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A pig's tale

(China Daily)

08:47, June 13, 2012

Chen Xifeng's 11-minute animation Pig Sale features Northwest China's geographical features and customs. Provided to China Daily

The award-winning cartoon Pig Sale by Chen Xifeng shows how Chinese animation is evolving to produce original and locally flavored animated films. Huang Yuli reports in Shenzhen.

The short animation Pig Sale won the open entries grand prize at the Tokyo Anime Award in March. The international award for unreleased animations was a first for China and producer Chen Xifeng. The 11-minute Pig Sale tells the story of a father taking his two sons to the market to sell a pig. It features Northwest China's geographical features and customs. It also won best animation at the China International Short Film Festival in May.

In Shenzhen, Chen tells China Daily the story behind the awards and of his 26 years in the animation industry.

"Pig Sale is my maiden work," says the 48-year-old from Gansu province, sitting in a bamboo chair in his living room.

His company, Feng Animation, has processed dozens of popular works, including the Fullmetal Alchemist and Mushishi. Even so, he says, Pig Sale, which he originated and directed, is his first original work.

Chen and his team started on the pig tale six years ago, after settling on a story by writer Jia Pingwa, commemorating his father.

Part of the story tells of Jia's dad taking him and his brother to the market to sell a pig during a time of food shortages in the 1960s. The pig, however, evacuated its bowels and didn't weigh enough, so they failed to sell it.

"This small anecdote attracted me," Chen says, with a loud laugh.

They adapted the story into a cheerful animation demonstrating not only the inner worlds of the little boy and the pig but also the larger life of people in the Northwest at that time. As such, there is local music, such as Xintianyou and Qinqiang Opera.

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