Animated feature film, one of the most demanding film genres, and a favourite with the audience, will be represented by eight titles from Italy, Belgium, France, South Korea, Taiwan, China, Estonia, and the US at the up-coming World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2018.
A film that will certainly be of interest not only to devoted animation aficionados, but to fans of film in general, as well as dog lovers, is Isle of Dogs by the famed American director Wes Anderson. Taking place in a dystopian future, this stop-motion film follows a boy who sets off in search of his dog after the entire species is exiled from the Japanese islands. His long-awaited new feature Isle of Dogs has already been awarded at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it premiered as the opening film.
However, Isle of Dogs is not the only film about dogs in the Animafest feature film competition – there is also the anthology A Dog’s Life by Chang Yi, one of the leading figures of the Taiwanese new wave cinema. It is a touching tribute to the man’s faithful companion. On the other hand, the Italian directorial quartet Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, and Dario Sansone are arriving in Zagreb with Cinderella the Cat, a completely modernised version of the classic fairy-tale – dressed up as a dystopian SF and made in a creative style combining traditional and computer techniques with attractive musical numbers and lavish lighting.
For animation connoisseurs, the most eagerly awaited event of this year’s animated feature competition will doubtlessly be This Magnificent Cake! by Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels. Swaef and Roels are the authors of the Animafest Grand Prix and Cartoon d’Or winner, Oh Willy… – a film that swept the animation world with its touching story and masterful use of materials and textures.
Those that remember fondly the adventures of Ernest and Celestine, will be delighted to hear that this year’s competition features the new film by Benjamin Renner, The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. It is an anthology film based on the author’s illustrated books, with a nod to the Old French Le Roman de Renart.
Another stop-motion title in the Grand Competition – Feature Film is Captain Morten and the Spider Queen by Kaspar Jancis, Henry Nicholson and Riho Unt, which will have its world premiere at Animafest. Jancis, Nicholson and Unt bring us a coming-of-age allegory following an eight-year-old boy who is magically shrunken down to the size of an insect and forced to steer his favourite toy-ship.
The Man-Woman Case by Joëlle Oosterlinck and Anaïs Caura is on the other end of the genre spectrum. It is a French biographical crime mini-series about Eugene Falleni – a transgender man convicted of cruelly murdering his wife – and his earlier life marked by violence and the search for identity. Made in traditional, mostly black-and-white techniques combined with rotoscoping and some colour, the series won the Jury Award in Annecy.
Finally, the nostalgic Korean The Shower by Jae-huun Ahn focuses on the friendship and innocent love between a girl and a boy in the countryside. This melancholy coming-of-age etude doesn’t only offer insight into the poetics of the director – relying on traditional techniques and known for visually attractive films Green Days and The Road Called Life – but into the artistic sensibilities of this Far Eastern nation as well.