Israel's Animix Festival to Cover The Simpsons’ Jewish Roots, Hitler’s Success as an Artist

The festival of animation, comics and caricature at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque in August will highlight a discussion of the graphic novel, a meeting with the Simpsons’ screenwriter and some intriguing animated films.

A shocked Lisa Simpson, from the coming lecture of Mike Reiss.
Shay Charka

A discussion of the graphic novel, a meeting with one of the senior scriptwriters of the Simpsons and a tribute to the comics section of the children’s magazine Davar LeYeladim on its 80th anniversary will be among the highlights of Animix, a festival of animation, comics and caricature held every year at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque. This year it will open on August 2 and last for five days.

Mike Reiss, an American senior producer of the Simpsons, where he has been a writer for 21 years, will deliver two lectures. In the first he will talk about the yellow family’s visit to Israel and about Jewish motifs in the series, which is now celebrating its 30th year. In the second lecture he’ll talk about behind-the-scenes secrets at the Simpsons. In addition, Reiss, who has won four Emmy awards and a lifetime achievement award from the American Screen Writers Guild, will hold an artists’ meeting as the guest of Israel’s scriptwriters’ guild.

Another festival guest will be American comic book artist Klaus Janson, who has worked for 40 years with giant companies such as DC Comics and Marvel Comics. He drew many superheroes for these companies, including Spiderman, Batman, Superman and the Avengers. He also collaborated with Frank Miller in creating the Daredevil series as well as the acclaimed graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns.

The French publisher Nicholas Griebel, whose expertise is in discovering and promoting graphic novels in France, will also be in Israel, giving a lecture on the graphic novel.

A tribute to the 80th anniversary of Davar Rishon, the first magazine to publish comics in Hebrew, will include a panel discussion with the daughter of Davar LeYeladim’s editor Uriel Ofek and the curator of the Nahum Gutman museum, Monica Lavi. The panel will discuss the magazine, which for years made an effort to establish an illustrated reading culture, with contributions of illustrations by Nahum Gutman and cartoonist Arie Navon, as well as poet and novelist Lea Goldberg (who, together with Navon, created the pioneering comic strips Uri Muri and Uri Kaduri).

A work by Michel Kichka, lecturing on the history of the anti-Semitic cartoon.
Michel Kichka

Other interesting events will include a lecture by comic book artist Michel Kichka, who will speak about the history of the anti-Semitic caricature. An exhibition called the Illustrated Kaveret will follow the eponymous Israeli rock band over the years of its career, and the launching of a new album by Aya Korem called 2023, which is accompanied by a comic book created together with illustrator Gad Tash.

The festival will also feature a rich program for children.

Full-length animated films will also be screened at the festival. One will be “Hitler’s Folly,” a new film by independent animator Bill Plympton, in which he explores what would have happened had the fuehrer been accepted by the Vienna art academy and become a famous artist.

“Nuts!” a film by Penny Lane, describes the story of a strange genius who during the Great Depression in the United States in the 1930s finds success due to a treatment for impotence he discovers, transplanting the testicles of male goats into men suffering from this disorder.

“Slocum at sea with himself” is a new film by independent artists Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, based on the journal of a boatman who sailed around the world in 1985.

Another film is “Cockroach,” directed by Belgian Jan Bultheel, which takes place during World War I, following a world wrestling champion who discovers that his daughter had been raped by a German soldier, and joins the army to seek revenge.

An award will be given this year to director, animator and designer Tammy Bernstein, who designed the Baby television channel.