World Festival of Animated Film /
3 to 8 June 2024
World Festival of Animated Film / 3 to 8 June 2024
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34th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2024 Officially Opens

Tonight, the 34th World Animated Film Festival – Animafest Zagreb 2024 began with the opening ceremony at the SC Cinema, as part of which, from June 3 to 8, SC Cinema, Kinoteka, the Museum of Contemporary Art and other locations in the city will screen a large number of artistic animated films, with numerous accompanying events. The most important Croatian film festival and one of the three leading animation festivals in the world was opened by the Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Tomislav Tomašević.

It is a great honour for me to be at the opening of another Animafest. It is the only A-list festival held in Croatia, a world-class festival. It is a great honour for us to have it in Zagreb because it is much more than a film festival. We are glad to be able to support such events that enrich the city’s cultural offer, create additional cultural content, but also bring different guests to our city. I congratulate the team that manages to organise such a renowned festival every year. We will continue to support you. This year, we more than doubled the financial resources for independent culture. We know what the pains and problems are with cinemas. We are renovating the Tuškanac cinema, the renovation of the Europa cinema will soon begin. Zagreb must have such cinemas and cannot be a big city without them. The humour theme is great and I can’t wait for the festival to start. Dear guests, welcome to Zagreb. I declare the 34th edition of Animafest Zagreb open – said Tomašević.

In the SC Cinema, the representative of the Minister of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia Nina Obuljen Koržinek, the director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre Chris Marcich, Vjera Matković from the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, Deputy Mayor Luka Korlaet, head of the City Office for Culture and Civil Society Emina Višnić, high-ranking representatives of the diplomatic corps, media representatives and guests of honour of the international animation scene were greeted by Daniel Šuljić, artistic director of Animafest, and Matea Milić and Paola Orlić, the Festival producers.

Instead of a speech, I will quote the words of the member of the jury, Naomi van Niekerk from the Republic of South Africa, who said to me in front of the hall: “Everybody I love is in this cinema”. That is the essence of this festival. You are all welcome, it’s nice to see you in this number and let the festival begin – said Šuljić.

The production team would like to thank the City of Zagreb, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, the Creative Europe MEDIA fund, Telemach and other sponsors, as well as the many people who support and follow us year after year. The festival would not exist without all of you – said Orlić.

We also have two dear families whom I would like to thank. One is our international family, our friends from the Animation Festival Network with whom we do a lot of wonderful things that you will see these days. And the second is our festival family, our wonderful team, without whom we would be lost – Milić added.

At the opening ceremony, the Animafest 2024 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Phil Mulloy, the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animation Studies to Ingo Petzke, the Award for Best Animation School to the French La Poudrière and the ASIFA Student Award to Nikolina Žabčić.

The Lifetime Achievement Award is the heart of this festival and the biggest award that the Zagreb festival dedicates to auteur film. Phil Mulloy sent his first film to the festival in 1992. It was the movie Possession that completely mesmerized me. In 2016, he received our Grand Prix, and in 2022 we also had his film, and therefore there is no greater happiness than to present him with our highest award – concluded the president of the Animafest Council, Margit Antauer.

Receiving the award, Phil Mulloy thanked with the following words: Thank you Zagreb. I am very happy to be here tonight. This is a fantastic festival and I was happy every time I visited it. Getting an award here is great. I would like to thank Daniel Šuljić for the wonderful e-mail that brightened my day and for which I still feel satisfied. I also thank the team behind Animafest because they show films that people don’t normally see and should – it’s an alternative distribution that’s especially important for animators. I would also like to thank Elvira Kranjčar, who shows my work in her gallery. She is a wonderful person, very interested in presenting artistic work. The most important person I want to thank and give this award to is my wife Vera Neubauer, with whom I often worked and with whom I have been for almost 50 years. A retrospective of Mulloy’s animated films in two parts is scheduled for Tuesday 6/4 at 10 pm at Kino SC and Thursday 6/6 at 9 pm at MSU. On Tuesday, June 4, at 1 pm, the Kranjčar Gallery will officially open the exhibition of Mulloy’s works entitled The End of Innocence. The British animation master will also hold a masterclass on Saturday, June 8 at 11:30 am in the MM Centre.

I am honoured and thank the Festival Council. Many years ago, when I was at Animafest while it was still in Lisinski, I gave a lecture about Oskar Fischinger. Suddenly the power went out and we were left in complete darkness, but I continued and the audience continued to listen. I wondered thenand why did they continue to listen to me, because a film scholar always has to ask about causes and reasons. I dedicate this award to the many unknown souls who gave us films to love and try to understand – said Petzke, who was also presented with the award by Antauer. Antauer recalled how Petzke spread his love for animation all over the world because he taught in 37 countries, but also how he came to Zagreb in the most difficult, war-torn 1990s and worked here with young people, organising workshops and bringing professors from Germany and before the establishment of the Department for Animation.

Petzke is an invited speaker at the Animafest Scanner XI symposium, which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 4 and 5, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm at KIC, with admission open to all interested visitors.

The award for the best animation school, awarded by the Selection Committee of the Student Film Competition consisting of Matea Kovač, Laura Martinović and Daniel Šuljić, was accepted by Annick Teninge, the director of the school.

I am very honoured to receive this award on behalf of my school. When I started doing animation many years ago, I was lucky enough to meet the best authors in Annecy, Ottawa, Zagreb and other festivals. Animated films are an industry today, and it’s good that a feature-length animated film can get the kind of attention that only feature films used to get. But for me, animated films are the art and craft that can especially be found in the short film. And that's why I’m happy about the Animafest award, because I discovered many great films in its rich program over the years – said Teninge, who will speak ahead of the La Poudrière retrospective on Tuesday, June 4 at 1 pm in the MM Centre with free admission.

I didn’t come with a piece of paper because I know that I would never be ready enough for this moment anyway. I thank the expert jury for recognising my work as interesting and worth mentioning at this time. This is my first award and I believe I will remember this moment forever. I would like to thank all my mentors from my studies at OZAFIN ALU, colleagues, family and friends. Thank you also to you in the audience, because you are wonderful – said Nikolina Žabčić receiving the ASIFA Student Award, an award of the International Association of Animated Films, which was given to her for the film Love Is a Color! presented by Johnchill Lee and Nancy Denney-Phelps, who together with Nelson Shin formed the jury of the awards. Denney-Phelps said they enjoyed watching the film because of its strong and uplifting story, excellent art and beautiful music that matched the visuals of the film. The nominated films will be shown on Saturday, June 8 at 6 pm in the MM Centre.

After the presentation of the members of all the juries, the festival trailer by the author Irena Jukić Pranjić and the musician Damjan Brkić, and in memoriam of Igor Savin (1946–2024), who will be forever remembered not only for his entire oeuvre, but also for to the festival jingle that has been in use since 1980 until today, the ceremony ended with a screening of films from the Grand Competition Short Film 1 with as many as three world premieres and a conversation with the authors present: Laura Gonçalves and Alexandra Ramires (Percebes), Eirini Vianelli (Ready), Milivoj and Veljko Popović and Tisja Kljaković Braić (Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child!). The conversation was hosted by animator and president of ASIFA Croatia, Kata Gugić.