The World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb opens the doors of three Zagreb’s cinemas – Europa, Cineplexx Centar Kaptol and Tuškanac – on Tuesday, 9 June. By Sunday, 14 June, they will be filled with a lavish programme with over 300 films, feature and short, for children and for grown-ups, works by veterans of animation and students, recent films and animated classics. The official opening ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, 9 June at 7.30 pm at Europa cinema, which will for this occasion be turned into a space beyond reality, Animafest’s wonderland. This year’s festival theme is Alice in Wonderland, celebrating the 150th anniversary of this literary classic’s first edition, so Animafest’s team decided to decorate the opening with elements from beyond the rabbit hole and transport them to the centre of Zagreb.
The opening ceremony is directed by famous Croatian stage director Mario Kovač, planning many offbeat surprises for the audience, with the help of the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb and Trešnja City Theatre. We will reveal no details, but what we do know is that during the evening the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to acclaimed international animator, writer, caricaturist and animation director Michel Ocelot. In his ‘collection’ he already has a BAFTA and a César, as well as two Animafest Grand Prix, from 1980 and 2007, respectively for The Three Inventors, his first animation, and Azur and Asmar, which Animafest’s audience will have a chance to see in the dreamy atmosphere of Zagreb’s most beautiful park, Zrinjevac, at an open air screening and a family picnic on Friday, 12 June at 9pm.
Ocelot is not the only one to receive an award at the opening: at the discretion of the Student Film Selection Committee, the Award for Best Animation School goes to Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design from Jerusalem.
Naturally, in addition to awards, films will also be watched. Films selected for this occasion include: the short Storm Hits Jacket by French director Paul Cabon, which uses parody and bizarre motifs to combine different genres (SF, spy film and romance); 3D modelling film Bear Story by Chilean director Gabriel Osorio; Wiener Blut by masters of Croatian animation Zlatko Bourek and Pavao Štalter; an alegoric tale Nuggets by German Andreas Hykade; Zepo by Spanish director César Díz Meléndez made by animating sand on glass; a feelgood film Me and My Moulton by Oscar winner Torill Kove; a French My Home by director Phuong Mai Nguyen; and Advanced Truth by Berlin-based video artist Gero Doll, known for a series of hallucinating digital films. Phuong Mai Nguyen, Zlatko Bourek, Pavao Štalter and Gero Doll are attending the opening at the Europa cinema.
After the screening, the guests will continue to socialise at Europa cinema’s terrace, where Animafest’s music part will be opened by ‘swingers with a touch of Roma’ Mel & The Little Thunders, followed by an after party at the official festival club, Vinyl in Bogovićeva 3, with the performance by DJ Mario Kovač.