'Ponyo' opens Brussels cartoon festival

BRUSSELS — Sneak previews of “A Town Called Panic” and “Gaston Lagaffe” are promised at the Anima toon festival, which unspools Friday in Brussels.

“Panic” is a feature-length treatment of the stop-motion series created by Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier, continuing the misadventures of three plastic toy figures: Cowboy, Indian and Horse. Series plays on the Nicktoons Network in the States.

Feature is produced by La Parti and partners in France, Belgium and Luxembourg. International sales are handled by the Coproduction Office. Local release through Cineart is scheduled for June.

“Gaston Lagaffe” is the first animated adaptation of the cult comic series created in 1957 by Andre Franquin, featuring accident-prone slacker Gaston. Alexis Lavillat directs the series for Normaal in France, with Marsu Productions and pubcaster France 3 co-producing. Series will debut in Gaul this fall.

Festival guest Bill Plympton is also expected to present previously unseen work alongside recent feature “Idiots and Angels,” which competes with eight other features.

Other contenders include “Sita Sings the Blues” by Nina Paley and “Immigrants — L.A. Dolce Vita” by Gabor Csupo.

Anima opens with Hayao Miyazaki’s “Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea,” and includes competitions for Belgian and international shorts, plus animated ads and music vids.

Fest also nominates contenders for Europe’s Cartoon d’Or prize.

Winners are announced Feb. 28.

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