BilBOlbul International Comics Festival is a project curated by Hamelin Cultural Association dedicated to artists’ comics and the presentation of the work of great artists and young talent both from Italy and internationally. BilBOlbul was founded in Bologna in 2001 as a cultural initiative about comics with one year of activities. The experience and the network it created later gave way to the festival, which has been annual event since 2007.
In 2014 BilBOlbul International Comics Festival celebrates its 8th edition. This year the festival is at a new time of year (from 20 to 23 November 2014) and takes on a new look.
The primary transformation is the move towards a reflection on the changing world of publishing, specifically for comics. The festival will be a catalyst for reflection for people working in the sector as well as for young artists; it is in this way BilBOlbul remains faithful to its founding mission of bringing the best of Italian and world comics to the forefront of the conversation.
BilBOlbul 2014 presents a conference on the global publishing situation; most of all it concentrates on the need to educate young artists about these topics. Sezione LAB is dedicated to this new mission with round table conversations, workshops and portfolio reviews by top professionals. In order to underline the importance of investing in new artists and the cultural relevance of publishing the festival will promote diverse productions of exhibitions and books: Icinori, inspired by Bolognese naturalist Ulisse Aldrovandi’s water colors, will show at the Museum of Palazzo Poggi; Paper Resistance will lead a collaborative project in the galleries of the Anatomic Wax Museum of Bologna; independent publisher Teieria will curate a project by Roman Muradov (who will also have a solo show during the festival); Delebile will curate a conversation between Max De Radiguès and Charles Forsman; AkaB will guide us on a journey through the basement of the oldest Palazzo in Bologna.
This year, BilBOlbul, will enter into the city’s museum of contemporary art, MAMBO, with a new concept show. The exhibition will focus on one of the most important books of the last year, a book that must be brought to the public’s attention: L’intervista by Manuele Fior. Another high point of the 2014 festival is the anthological exhibition curated by Canicola through photographs examining the new German School (at the Music Museum); this show is curated by Squadro and shows Volker Pfüller as the leader of this movement.
BilBOlbul maintains is focus on the Italian production of comics for children and young adults which is still quite small; therefore the festival continues to look abroad and this year Anouk Ricard is the main artist, with her fun series Anna and Froga, the hope is to grab the attention of Italian publishers.
The festival closes with a market dedicated to international independent publishers who have been invited to BilBOlbul 2014.
The publishing industry has been facing hard times: always less readers, a structure besieged by the economic crisis and the virtual world.
But publishing continues to resist and, in fact, somehow manages to become stronger, utilizing new technologies and pushing boundaries: research, choice, organization, editing and multiple platforms remain important areas for cultural and artistic growth. But oftentimes these areas of interest and production are leaving actual publishing houses, which cannot always find economic gains in these enterprises.
It is within this context that BilBOlbul feels the need to look at these issues and investigate together into what they mean for the current situation, to understand where comics and comics publishing is headed, to study the problems and seek solutions for a new generation of publishers, editors and artists.
Beginning with the facts and analyzing information from the publishing world both domestically and internationally, the conference at BilBOlbul seeks to gain an understanding of the next steps that must be taken to remain economically viable without damaging the cultural value of the artists’ and publishers’ work. The hope is to find new ways of being publishers in the future.
BilBOlbul Kids is an initiative meant to bring children to the world of comics while creating a space for pedagogy through this medium, investing in young readers and promoting quality books for them to enjoy. The festival has organized interviews with authors and guided tours to students from Bologna and beyond to discover and deepen their understanding of the language of comics, from reading new work to taking to authors. There are also programs for educators on using comics and illustration as classroom tools, opening new pathways into art history, literature, history and reflections on our contemporary world where these young people live and grow. Drawing in general and comics in particular allow young people to develop a critical eye for the world around them and transfer these skills to other languages as well. For these programs BilBOlbul is available to create and organize projects with teachers from interested schools.
Anna et Froga ImageinAction
For the occasion of the BilBOlbul Festival Hamelin Associazione Culturale and the Cineteca di Bologna present a new space, dedicated entirely to children, at their size: ImageinAction, a site for education about permanent images (animation, cinema, reading, illustration, drawing, design and comics). A space designed and created for little ones, where they can experiment, see and play with still and moving images. A place where children and meet authors, illustrators and animators who will talk about the work they do, hold workshops and labs. During and after the festival ImageinAction will be a place to read, play, create and be immersed in the world of stories and comics. For its opening the space will welcome the world of the French author Anouk Ricard, filled with characters from her stories Anna and Froga, who will invade and transform the Cineteca. Here children can go into a new world and live in the stories in the first person, discovering characters on their own. They can also print their own ecological book, draw and animate stories invented together with authors at the festival.
With the support of the Comune di Bologna Gabinetto del Sindaco, U.I. Pari Opportunità and Tutela delle Differenze.
BBB Lab- Make Comics: master classes for young authors
For the occasion of the 8th edition of BilBOlBul a new section of the festival is dedicated to young professional and aspiring authors.
A series of round table discussions on various aspects of editorial work, including meetings with various publishers, open to the public to discuss problems in production, printing and financing projects.
Meeting Publishers- Portfolio Review
For anyone who aspires to make comics and illustrations professionally, BBB gives you the opportunity to have a professional opinion on your work and progress: three different publishers, different publishing situations, a unique occasion to talk about the professional world.
Five practical workshops during which participants can meet and work with some of today’s most important comic authors and illustrators, such as Manuel Fior, Roman Muradov and Icinori. The workshops is in collaboration with Ateliersì and Bottega Finzioni.
A moment for professional growth and development not to be missed by anyone working in illustration, comics, design or publishing.
BilBOlbul is part of Transbook, an Europa Creativa 2014/2020 project coordinated by Salon du livre et de la presse jeunesse (Francia) in partnership with Europäische Kinder- und Jugendbuchmesse Saarbrücken (Germania), Tantàgora (Spagna), Arts Basics for Children (Belgio), Nobrow Ltd (UK), Literárne informačné centrum (Slovacchia), Hamelin Associazione Culturale (Italia)