You won’t find your average Saturday morning cartoons at Animation Block Party. At this four-day Brooklyn festival the art form is celebrated with screenings from around the world, and includes showings of everything from experimental independent shorts to beloved classic full-length features.
For this year’s 15th annual edition, the East Coast’s biggest animation festival is pulling out all the stops with its programming.
The festivities begin on Thursday with the free opening night party at Littlefield (635 Sackett St., Gowanus), where ticket-holders can enjoy screenings of an exclusive Pingu the Penguin cartoon as well as new shows from DreamWorks TV.
There will also be a performance from “Picture This!” — a popular comedy show that features comics like Josh Sharp, Aaron Jackson and Sandy Honig telling hilarious stories as talented artists animate the tales in real time.
Bring your sweet tooth — My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream will be serving up tasty treats.
The rest of the festival is hosted at BAM Rose Cinemas (30 Lafayette Ave., Fort Greene). Among this year’s highlights is the New York City premiere of “MFKZ” (Friday at 9 p.m.), a funny over-the-top 2017 French film that mashes up manga, comic book and hip-hop genres for a wild ride.
There’s also a 30th anniversary screening of “Akira” (Saturday at 9 p.m.), director Katsuhiro Otomo’s highly-influential cyberpunk feature-length animé, based on the manga of the same name.
Perhaps one of the most eye-opening experiences of the festival is the incredible shorts, which represent an array of animation styles and narrative techniques.
These films, which typically run between two and 10 minutes, are curated into programming blocks to pique various fans’ interests.
For innovative storytelling methods, check out the Students Films and Independent Animators block (Friday at 4:30 p.m.); be transported to another land with International Shorts (Friday at 7 p.m.); feel inspired by the women breaking into the male-dominated industry with Female Animators (Saturday at 7 p.m.); or support local artists with Narrative Works, Studio Shorts, and Local Films (Sunday at 4:30 p.m.).
While much of the festival’s offerings are geared more toward an older cartoon-loving audience, there’s plenty of programming for the whole family as well. During the Animation for Kids block (Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.), viewers of all ages can enjoy shorts about fantastical creatures, friendly critters and more.
Children can also see the characters from their favorite game hit the big screen with a showing of 2003’s “Pokémon Heroes,” or brush up on their film history with a screening of 1967’s spooky stop-motion animated featured “Mad Monster Party” (Friday at 2 p.m.).