On the occasion of the 20th edition of the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb, exactly a week before the opening, a press conference was held at the Tuškanac cinema. Art director Krešimir Zimonić and festival producers Olinka Vištica and Vjera Matković presented the programme and announced this year’s festival novelties.
This year the competition programme consists of 128 films. Thirty-nine Grand Competition entries will be fighting for the Animafest Grand Prix (the award including honorary presiding at the next festival), Golden Zagreb for creativity and artistic innovation and Zlatko Grgić Award for best first non-institutional film. The Dušan Vukotić Award will be presented to one of the 30 Student Competition films. Children’s competition comprises 31 films, and the children’s jury will decide on the winner. The Commissioned Film Competition consists of 29 entries. The Grand Competition jury will reach a decision on the best one.
“The Grand Competition consists of 39 entries and presents a wide array of animation techniques: from classic animation, such as in My Way by Veljko Popović and Svjetlan Junaković, to an exceptionally original solution and a mixture of experiment and animation, as presented by Please Say Something by the Irish filmmaker David O’Reilly. The fact that it won the Cartoon d’Or award for the best European animated film in 2009 is a notable recommendation. The programme also includes the American film I Am So Proud of You by Don Hertzfeldt, an intimate journal interspersed with black humour. Hertzfeldt is considered an up-and-coming star of artistic animation, while the said film won the Sundance Festival Grand Prix. Stroboscopic Noise is an Austrian film by Manuel Knapp, a true example of experimental film with a direct impact on the human senses. The winner of the greatest number of awards is definitely Muto, the animated work by one of the most renowned Italian street artists, Blu. The programme also includes a new film by the cult Estonian animator Priit Parn and his wife Olga, Divers in the Rain, followed by Tussilago, an interesting animated documentary by the Swede Jonas Odell, the Oscar-winning French film Logorama by Ludovic Houplain and many others.” This was the introduction provided by Vjera Matković. “This year the award going to an educational institution for the best selection of entries was awarded by the Student Competition selection committee to the Tokyo University of the Arts,” said Ms. Matković.
As announced, in addition to the competition programmes and panoramas, this year’s Animafest includes the following side programmes: Masters of Animation, World Studios, Focus on Swiss Animation and several special programmes.
“One of the special programmes is a presentation of the Cartoon East project. Cartoon is an international non-profit organisation providing support to the European animation industry, mostly through the only European short animated film award, Cartoon d’Or. Six regional festivals: Animafest Zagreb, Animateka Ljubljana (Slovenia), anim’est Bucharest (Romania), Balkanima Belgrade (Serbia), International Animated Film Festival in Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and FestAnča Žilina (Slovakia) are united in the Cartoon East programme. Each festival nominated one short film from their country, and the Animafest Grand and Student Competition juries will present one of the nominated films with the Cartoon d’Or award,” said Olinka Vištica.
This year, Animafest Pro includes a series of side events: Q&A with competition film authors, book presentations and lectures on different animation approaches: from Fernando Galrito, animation professor exploring the relationships between a moving image, performance and fine art, to Christian De Vita, head storyboard cartoonist working at Fantastic Mr. Fox by Wes Anderson. The Toon Boom workshop gives everyone a chance to meet state-of-the-art tools for exceptional visual results, as well as explore advanced animation techniques.
“Most importantly, this year’s Animafest will host over 120 guests, from filmmakers to different animation professionals. Georges Schwizgebel, the award-winning director of a host of animated film and one of the most acclaimed Swiss authors ever, whose works will be screened in the Focus on Swiss Animation programme, is one of them. Nigel Davies from Aardman Studio and Ron Diamond, the founder of Acme Filmworks (both Grand Competition jury members), Koji Yamamura, Christian de Vita, authors Priit and Olga Pärn, American Chris Landreth, author of the 2004 Oscar-winning film Ryan, Hubert Tison, the producer accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Frédéric Back and many others,” said Olinka Vištica, briefly presenting this year’s visitors.
The side events also include two exhibitions: From Drawing to Screen – Belgian Comic Book and Animation is held 1-6 June at the ULUPUH Gallery, providing an overview of the production of the French community in Belgium, the famous source of French-Belgian comic book, known for almost four decades by its outstanding filmmakers and animators.
The exhibition Dušan Vukotić Vud – a man who was playing is dedicated to our renowned director, screenwriter, animator, cartoonist and caricaturist: through toys, books and tiny details we are given an opportunity to take a sneak peek into the mysterious mind of this great artist. The exhibition is open 2-13 June at the Lotrščak Tower, and is divided into five sections, each designed and equipped with Vukotić’s things, photographs, books, documentary records and films.
The Animafest days will end with concerts and parties at the Strossmayer promenade, organised in association with the festivals Stross martre and Cest is d’ Best.