The first ‘proper’ day at Animafest 2022, Tuesday, June 7, opens at the Tuškanac Cinema with the works from the Films for Children Competition (9:30 – age 3-6; 11:30 – age 15+) with Q&As with the authors Martin Vandas, Jiri Pecinovský, Alžbet Mišejkova, Agata Wojtaś, Armine Anda, Lilit Aitunyan, Mitchelle Tamariz, Evan Bode, Marie Urbankova, Maria Motovska, José Luis Saturno and Théo Holland Sigot. After a short break, at 5 pm you can see the first programme of the Zagreb School of Animation retrospective – Bonjour Cannes 1958 with a selection of films whose screening in French film Mecca led to the famous concept term by Georges Sadoul and André Martin. At 7 pm, Yaya and Lennie – The Walking Liberty are scheduled, an intriguing Steinbeck-based biopunk from the Grand Competition - Feature Film, a Neapolitan post-apocalyptic context, computer aesthetics of impressive forest shots and relativization of different idea systems. The programme at Tuškanac closes at 9 pm with the animated documentary 1970 by Tomasz Wolski, which combines archival sound and visual recordings with puppet film in a depiction of communist apparatchiks during the suppression of workers’ protests.
The new pitching lab for young talents Rise & Shine continues in the MM Centre from 9 am to 4 pm. At the lab, with free admission for all interested visitors, from 11:30 Jelena Popović, producer at the famous Canadian NFB, gives a lecture on the role of a creative producer in animated film. From 4 pm in the same location, many will surely be attracted by the masterclass of the Academy Award nominees Joanna Quinn and Les Mills, From Idea to Screen – Making and Development of Our Short Animated Films.
The ninth Animafest Scanner, an international contemporary animation studies symposium, starts at 10 am at the &TD Theatre on Tuesday with a lecture by the winner of the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animation Studies Rolf Giesen. Until 5 pm, the history of global and the state of contemporary European animation will be discussed in memory of the first winner of this prestigious award, Giannalberto Bendazzi.
The Student Film Competition starts at 5 pm at the venue, and in its 3rd block you can see, for example, Stinky in the Dark Forest by Sunčana Brkulj, competing for the third time in a row in this international competition, stop-motion Zoon by Jonathan Schwenk about attractive and gluttonous axolotls, Girls Talk about Football by Paola Sorrentino, the comedy Night of the Living Dread by Ida Melum, which plays with the tropes of psychological horror in puppet-film technique, but actually talks about personal history and identity building, as well as Goodbye, Jérôme! which depicts a paradise in which the title character searches for a wife after her death in a colourful surrealist drawing.
At 18:30 the Grand Competition Short Film 5 features The Loach, Naughty, Dies Irae, Beware of Trains, Cockroaches, Stain, Hotel Kalura and Garrano. Before Xu An passed away suddenly in 2017, with Xi Chen he made the dominant duo of contemporary Chinese animation. As Xu An left behind a large number of unrealised scripts, Xi Chen set himself the task of completing their joint opus inspired by periods of Chinese history. Recognisable for incorporating traditional Chinese painting techniques and motifs and poetic stylisation, and more recently collage animation, Xi Chen and Xu An in The Loach expound a startling and somewhat disturbing story of four people connected by the title fish-monster. Naughty (d. Flora Molinié, Emma Degoutte) in a combination of feature film, rotoscopy and painting describe the story from the perspective of an under-age protagonist of rural family life preparing for slaughter, but much more than violence against animals this piece addresses a conflict between a boy and his mother’s new partner.
You might want to watch the dark-humour Australian allegory Dies Irae by the Japanese collective Mara, given its design mise-en-scène, several times to follow all the events and relationships of the seven anthropomorphised pigs. Beware of Trains (dir. Emma Calder) is a masterful hybrid of collage, 2D, stop motion, and video inserts that seems as a slightly experimental and slightly autobiographical film about a mature woman’s fears and fantasies related to motherhood, partnership, sex, parents, accidents and murders... always leaning on the conductive motif of the train.
The apocalyptic and allegorical SF Cockroaches (d. Adel Khan Farooq) with an extremely interesting depiction of ‘slipping’ into other times/spaces and further unexpected twists will satisfy fans of the genre, and can be considered one of the eye candies of this competition. A classic, slightly retro black-and-white drawing of fine transformations of motifs with a bit of collage used on the meta-finish, Stain is a film about a woman’s experience – a girl being chased by a shark devouring girlhood in the form of a doll, shattering identity and harassing a girl until she decides on a radical cut. Sophie Koko Gate has been delighting connoisseurs for some time with witty grotesques about male-female relationships, slimy sex and aging, and her strange, knotty and organic style seems to glorify unconventionality by hypertrophying physical features in neon shades and ironic detachment. Thematically often interested in unusual romances, in the absurd SF melodrama Hotel Kalura Koko Gate presents the protagonist who enters a hotel bar after a bath and starts flirting with a disfigured stranger. David Doutel and Vasco Sá made their new film Garrano in the same eye candy oil on glass technique as previous successful works, but with a new story of poor waste collectors on the edge of a forest near a lithium mine facing a typical Doutel-Sá dilemma.
Another programme from the Zagreb School retrospective will be shown at the &TD Theatre from 8 pm – The Beginnings which contains treasures of the distant past such as films of the School of Public Health, educational and propaganda films, commercials, but also the groundbreaking The Great Meeting by the Neugebauer brothers, and the first Croatian animated film in colour Little Red Riding Hood. The evening at &TD closes with World Panorama 1 with guest appearances by Hayat Nova, Inez Skilling, Geronimo Bennington-Poulter and Kristjan Holm.
The SC Cinema programme opens at 11 am with World Panorama 2, followed by the third slot of the Animafest Audience Awards selection, which includes recent favourites of festival visitors such as Tomasz Popakul’s Acid Rain, Theodore Ushev’s The Physics of Sorrow, Storks by Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak, and Between the Shadows by Alice Guimarães and Mónica Santos. At 3:30 pm, Mathew Lee will present a selection from NFTS films, winners of the Best Animation School Award. The programme heats up at 5:30 pm with the Student Film Competition 1 with Q&As with Renee Zhan (Soft Animals), Sujin Moon (Persona), Isidora Vulić (Orange Peel), Lachlan Pendragon (An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It), Mát Horesnyi (Lesser of the Two Evils), Florence Yuk Ki Lee (Elephant in Castle), Ekin Koca (The Immoral), Andrea Szeles and Kristina Škoda (Sisters) and Maël Bailly (Au cas où le corps exulte).
From 8 pm, the Grand Competition Short Film 2 will be screened, followed by Q&As with the authors Izabela Plucińska (98 Kg), Yungsung Song (Our 2), Claude Luyet (Lucky Man) and Malte Stein (Thing). Although she is primarily a master of idiosyncratic claymation, Izabela Plucińska drew 98 Kg in charcoal, stepping out of the technical and probably psychological comfort zone with a film that speaks of domestic violence through the disintegration of bodies and objects, anger and the parallelism of home and weightlifting. A combination of traditional and new elements and procedures creates in Our 2 one of the most visually original films of this year’s competition. The film is emphatically classic in some respects, and very contemporary in others, and in the treatment of the topic of relationships and love, it covers a very wide range of possibilities.
The legend of Swiss animation Claude Luyet has been an old acquaintance of Zagreb since 1978. The black-and-white drawing of his Lucky Man is extremely nostalgic in evoking the American mainstream comics (which automatically includes pop art), but also the French-Belgian school. An Americana, a road movie and a crime story with a serial killer, but also a serious commentary on the transience and relativity of happiness, Lucky Man is a tightly structured short story for fans of American film and music genres. The poet of ugliness, pathology and black humour Malte Stein poisoned the Animafest audience and the jury with Flood in 2019 (Zlatko Grgić Award), but real fans of the festival noticed him back in 2014 when he presented the student film Blue Dream. Now, as an already accomplished author, Stein returns with Thing that in character design can be seen as a kind of sequel to Flood, although this time it is a mini-horror without dialogue and subtext of family relationships, but with a satanic baby cannibal haunting a passerby.
Tuesday at the SC closes with a talk with director Aristotle Maragkos, at 10pm The Timekeepers of Eternity from the Grand Competition - Feature Film – an unusual but fascinating genre recombination of the television mini-series Langoliers (1995), adapted from Stephen King (1988). Using a black-and-white collage, The Timekeepers of Eternity compresses and transforms their manifold model, making it more suspenseful, interesting, and psychologically much more compelling than it has ever been. Scratching, creasing, and general paper manipulation achieve effects inaccessible to live action film.
From Tuesday, eight works from the VR Animation Competition can be immersed into in the SeK Hall from noon to 8 pm. In the same venue from 5 pm, a collection of essays by Midhat Ajanović Slike koje pričaju will be presented, as well as six storyboards for the films about Vučko by Nedeljko Dragić. The publisher and editor is Veljko Krulčić, hosted by Andrijana Ružić, and the promotion will be attended by the authors of the texts Branko Farac and Goran Dujaković, graphic editor David Ivić and, of course, Nedeljko Dragić.