Animated cartoons on the up

Animated cartoons on the up

The cartoon, Cubed, by Enge Xue, was featured at the Cartoons Underground Festival 2018.

When Vicky Chen co-founded the animation festival Cartoons Underground in 2012 with Patrick Smith, they had a singular mission: to create a casual space where artists, directors and animated cartoon lovers could meet and share their love for the medium.

Six years on, their vision has proved successful. The festival, which features award-winning animation shorts by independent directors from Singapore and beyond, has become one of the largest animation showcases in Southeast Asia. Its call for submissions this year attracted more than 1,500 entries, up from three times last year.

The festival’s commitment to providing student animators a platform to meet and engage with members of the industry has also helped to grow the community and the reach of the festival.

Among the stand-out works shown at this year’s festival, says Chen, are Cubed by Singapore-based animator Enge Xue, a wry take on the rat race, What Has To Be by S. Rajaratnam, about a couple recovering from the loss of their firstborn, and Bigman Businessman by Clarissa Chua, about workplace struggles.

The three animated cartoons explore complex issues of loss, identity and purpose in under 10 minutes each, and they do so with pathos and beauty – no easy feat in a world drowning with content that is often visually appealing, but struggles to make a connection with the audience.

So, keep your eyes peeled for next year’s Cartoons Underground festival. Come for the craft and stay for the stories.


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