Switzerland Fumetto Comics Festival Reporton April 15, 2014 at 4:19 am
For those of you wondering why there hasn’t been a blog post here in a while, it’s because I’ve been out of the country. I thought about filing a report from Luzern but for whatever reason my hotel limited me to 1 hour of internet access per day. Also if you are in Luzern, do not stay at the Alpha Hotel.
To make a long story short, I was invited to the Fumetto International Comics Festival in Luzern Switzerland to speak with a panel on the subject of motion comics. Maybe I made that story too short, because even as I write that sentence, I realize it makes no sense. To explain a little more especially for folks who have never been to a European comics festival, they’re quite a different beast from their American comic convention counterparts. Instead of being set in one convention hall, European comics festivals are composed of a collection of galleries, exhibitions, installation pieces and booths scattered around a city center. Obviously European geography with its medieval walkable cities lends itself to this style of festival in a way that would be difficult to pull off in LA for example.
Another difference is the amount of government arts funding that are poured into these events. Given that the festival flew in and provided lodging and food for 3 Americans, an Australian, a Dutch guy and 2 more local cartoonists from Geneva, I was expecting something more akin to a Ted talk or Hall H. But there were less than 50 people in that room! How can this be sustainable!? Well I guess it’s not my job to question these things. If the Swiss taxpayers choose to support and celebrate arts and artists instead of buying aircraft carriers who am I to object? In fact the Dutch guy mentioned previously, told me he was loving the Fumetto festival and appreciated how much less commercial it was to Angouleme (I wonder what he’d think if he ever went to comic-con).
As for the talk itself, it was one of the most inspiring and exhilarating panels I’ve been on. The festival had basically managed to collect a group of folks on the leading edge of interactive comics (or “motion comics”) from around the world, gather them in one room and let us go at it with presentations, discussions, and Q&A for 3 hours (with 2 intermissions). As a person who makes interactive comics, it’s often frustrating how few other cartoonists there are in my field. Getting so many of us into one spot was a really bonding experience for me. We ended up hanging out a lot outside the panel, taking day trips to Berne, hanging out till 1:00am eating Swiss pasta and of course… karaoke.
In terms of the panel itself and interactive comics in general, that’s a larger subject for another post. In the meantime, I’d encourage anyone here interested in the subject to check out my fellow panelist’s works…