominated cartoonist whose work is featured in “Playboy” and whose shorts you’ve probably seen on MTV. Legendary artist John Canemaker (“The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation”) is also set to speak about his life and times as an Oscar-winning animator.

If you’ve never heard of the previously mentioned artists, maybe it’s time to expand your cartoon repertoire beyond Matt Groening and Seth MacFarland. You know Stewie’s jokes are getting old anyway. Look for the festival to show films, and instead of downloading them illegally on the Web, just get a ticket and invite your friends. It’s for a good cause and Bart would be proud

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