The first day of spring also brought the first news related to the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb, taking place from 29 May to 3 June at Europa, Tuškanac and Movieplex. At the press conference held at Tuškanac cinema small hall, festival producers Olinka Vištica and Vjera Matković and art director Daniel Šuljić presented the results of the international selection committees, whose members watched and reviewed films for competition programmes throughout February. Then they announced the prizes awarded by the Animafest Council and introduced a rich non-competition film programme and side events. “A total of 1715 filmsfrom 72 countries applied for participation in the festival programme. The Grand Competition selection committee, consisting of:Marco de Blois, animated film programmer and curator at Cinematheque Quebecoise from Canada, Duscha Kistler, long-time art director of the International Animated Film Festival Fantoche from Switzerland, and Vanja Hraste, programme curator at the Croatian Film Clubs’ Association, selected 32 films for the Grand Competition and another 26 for the Grand Panorama.
The Student Competition selection committee, consisting of: Vanja Andrijević, producer and CEO of Bonobostudio from Croatia,Andrea Martignoni, composer and sound designer from Italy, and Miloš Tomić, multimedia artist and animator from Serbia, selected33 films for the Student Competition, 21 films for the Student Panorama and 26 works for the Commissioned Films Competition. The Children’s Film Competition selection is still pending and will be known early in April. The Student and Commissioned Film Competition selection committee decided to present the award to Turku Arts Academy from Finland, underlining it as a certain oasis of animated film in the far North,” said Vjera Matković, presenting the information regarding Animafest competition programmes and committee members selecting them.
“The Croatian public and audience will surely be thrilled by the information that there are seven local filmmakers among the 138 competition entries. Simon Bogojević Narath (The Flower of Battle) and Marko Meštrović (Why Elephants?) will compete in the Grand Competition category. Dalibor Barić (New Hippie Future) will compete in the Grand Panorama, Petra Zlonoga (Fox) in the Student Panorama and Alen Vuković (Koko and Ghosts) in the Commissioned Film programme. Croatian filmmakers Ivana Bošnjakand Lea Vidaković compete in the Student Competition with the Norwegian film Crossed Herring,” said Vjera Matković.
The gathered media representatives then saw a short film in which selection committee members acquainted them with reasons for their decisions, after which Animafest art director Daniel Šuljić said: “Just like every other edition of Animafest, this year’s Grand Competition represents crème-de-la-crème of two year’s production, films that compete for the Grand Prix and other awards, including the Audience Award. The Student Competition represents the selection of best film made within various educational institutions. The strength of the Grand Competition programme is best illustrated by the fact that films by animation greats and previous Grand Prix winners, like Koji Yamamura and Regina Pessoa were selected for the Panorama programme, which provides a deeper and broader insight into the diversity and richness of animation and introduce us to different approaches to subject matter, displaying the abundance of animation techniques.”
“I am always excited when we present the upcoming festival programme at the first press conference. We always select our entries with deepest respect, aware of the fact that this is one of the most important world festivals of animated film,” said Animafest producerOlinka Vištica at the beginning of her address to the media. “This year we have a very special reason to contribute to that feeling; Animafest is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Therefore, the Animafest Council decided to award a Special Mention to the Zagreb School of Animated Film and its representatives, who are directly responsible for the establishment and acknowledgment of Animafest around the world. It is a special privilege to welcome the filmmakers and representatives of the Zagreb Animation School who are here with us today: Borivoj Dovniković Bordo and Zlatko Bourek,” said Ms. Vištica.
The Animafest Council consists of: Darko Kreč (president), Pavao Štalter, Vesna Dovniković, Milan Blažeković, Marko Meštrović, Željko Sarić and Nikica Gilić. They decided to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to one of the most important Japanese animation artists, the pioneer of independent animated film and one of the first Japanese animators who made a name for himself in the West: Yoji Kuri. “Yoji Kuri was part of the so-called Japanese group of three animators (Sannin no Kai in Japanese). Other two were Yanagihara Ryohei and Manabe Hiroshi – the equivalent of the Three Tenors in the western world. Yoji Kuri was called Pavarotti, and we can call him Animafest’s godfather because he was present at the ASIFA meeting when Zagreb was given the license to establish Animafest. I warmly recommend taking a look at the selection of films by this great filmmaker, screened in our Masters of Animation programme,” said Ms. Vištica and presented another Animafest Council award winner: journalist, writer, cartoonist and filmmaker Olivier Cotte, the winner of the Award for Special Contribution to Animation Research.
The anniversary edition of the festival will be marked by comprehensive programmes of international and domestic animated production that celebrate the winners of previous festivals, with a special reminder of the greats of Zagreb School of Animation, directly to thank for the establishment and international acknowledgment of Animafest, as well as numerous additional events. Art director Daniel Šuljićunderlined the programmes of 3D stereoscopic art films and new Italian animation, as well the programme under the working title of Strange Fruits, which will present selection of top-rated twisted and funny films that appeared in the last few years and launched a brand new style trend on the animation scene.