Marking the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley's Gothic novel Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus (1818), the theme programme of the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2018 is devoted to the horror genre. Horror in Animated Film programme, which includes an extensive selection of short (7 segments) and feature films, exhibitions, and open-air screenings, was announced today by the Festival organisers.
Short films have been arranged into several programmes: one featuring short classics from around the world, three programmes featuring films made after year 2000, one Croatian horror films programme, as well as three „under the stars“ programmes taking place at the popular Art Park. Feature film selection brings cult films from Japan, Korea, and the US. Two international exhibitions complement this lavish homage to the genre that inspired this year’s poster and festival trailer by Stipan Tadić.
Illustrating an early approach to this theme, short classics programme Memento Mori will open with Disney’s short film The Skeleton Dance, the first from the Silly Symphonies series (1929). As part of the same programme, we will screen evergreens by many horror greats – Tim Burton (Vincent), Piotr Dumała (A Nervous Life of Cosmos), Chris Landreth (Bingo), Raoul Servais (Harpya), Paul Berry (The Sandman) and Ruth Lingford (Death and the Mother). Street of Crocodiles by brothers Quay, with its grim and unsettling atmosphere, had a far-reaching impact on a great number of subsequent puppet-film horrors.
Dread in Your Head and Blood!!! segments comprise films made over the last fifteen years. Among others, this selection includes films by Rosto (Splintertime), Einar Baldvin (Baboon), Suzie Templeton (Dog), Jason Carpenter (The Renter), Rune Spaans (The Absence of Eddy Table), Robert Morgan (D Is for Deloused), Lora D’Addazio (Juliette) and Peter Cornwell (Ward 13), as well as the obligatory Japanese artists Takena Nagao (Chainsaw Maid) and Yusuke Sakamoto (The Night of the Naporitan). The fourth segment, entitled I Know What You Drew Last Summer, is a selection of this year’s entries made in the horror film vein, with the addition of two titles from previous years.
The fifth programme presents a selection of Croatian masterstrokes of the genre under the name Croatian Bestiary. It features works by such authors as legendary Vladimir Jutriša and Aleksandar Marks (The Fly), Pavao Štalter and Branko Ranitović (Mask of the Red Death), and Zlatko Bourek (The Cat), as well as still prolific classic authors like Joško Marušić (Fisheye) and Zlatko Pavlinić (The House of the Plague), and the current frontrunners of Croatian animation, Marko Meštrović and Davor Međurečan (Silencium) and Simon Bogojević Narath (Leviathan).
Feature film programme brings two cult films – the anime Perfect Blue by Satoshi Kon and Korean zombie horror Seoul Station by Yeon Sang-ho. Perfect Blue (1997) is a psychological horror about a former pop singer turned actress, who copes with the challenges of her new vocation while dealing with a mysterious stalker. Seoul Station (2016) is a narrative predecessor of Train to Busan by the same director and zombie apocalypse subgenre. The charming Frankenweenie (2012) by Tim Burton will screen as part of Children and Youth Programme.
Some of the projections and special events related to the horror theme will take place in the open, under the name Animafest in Art Park: Three Nights of Total Horror. The section comprises Creepy Animation Night programme – featuring short films selected by Anim'est Festival Director Mihai Mitrică (Bucharest), as well as Claymation Horror programme – a compilation of stop-motion shorts by the viral star of trash-gore humour, Lee Hardcastle. Frank Sudol’s feature film City of Rott, another zombie creation marked by unique aesthetics, will also screen at Art Park.
The horror programme is concluded by two international exhibitions. Einar Baldvin, award-winning Los Angeles animator from Iceland (The Pride of Strathmoor), will present his drawings and graphic art under the name The Crawling King, from the eponymous dark fantasy graphic novel that will also be presented at the Festival. The opening of the exhibition will take place at Kulturni centar Mesnička (KCM), 5 June. Morgan’s Organs exhibition by Robert Morgan opens on the same day, at the ULUPUH Gallery, showing a selection of his macabre works. This British artist (The Cat with Hands, The Separation, Bobby Yeah) is a master of claymation inspired by Švankmajer, Francis Bacon, as well as David Lynch, brothers Quay, and E.A. Poe.
Animafest 2018 theme programme has been conceived by the festival Artistic Director Daniel Šuljić, assisted by advisers Božidar Trkulja (who helped curate the Croatian films programme), Chris Robinson, Franziska Bruckner, Yves Nougarède, Olga Bobrowska, Piotr Kardas (who suggested the inclusion of comic and parody films), Ornela Čop (Lee Hardcastle films), and Einar Baldvin.