Like every day, mornings at the Tuškanac Cinema (from 9:30 and from 11:30) at Animafest 2022 belong to the youngest audience who follow the Films for Children Competition completely free of charge this anniversary year, and have the opportunity to talk to a large number of authors – today they are joined by Marcela Vratilova and Martin Vandas (Suzie in the Garden), Miyoung Baek (Piropiro), Sanna de Vries (Reflection), Timothy and Audrey Hosman and Ekaterina Ogorodnikova (Kuumba Umbo), Tamar Dadon-Raveh and Tali Genshaft (Mitapolis or Romy, Dasi and Abigail’s Great Adventure) and Timon Leder whose Mouse House is a Slovenian-Croatian co-production.
From 5 pm at Tuškanac we are watching the continuation of the Zagreb School retrospective in the segment Golden Age 1 with a series of seminal works such as The Substitute, Don Quixote, The Fly, Curiosity and The Mask of the Red Death. At 7 pm, the first screening of Dozens of Norths, the feature debut of the 2004 Zagreb winner, the Oscar nominee Koji Yamamura, is scheduled. The poetic existentialist film as a Kafkaesque-Orwellian variation on modern alienated capitalist life is devoid of classical narrative, but with its unique drawing, the author’s recognisable irony and music it holds attention and immerses itself in incredible, surreal, but never completely abstract scenes. In Dozens of Norths Yamamura thematises suspension in time through the tension of a halted, flickering movement – the entanglement between desire/idea and realisation symbolically embodied in creative blockade. The antique woody, wrinkled and retro, but atmospheric, meta-cinematic and metatheatrical, visual design of this work from the Grand Competition - Feature Film estranges in a Brechtian manner, however it does not stun, but awakens.
Wednesday in Tuškanac concludes the Audience Awards 1 section with a selection of classics that impressed festival-goers in the 1970s and 1980s: the hilarious The Cat Came Back, Britannia and The Dirdy Birdy, but also highlights from animated art films such as the Quay Brothers’ Crocodile Street, Satiemania by Zdenko Gašparović and Fish Eye by Joško Marušić, as well as perhaps the best experimental film shown in the half-century history of the festival – A Year Along the Abandoned Road.
The Rise&Shine pitching lab (MM Centre) and the Symposium for Contemporary Animation Studies Animafest Scanner IX (&TD Theatre) also continue and end on Wednesday. But the central event of the lecture section is without a doubt the masterclass Creativity by the Oscar winner Michael Dudok de Wit (4 pm, MM Centre), two-time Animafest winner and once honorary president, author of this year’s anniversary festival illustration. Dudok de Wit will speak about the subtle and elusive themes of intuition, the unconscious, symbolism and meaning in nurturing and enhancing the creative process. Scanner, on the other hand, will discuss the topics of gender and diversity, as well as the state and future of the contemporary European animation scene.
At 5pm, the &TD Theatre is screening films from Student Competition 4, including The Uncertain Snow by a group of authors about a photographer lost in a white desert, longing for her colleague from the research station, the stop-motion Do Not Feed the Pigeons (d. Antonin Niclass), attracting with its flat character design and the micro-situation of the bus waiting room, and This Will Not Be a Festival Film, autobiographical and auto-ironic, hilarious and insider meta-puppet-film by Julia Orlik.
From 6:30 pm, the Grand Competition - Short Film 6 follows, in which this year’s Oscar nominee Chilean Bestia (d. Hugo Covarrubias) can be seen. Through everyday actions, shaping of a ‘china’ face and a relationship with a dog, it manages to brilliantly portray Íngrid Olderöck, a secret service agent from the time of Pinochet’s dictatorship. The impression of china in this excellently narrated psychological-political thriller is achieved by a combination of polyurethane and crystal resin, the bodies of the dolls are made of fabric and wire, while the set design, which includes the infamous torture place Venda Sexy near Santiago, was made of cardboard.
Where the Winds Die (dir. Pejman Alipour) is a film about a chemical weapons attack on civilians in the city of Sardasht during the 1987 Iran-Iraq war, a combination of classical animation, rotoscopy and digital painting, particularly interesting by the formal decision to expound most of the story in the reflection of the river along which the camera moves by panning to the right. Visually spectacular postmodern tapestry, i.e. an Emaki manga (horizontal scroll) and epic-absurd bricolage Swallow the Universe by (Luis) Nieto uses the work of Japanese artist Daichi Mori whose motifs range from Mickey Mouse, through Shinto and mythology, to human and anthropomorphic animals.
Holy Holocaust (dir. Osi Wald, Noa Berman-Herzberg) is about the friendship of German black writer Jennifer Teege, who in 2008 accidentally learned that she was the biological granddaughter of Nazi criminal Amon Göth and wrote a hit book about it, with the director and screenwriter of this film, an Israeli woman from a family of Holocaust victims. Issues of transmitting trauma through generations, heritage, identity and history are refracted through film, made easier to watch thanks to bad jokes, meta-cinematic steps and poetic retro style of animation. Anna Vasof, on the other hand, with her special animation technique Non-Stop Stop-Motion self-reflexively contemplates the film form in the work Amazon Woman, while the famous Spanish art puppet duo Riba-Solanas in the black humoured Mr. Xifró’s Morning introduces obsession and shocking cruelty into the seemingly childish world of an anthropomorphic badger. Finally, Branko Farac’s local film Psychographic, produced by Zagreb Film, is also shown in this segment.
At 8 pm the &TD shows the second part of the golden age of the Zagreb School with the best films by Dragić, Bourek, Marušić, Dovniković and Zimonić. The 10 pm programme concludes with a cross-section of the Slovak female animation authors in a selection of the Fest Anča festival.
The SC Cinema starts its work at 11 am with World Panorama 3, after which works awarded the Festival Audience Award between 2001 and 2015 can be seen from 1 pm. From 15:30, the animation master Nedeljko Dragić will attend a retrospective screening of his animated films on the occasion of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The Student Film Competition 2 from 17:30 will be attended by Nicolas Verdier (Remains of the Future), Yanis Belaid, Eliott Benard, Carlos de Carvalho, Nicolas Mayeur, Simon Boucly (The Seine’s Tears), Alexander Gratzer (In the Upper Room), Morana Marija Vulić (Illuminated), Anja Paternoster and Ana Prebil (White, Black and True Love) and Tessa Moult-Milewska, Sychelle-Kristina Yanda and Giorgia Zarantonello (Curiosa).
From 8 pm the Grand Competition - Short Film 3 hosts Jina Yoon (Sensor Ship), Lars Henrik Andersson and Lisa Rydberg (A Long Protracted Scene of an Accident), Andrea Martignoni (Not My Bread), Liana Makaryan (Sugar Show), Marta Pajek (Impossible Figures and Other Stories I) and Laura Gonçalves (The Garbage Man). At 10 pm, the programme concludes with Florence Miailhe’s Crossing from the Grand Competition - Feature Film, a film of attractive oil painting on glass, ideal for mediating memories, past and fluid space-time transitions in this fictional, autobiographically intoned migrant allegory about a brother and sister fleeing a pogrom and becoming part of surrogate ‘family’ communities and artistically testifying to their experience.
New books by Chris Robinson, Milen Alempijević and Tim Villakainen will be presented in the Sek Hall from 5 pm, all in the presence of the authors. The Ottawa Festival Director and one of the most popular and provocative animation critics and popularisers Chris Robinson will present the collection Mad Eyed Misfits. Writings on Indie Animation in which he writes about the greats of independent animation. Milen Alempijević presents the collection Poslednje skretanje kod Albukerkija from the field of aesthetics, history and theory of authorial animation, in which he deals with the influences of ideology, jazz, advertising industry, economy, etc. on animated film from the point of view of various humanities disciplines. Timo Viljakainen’s book Behind the Eyes of the World is a photo-monograph that pays homage to the international animation community – since the 1990s the author has photographed animators, at festivals, in the studio, in nature, but always with eyes closed.
However, the Sek Hall remains open even when other spaces are asleep, because the festival guests will play and dance with the traditional Animators Jam Session from 10 pm, and then from midnight with the performance of The Bjorn Borg Dancimilation Experience.