On the eve of tonight’s award ceremony (19:00, SC Cinema) and the lowering of the curtain on the 31st World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2021, a handful of cinematic thrills and educational platforms await us. The happiest will certainly be the youngest visitors and their parents who can enjoy selected works of art from all over the world categorized by age all Saturday at the Tuškanac Cinema, Tuškanac Opena Air Cinema and in the Travno and Dubrava neighbourhoods.
Matinee starts at the SC Cinema from 10:30 am with the fantastic Irish fairy tale WolfWalkers. Everything has already been said about this Oscar-nominated film – all you have to do is watch it in the company of your loved ones. The middle of the day at the SC is traditionally reserved for the Croatian national animated team with two screenings from the Croatian Film Competition, of course followed by a Q&A with the authors. This year there are 23 of them, and the selection is dominated by female authors and films related to music in one way or another. With participants of international competitions, Bruno Razum (Can You See Them?), Marko Meštrović (The Raft), Lucija Mrzljak (the Estonian film The Stork), Sunčana Brkulj (The Tower), Lucija Oroz (45'') and Ivana Guljašević Kuman (Black Wolf, White Wolf), you can see new works by our established animation artists Martina Meštrović (Ljubav), Petra Balekić (Just Between Us), Chintis Lundgren (One for the Ages), Irena Jukić Pranjić (Real Boy), Dea Jagić (Shadows) and Katrin Novaković (Sve vam zdravo), but also debut and second films by the up-and-comers, such as Mateja Štefinščak, Nikolina Žabčić, Luna Strmotić, Darian Bakliža, etc. There is no doubt that this is the most significant presentation of domestic animated production on our soil.
At 9 pm the SC will be filled with fans of fantasy – Tolkien is brought to Zagreb by the legendary Ralph Bakshi with the timeless Lord of the Rings. The rotoscopic epic, which portrayed individual elements of Middle-earth like no one before or after him and from which Peter Jackson borrowed quite ‘freely’, is a must-see visual treat not only for fantasy fans, but also for anyone interested in film art and popular culture in general.
As the previous day, the &TD Theatre dedicates morning and early afternoon to panels, discussions and masterclasses. Two core masterclasses of Animafest 2021 will be held by members of the jury of the Grand Competition Short Film, last year’s winner Shoko Hara (she will talk, from 10 am, about the origin of her intriguing Just a Guy) and Nadja Andrasev, a champion of contemporary illustrated sensuality and mysterious spaces of female psychology (11:00).
Following is the noon panel "Key (Frames) to a Succesful Relationship" which follows up on a segment of this year’s “Love” theme programme dedicated to animators who have intertwined professional collaboration with private relationships. However, the panel will discuss creative work in couples, and the discussion will be hosted by Daniel Šuljić and Matea Milić.
This year’s last opportunity to concentrate on the best that world animation has is offered at 4 and 6 pm with GC Short Film 3 and 4. At 8 pm, the &TD Theatre continues with CEE Animation Talents – a programme designed to promote and alternatively distribute the most talented young authors of animated films from Central and Eastern Europe. The project counts on a presentation at the most important festivals and connecting authors with experienced international producers. Although it may sound like a segment intended for professionals, the general audience has the opportunity to see some excellent films such as Marek Náprstek’s Ant Hill, Natko Stipaničev’s Arka, a film about women’s resistance in Poland and I Am Here by Julia Orlik.
The &TD Theatre greets us at 10pm with Fritz the Cat – Ralph Bakshi’s most famous film, a lascivious satire on the American 1960s based on Robert Crumb’s underground comic book. This is an extra screening introduced due to previous unfavourable weather conditions.
The Tuškanac Cinema is dedicated to the best animated films for children all morning and early afternoon. The international and prestigious Children’s Film Competition starts at 10 am with a program for ages 4-7 and continues with that for ages 7-10 (11:30). Afterwards it’s time to for the award-winning films of the VAFI & RAFI festival (13:00) and Family Programme 3 (14:30), which includes two beautiful French medium-length films – Vanille and Mum Is Pouring Rain. At 15:30, an educational screening called Wandering Kite is a selection of stylistically diverse, high-quality short films for the youngest (4+) accompanied by a conversation tailored to them, and realised by a project of the European network of animation festivals coordinated by Animafest Zagreb.
Truth be told, it would be best for children and young people to spend most of the day in Tuškanac Cinema, and then head a little further, to the Tuškanac Open Air Cinema where Calamity awaits them at the screening under the stars – a gorgeous French feature family western, winner of the world’s largest animation festival in Annecy. And if someone does not want to leave their immediate environment, KUC Travno (7 pm) and Dubrava (11 am) also screen the Films for Children Competition 1 (4-7 years).
Tuškanac takes over the celebration of Cupid from 5 pm with as many as three segments of the theme programme dedicated to love – first they break hearts in films about breakups, then love each other in two (19:00) and at 9 pm “Passion” overwhelms us for the last time.
At the SC Gallery at 5 pm, Irena Jukić Pranjić will present, hosted by Midhat Ajanović, her publishing endeavour Dnevnik snivanja i filozofiranja. Recording her own dreams, thoughts and fantasies, the author makes numerous observations about the human inside, comparing them with the worlds of comics and animated film, which spring from man’s inner world and address the same world.
Animafest is again in Split on Saturday, and is also traveling to Rijeka. At the Bačvice Cinema in Split at 9:30 pm, Dalmatian animation fans can see a fantastic, slightly psychedelic adventure about the guardian of the mythological creatures Cryptozoo. Kvarner connoisseurs expect first a selection from the thematic love program entitled “Erotica” (Art-kino Croatia, 19:30), and then the second programme of CEE Animation Talents entitled “Bicycles, poultry and washing machines” with films by Kata Gugić, Špela Čadež, Veljko Popović, Daria Kashcheeva, etc. (Summer Art Cinema, 9:30 p.m.).