Cartoons not just for kids
Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, head to the Film Society if
you want your wares to be exhibited on Bowdon's campus. The Bowdoin Animation
Society wants animation that appeals to audiences who don't need a nite
light. The core of this group views adult-oriented animated films every
Friday at 8:00 p.m. in Cleveland 151. Fifty additional students frequent
the screenings more casually, but club officers seek an even larger membership
in order to broaden animation's appeal.
Club Treasurer Paul DeLuca '02 says that a common misconception
on the Bowdoin campus, not to mention in the United States, is that animation
is meant strictly for children.
"We have a large problem in this country with people
thinking that animation is exclusively a children's medium. It's only
very recently that people are trying to work around that [false impression],"
DeLuca cites the recently released Waking Life as
an example of an animated film that is geared towards an adult audience.
He is chagrined, however, that such a high-profile film is being shown
by the Film Society, which may have more clout.
Since its inception five years ago, the club has shown mostly
Japanese Animation, known as Animé. It shows animation meant for
both television and cinema; between four and nine television episodes
or up to two feature-length films may be shown in one evening.
In an effort to draw more members to the club, however,
a few American animated films have been shown. The Society exhibited Dreamworks'
The Prince of Egypt last year in coordination with the Bowdoin
Jewish Association in order to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Club
officers are hesitant to show many other American films because, they
believe, their quality doesn't match that of the films from Japan. DeLuca
says, "There is very little [in American animation] that is up to
the standards of the other stuff that we show." In addition, says
Club Manager Frank Skornia, many students have already been exposed to
American animation; the club aims, instead, to "bring something new
to the Bowdoin campus."
Skornia elaborates that the subject matter of Animé
is generally more profound than animation produced in United States, and
is therefore more appealing to a mature audience. "It's the quality
and the subject matter [that appeals to me]," he says. "[Animé]
tends to delve into some deeper items than [do]...American things. [Animé
is] not just for children." Skornia recalls a favorite animated film
that deals with the rebirth of a nation after an environmental disaster.
Other topics of films are linguistics, religion, philosophy and the search
for one's identity.
DeLuca and Skornia concur that the club must attain more visibility on the Bowdoin campus in order for students to gain exposure to the medium. DeLuca says, "Our main objective is to get more people to come down, look at some of the stuff and say, 'Hey, yeah, this isn't just for kids, this is something that normal people can enjoy.'"