20th Pictoplasma Festival

International Festival of Character Design and Art

This May, the Pictoplasma Berlin Festival celebrates 20 years of love for characters and their creators and once again becomes the international epicentre for artists, illustrators, filmmakers and designers creating the characters of tomorrow. The anniversary edition shines a spotlight on its Character Archives, looking back to when the project started as an online archive in the year 2000 – which led to best-selling book compilations and the ongoing festival – and reflecting on the practice of collecting, curating and promoting contemporary character design and art.

Panels, networking events and conversations connect attendees, industry reps, established artists and new talents. Workshops invite the international attendees to get hands on and unleash creative energy. Animation screenings present 65 animated shorts in four programmes. The central conference features 20 artists creating the characters of the hour, whose art is also showcased in the established Character Walk exhibition tour. For the first time, the conference lectures are streamed live to reach a global audience. With various performances and parties along the way, the celebration concludes in a central Character Market and Open House on the final day.


Animation screenings

The official animation section features 65 selected short films in four programmes. It showcases the latest and freshest generation of characters in motion, from narrative shorts, music visuals, experimental animation and anything in between – including the latest works by Elenor Kopka, Felipe Di Poi, Greg McLeod, Laser Days, Franz Impler and Zoe Medcraft. After an exclusive premier for conference attendees, all the films will be shown in one marathon screening for the general public at the concluding Sunday Open House.

Sunday, 5. May | 12.30 pm–5.30 pm
Free admission
Programme


Exhibitions

Four group exhibitions in Mitte and at silent green showcase work from featured conference speakers. At the central festival venue silent green and the adjunct transmediale studio, digital media installations by Peter The Roman, Sophie Koko Gate, Bora and Joseph Melhuish are on display. The creative technology company Soot from New York has created an immersive dive through the festival’s archives with 30,000 characters on display. Filmmakers Joe Bennett and Chris Rutledge present video works projected in 360° into the Kuppelhalle.

Friday, 3. – Sunday, 5. May | 3–8 pm
Monday, 6. – Tuesday, 7. Ma | 12 am–8 pm

Kuppelhalle, transmediale studios
Free admission


Live concert: Sophie Koko Gate + Bora

The multi-awarded films by Sophie Koko Gate lure viewers into their absurdist narration, highly sensual settings and grotesquely drawn characters. On this night, Sophie Koko Gate will sing live duets with characters from her latest film, Milk Bath, who will surround her in a caleidoscope. Second is queer performance artist Bora, who presents a transgressive mix of digital artefacts, installation, sonic exploration and costume in an immersive setting in the centre of the audience.

Thursday, May 2
Kuppelhalle
Doors: 8 pm / Start: 8.30 pm


Open House & Character Market

For the third year running, Pictoplasma welcomes everyone to conclude the festival at its Open House. A bustling Character Market invites the public to stock up on rare prints, affordable art editions, zines, sculptures and other lovingly produced items from all around the world – and meet their international makers. The festival's four-part animation programme is offered in full for a repeat (and final) viewing, recommended for viewers X+ (families and younger viewers allowed but advised). Creative programmes and workshops encourage visitors of all ages to meet and make together.

Sunday, 5. May | 12 pm–6 pm
Kuppelhalle, Betonhalle
Free admission


Conference & Featured Artists

The central conference is the meeting ground for 800 international creators, producers and talent scouts. It provides a platform for 20 international artists working across industries that include illustration, animation, design and interactive, urban and graphic arts. In focused lectures, the artists present personal strategies for the future of figurative aesthetics, sharing ideation processes and working methodologies.

Among the artists featured this year are Joe Bennett, LA-based animator and co-creator of the acclaimed adult science fiction drama Scavengers Reign, which featured on many top ten lists for best TV shows in 2023; BORA a French interdisciplinary queer artist who creates a universe where imagination is a form of activism; En Iwamura, a fine artist who draws on the philosophy of Ma and primarily works with ceramics in one of the remaining pottery centres of ancient Japan; Thai sculptor Parn Aniwat, who creates whimsical toys from chunks of timber under the @wood.youmind moniker; London-based 3D artist and animation director Joseph Melhuish, whose acid saturated, contorted, joyous characters have been embraced by the music industry, club nights, DJs and commercials;  Ariadna Galaz and Jorge Peralta of Los Calladitos, the Mexican duo whose murals and animation engage with communities and their legends.

The Character Lab is an exciting element of the conference, with many opportunities for the international attendees to get involved and shape the programme. Daily creative workshops will help channel inspiration and get hands-on with a multitude of materials and analogue media – this year includes wood carving (first-aid kits will be in place) and screen-printing using patterns made with LEGO blocks. The Character Lab also encourages collective art activities and creates a bustling marketplace atmosphere to encourage everyone to share their personal projects. And PechaKucha sessions provide attendees with the chance to present their projects themselves to an audience.

Thursday, 2. – 4. May | 10 am–8 pm
Programme and registration


Streaming

For the first time, all conference talks and animation screenings are streamed live to Pictoplasma’s global audience. Access to the broadcast comes as part of the all-new PictoPRO membership.

 

Pictoplasma Festival
Wednesday, May 1 – Sunday, May 5

Info + Tickets