Trade in your Saturday morning cartoons for edgy Saturday night ones

Despite a name that seemingly alludes to an under-the-radar vibe and subterrestrial presence, Cartoons Underground is anything but. In fact, Southeast Asia’s first and largest animation festival grows in size and popularity each year, showcasing works of the most intelligent creatives—both local and international—in the animation business. Past events have seen the works of a senior animator of Walt Disney, plus films already on the global stage, screened at prestigous animation festivals like Bucheon and Zagreb Animafest; while others see their Asia debut at the festival.

Come Oct 27, the annual one-day event returns to Kult Kafe for its seventh edition. As with previous years, competition is stiff, so only 21 specially curated short films with the highest standards of story-telling have been selected, from over a total of 1,500 entries from 90 countries.

A lighthearted line-up of seven films make up the Different Worlds category, well-represented by directors from Argentina, Belgium, India, Puerto Rico, the US and more. Be transported through stories from all over the world, each infusing elements of fantasy with reality—such as Nik Summer #1, of a languid summer of misadventures directed by Oscar Aubry, Tom Goyon, Elie Martens and Heloise Solt. Or there's Pour 585Patrick Smith's rendition of a timid character with a winehead glass struggling and failing to break out of a hierarchy.


If you’d previously decided that animation can only transport you to a surreally happy place, Cartoons Underground begs to differ. In its A Word Please category, the festival digs deep with seven riveting commentaries about human society and its conditions; local entry Clarisse Chua's Bigman Businessman explores what it feels like to be professionally successful but trapped in a social limbo, while Enough by Anna Mantzaris tackles the loss of self-control within different urban settings, leading to self-destructive and antisocial behaviors.

But of course, swing by to support homegrown talents from NTU, LASALLE and 3dense Media School, whose stunning films will be vying for the title of the “Best Singapore Student Animation” in the festival's second Golden Durian Awards. The notorious dragon playground even features in one—Reminiscence by Zhen Ying Jie, in which a boy struggles to find his place and home in a rapidly developing city that leaves its past behind. 

Cartoons Underground 2018 takes place Oct 27 at kult kafe, 11 Upper Wilkie Rd. Tickets available here and more info here