On 26th May, a press conference was held at the Mediatheque of the French Institute. The organisers of the 19th world festival of animated film – Animafest Zagreb provided more information on the content and relevant news of the forthcoming festival to the press. This year’s feature edition will be held from 2nd to 7th June in the Europa and Movieplex cinemas. Offering a rich programme of forty-seven films in total, the audience will also have the chance to experience the festival’s exceptionally interesting subsidiary events – discussions, round tables, workshops for children and exhibitions.
Artistic director of the festival, Mr Krešimir Zimonić revealed the ten films in the Grand Competition, which are running for the Grand Prix of Animafest. He remarked that all the films, including those that are not in competition, are of extremely high quality, have appealing stories, and that animation lovers should certainly not miss out. “The core feature of Animafest is placing emphasis on auteur animation. The competition section of the programme presents two films by female directors, still a rarity in animated feature film – the American film Sita Sings the Blues by Nina Paley and $9.99 by the Israeli filmmaker Tatia Rosenthal. I would personally like to single out another piece – the Argentinian film Boogie, el aceitoso, by Gustavo Cova, which was finished just in time for Animafest, and subsequently this will be the European premiere.
Another film in the Grand Competition is Mary and Max by the Oscar-winning director Adam Elliot, which uncovers an unusual friendship between an eight-year-old girl from the suburbs of Melbourne and a forty-four-year-old Jewish man from New York. The quality of this film was made apparent at the Berlinale festival where it received a Special Mention in the Generation 14 plus competition. Renowned actors Toni Collete, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Eric Bana voiced the characters in thefilm, which also opened the Sundance Film Festival.
Executive Producer Vjera Matković, looked over the non-competition programme, specially singling out the films in the Late Night Cinema programme – Afro Samurai: Resurrection, with a musical score by the illustrious RZA and members of the Wu-Tang Clan. Another film, We Are the Strange, from the director M dot Strange, stands out due to its unusual style of interweaving traditional animation techniques with modern digital imagery. The executive producer also pointed out the intriguing and educational Children’s Programme that is divided in two thematic sections: “Me, My Body and the Media” and “Space and Energy” conceived with the collaboration of media psychologist Ms Martina Peštaj.
Within the Special Screenings programme, Vjera Matković championed the documentary Quirino Cristiani: The Mystery of the First Animated Movies by Gabrielle Zuchelli. “This is a film about the director of the first animated feature-length film which unfortunately was destroyed in a fire, and therefore this is a unique opportunity to find out more about the great innovator and his work.”
Olinka Vištica, the festival producer, announced the list of filmmakers that will come to the festival this year. She mentioned the Master Class of renowned American animator Bill Plympton, the director of Idiots and Angels, a film that can be viewed in the Grand Competition programme. Besides Mr Plympton, the festival will also welcome Pritt and Olga Pärn, Gustav Cova, Pedro Rivera, Nik Phelps, Jacques Rémy-Girerd and many others.
A special guest of Animafest, whose retrospective we had the opportunity to experience within the Masters of Animation programme, is the renowned French director Michel Ocelot. This versatile filmmaker who is the sole creator of his films, from screenplays to drawings, has stunned the world of animation. “French critic Pascal Vimenet, who wrote the introduction to Ocelot’s retrospective, states that this exceptionally prolific director takes a position of honour at the Pantheon of animated film.”
Within the retrospective of Michele Ocelot, besides the showcase of his representative works of feature-length and short animation, you can also observe an exhibition of his drawings at the Mediatheque of the French Institute, open until 7th June.
Animafest Pro, the festival programme intended for professionals in the field of film and animation, was presented by Jasmin Bašić, a programme coordinator. In addition to the presentation of six projects to be developed in Eastern Europe, Animafest Pro is also enriched by discussions dealing with the subject of animated film funding (moderators: Mike Robinson, a consultant in Cartoon Media). The discussions will be open to the public.
We have organised a round table dealing with the subject of Education via Animation within the Children’s Programme. It is primarily focused on teachers and pedagogues, TV and radio children’s programme producers and all those who have an impact on the selection of educational content intended for the young. The aim of this round table is to draw attention to animation as a possible medium that could enable covering certain issues in the curriculum, as well as those sensitive issues that children do not easily talk about.
Besides a varied and rich film programme, Animafest has also prepared two very interesting exhibitions. Pritt Pärn, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s Animafest, together with his wife Olga Pärn, will exhibit the work from their latest animated film, Life Without Gabriella Ferri, in the ULUPUH Gallery. The film will be screened in the Grand Competition, and the exhibition, which opens on 2nd June, will last until the end of the festival.
The second exhibition within the programme is Fear(s) of the Dark. It will exhibit the works of the world’s most renowned comic and graphic artists who have created an animated box-office hit with a film of the same title. Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Lorenzo Mattotti and Richard McGuire, as well as Pierre Di Sciullo, who is the director of 2D computer animated intervals, will exhibit in the dark and horror-fitting tower of Lotrščak, from 29th May to 7th June.
Accreditations will be available from the Press Centre in the Europa cinema from 2nd June. Journalists must obtain tickets for all screenings at the Info Desk one hour before the beginning of each screening. Accreditations will not be valid for the screening of Up, which will be held on Wednesday 3rd June at 10 pm in the Movieplex cinema.
Detailed information about the films, screenings and sub events are available at www.animafest.hr