World Festival of Animated Film /
World Festival of Animated Film / 1972.
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From 2 to 7 June, in the Europa and Movieplex theatres in Zagreb, 10 outstanding animated feature- length films will be competing for the Grand Prix of Animafest.

A rich showcase of the world animation production in the World Panorama, late-night screenings and other side festival programmes

Film treats for children and adults: a retrospective of renowned French auteur Michel Ocelot, the winner of the Animafest Grand Prix in 2007.

Krešimir Zimonić, Artistic Director of Animafest - the World Festival of Animated Film in Zagreb, had a difficult task of selecting 10 feature-length animated films out of 42 submitted films, coming from 24 countries, which will be competing for the official festival prizes in the Grand Competition.

Mr Zimonić explains his selection: “The Grand Competition Programme includes outstanding films which have met high criteria of Animafest. First and foremost, we have placed great emphasis on the authorial, original work, on the films that do not succumb to any current trends but offer a new and inventive approach to animation.”

The Festival will be held from 2 to 7 June in the Europa and Movieplex theatres, and in addition to the attractive Grand Competition Programme, Animafest promises exciting late-night screenings of animated films with “offbeat” stories, the World Panorama of recent animation, as well as the rich film programme and workshops for children. The details on the side programme will soon be released on our new web page: www.animafest.hr.  

The films in competition vary greatly as regards their subject matter; they range from the films that are suitable for children to those animated films having slightly more serious approach, intended for the more demanding adult audience. Even though Mia and Migou (Rémy-Girerd, France, 2008) and The Secret of Kells (Moore/Twomey, France/Ireland/Belgium, 2009) are certainly films for children concerning their simplicity of plot, but their execution is of interest to adult animation connoisseurs. Sita Sings the Blues (Paley, USA, 2008) is a technically very innovative film that was awarded the Cristal Grand Prix for best feature at the Annecy Animated Film Festival. An entertaining and touching vision of the Indian epic Ramayana, told from a female perspective, in parallel showing personal elements of the author’s painful divorce. Musical episodes in the film are the recordings performed by Annette Hanshaw, a jazz singer from the 1920s that perfectly go together with collaged, offbeat visuals. You should not miss this film, as it is not in world distribution, and can only be seen at festivals.

This year we have also selected two films made in a puppet animation technique. One of them is Mary and Max (Elliot, Australia, 2008), an immensely funny film that follows an unusual friendship between a lonely eight-year-old girl from the suburbs of Melbourne and an overweight 44-year-old Jewish man from New York. The quality of this film was affirmed by the Special Mention at the Berlinale in “Generation 14plus” competition, and it also opened the Sundance Film Festival. The likable characters are voiced by well-known actors – Toni Collete, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Eric Bana.

The second animated film, made in puppet animation is $9.99 (Rosenthal, Israel/Australia, 2008). Dave Peck, an unemployed 28-year-old man is intrigued by an advertisement offering answers to the eternal questions, such as the meaning of life and human existence. And all for a mere $9.99. The film is based on short stories by Israeli writer Etgar Keret who is known to the Croatian audience as the author of the short story on which Goran Dukić based his film “Wristcutters: A Love Story”.  Waltz with Bashir (Folman, Israel/Germany/France, 2007) deals with a more serious subject matter, and it is based on a true story. It belongs to a rare genre of animated documentary and it follows the director in the Lebanon War in the mid 1980s. Because of its sensitive subject matter the film has been banned in most of Arab countries.

Boogie, el aceitoso (Cova, Argentina, 2007) is coming to Animafest Zagreb from far-away Argentina. It is a film about terrifying hit man Boogie, based on comic books created by Robert Fontanarossa. Coarse and unscrupulous humour, but also a certain ironic detachment that is essential for presenting this kind of characters, are all characteristic of this film, which will be especially interesting to all those comic book lovers.

The lead characters of Immigrants –L.A. Dolce Vita (Csupó, Hungary/USA, 2008) are of a totally different nature. Vladimir, a nice Russian man and Joski, a Hungarian are immigrants and best friends in search for the American dream. Together with an array of equally colourful characters they experience numerous funny situations, which will be compelling for both children and adults and especially for teenagers.

There are also two films in competition whose authors, Bill Plympton and Pritt Pärn are well know to the Animafest audience. Pympton will show his film Idiots and Angels (USA, 2008), which follows Angel, a morally bankrupt bully who tries to get rid of the wings that sprouted unexpectedly from his back one morning. This monochromatic dark comedy is also interesting, for it features the music of such musicians as Mobby, Tom Waits and Pink Martini.

Pritt Pärn, the winner of the 2008 Animafest Lifetime Achievement Award has made Life Without Gabriella Ferri (Estonia, 2008) in collaboration with Olga Pärn. The story, full of black humour and playful surrealism so typical of Pritt Pärn, in a very unique graphic style, tells about the relationship between a man and a woman, which is constantly strained between passion and hatred.  

The Jury, who will make a decision on the best film in this year’s feature edition of Animafest, consists of three international members – Lotte Geffenblad from Sweden, Jia Duan from China and “our own” Dubravko Mataković.

Animafest 2009 is also bringing to its audience a very interesting retrospective of Michel Ocelot’s work. He was awarded the Grand Prix at Animafest in 2007 for the film Azur and Asmar (France/Belgium/Luxemburg/Spain, 2006). In addition to this film, the audience will have an opportunity to see two of his other feature films, Kirikou and the Sorceress (France/Belgium/Luxemburg, 1988) and Kirikou and the Wild Beasts (France, 2005), which will undoubtedly thrill the youngest festival audience. Other works in the retrospective – 8 short films in a new, restored edition – will provide an insight into the work of this renowned French auteur. Along with the films, the audience will have an opportunity to see Ocelot’s drawings that will be exhibited in the Mediatheque of the French Institute. The author has announced his arrival in Zagreb and he is very much looking forward to talking and meeting Croatian animation film lovers.  

ANIMAFEST ZAGREB is the world festival of animated film, established in 1972, and traditionally, it is the second festival of animation in Europe. Since 2005, when it became an annual event – every odd year is dedicated to feature-length films and every even year to shorts. With the initiative, such as the establishment of the forum for project development, Animafest aspires to become an active participant in encouraging the production and distribution of animated film. 

Petra Zlonoga, odnosi s javnošću
mobitel: 091 306 305 0
e-mail: press@animafest.hr