Young people from across the Lothians and beyond are being encouraged to get creative and follow in the footsteps of a ‘SHOE’ in a new competition being launched tonight (1 November) by Edinburgh Museums & Galleries and Red Kite Animation.

Inspired by artist Qian Shi’s award-winning animated short film about a toy shoe, the ‘Hidden Stories’ animation competition is designed to celebrate Edinburgh’s rich heritage and the art of animation.

Budding animators have until 19 April to submit short films based upon either a real or imagined back story of an object of their choice, housed in one of Edinburgh’s Museums & Galleries.

The winners will be showcased in a red carpet screening ahead of next year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, on the Red Kite Animation and Scottish
Animation Network websites and in an exhibition in the City Art Centre.

SHOE was inspired by a visit to the Museum of Childhood in 2006 by the Chinese artist, Qian Shi, while she was studying for a bachelor degree in animation. She was so inspired by the Shoe Doll, which has been on display in the museum since the 1920s, that she made it the subject of her degree film. It went on to win the Best Student Film in the 2008 Bradford Animation Festival and a MX Award at the Tokyo Anime Fair in 2010.

Qian Shi will talk about her inspiration for SHOE at this evening’s launch in the City Art Centre.

She said: “The shoe-doll really impressed me; it was so different compared with any other doll I have ever seen in my life. There was a caption saying it was found in a London slum in 1905, and it really made me imagine the story behind it and the life of its owner.

“What I wanted to express through my film is what I felt when I saw the doll in the museum. It’s about us as human beings seeking happiness, loving each other in any living condition and, most of all, about hope.”

Cllr Richard Lewis, Convener of Culture & Leisure, said: “What a remarkable and moving film SHOE is – and what a pleasure to meet its creator, Qian Shi. I am sure the film, and the story behind it, will provide inspiration for young people to get involved and, of course, to pay a visit to one or more of our marvellous museums and galleries across the city.

“For the older aspiring animators, the competition is a fantastic opportunity to have their work seen by some of Scotland’s most esteemed animation professionals and, for younger animators, an opportunity to enjoy being creative and have fun with their classmates.”

Ken Anderson, Founder of Red Kite Animation and Chief Creative Officer of August Media, added: “We are thrilled to be presenting this exciting competition in partnership with Edinburgh Museums and Galleries. Red Kite are deeply committed to developing Scotland’s already thriving animation network. This competition provides an opportunity for our talented youngsters and illustrates the connection between Edinburgh’s creative industries and its history and culture.”

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