An extremely opulent and appealing 26th edition of the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb is scheduled for 6-11 June, ready to make Zagreb once again the global hub of animation, proving that it deserves its A-list status. Over 300 films of different techniques, genres and durations will be presented to audience at Europa and Tuškanac cinemas, Zagreb Dance Centre, as well as open-air screenings at Zrinjevac park. Animafest’s listings were presented at a media conference on Wednesday by the festival’s artistic director Daniel Šuljić, producers Paola Orlić and Matea Milić, and selection committee members Nikica Gilić and Vesna Meštrić.
Traditionally, leading into the festival events will be the Animation Goes MSU programme, with screenings on the media façade of Zagreb’s largest museum, starting on 24 May, presented by senior curator and one of the selectors, Vesna Meštrić. Two subsequent weekends before the festival, Animafest is hosting a series of free open-air screenings in Zrinjevac park.
The festival will open with a new animated trailer by young Croatian animator Tea Stražičić, currently an artist-in-residence in Denmark.
The central line-up this year consists of six competitions. Over 1700 entries from more than 70 countries were submitted. Competition selectors were Daniel Šuljić (feature competition), Ana Hušman, Draško Ivezić and Daniel Šuljić (short and Croatian film competition), Nikica Gilić, Martina Meštrović and Daniel Šuljić (student competition), Vesna Meštrić and Daniel Šuljić (Animation Goes MSU), and Martina Peštaj (children’s competition).
Artistic director Daniel Šuljić presented the short film competition consisting of 46 titles, including those by the animation masters like Georges Schwizgebel (Switzerland), Phil Mulloy (UK), Igor Kovalyov (Russia) and Theodor Ushev (Canada), as well as key names of independent Chinese animation – Lei Lei, Jie Shen, Haiyang Wang and Xi Chen and Xu An. Alongside the new wave of animation celebrities on the rise like Peter Millard (UK), Paul Wenninger (Austria), Celine Devaux (France) or Laura Harrison (USA), ), a truly noteworthy success of Croatian animation will be represented in the short film competition by as many as four authors: Marko Tadić with Moving Elements, Veljko Popović with Planemo, Martina Meštrović with Peter's Forest and Vladimir Kanić with Only Lovers Leave to Die.
With said four titles, Croatian animation competition this year includes ten other films of great diversity in the choice of themes and animation techniques – from the until recently atypical puppet films, to experimental and classic 2D drawings.
Feature film competition brings nine extremely attractive entries covering different techniques and themes – from the acclaimed Anomalisa by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson, to the Spanish environmental sensation Psiconautas, the Forgotten Children by Pedro Rivera and Albert Vázquez, o the American documentary hit, the Sundace winner Nuts! by Penny Lane. Inspired by true events are Sabogal, a powerful political human rights drama based on the recent Colombian past, and The Magic Mountain by Romanian author Anca Damian.
The children’s film competition, suitable for different age groups, selected by media pedagogue Martina Peštaj, this year had 403 submitted entries, out of which 41 were chosen. They were presented by producer Matea Milić. In her words, this programme segment offers a great chance to introduce children to the wealth of animation techniques – from sand, to drawing on glass, classic hand-drawn animation and 3D, to animated sushi – no less! This section also has a Croatian entry, Ivana Guljašević Kuman’s Prehlađeni vuk.
Nikica Gilić, member of the Festival Council and one of the programmers, presented the student film competition. “The student selection this year was extremely diverse and colourful, representing different poetics and animation techniques, tradition through the eyes of young authors, as well as the latest trends and tendencies in digital animation and multimedia poetics,” said Gilić.
One of this year’s theme sections is dedicated to the Oscars,while the other one is dedicated to the phenomenon of Animanarchy or Animation in the Raw, a historical overview of the key titles in association with curator Alexis Hunot and titles from more recent production.
Also, Early bird tickets to the festival shows, with many advantages, are already available in the Entrio system. Tickets for individual programmes will be available early in May.