Animafest's many guests of honour will surely remember Thursday, 8 June by the traditional animation picnic away from the city. However, the audience will not 'go hungry' until they return in the afternoon – Student Competition 2 (11am, Europa) and 3 (5.30pm, Tuškanac), Children's Film Competition 2 (11.30am, Kinoteka) and 3 (9.30am, Kinoteka), as well as the Cartoon d'Or section (11am, Tuškanac) with five films nominated for the European prize for best animated film are scheduled for today. The latter selection includes the post-apocalyptic Peripheria by David Coqard-Dassault, a history drama short-listed for the Oscars, Under Your Fingers (2015) by Marie-Christine Courtès about three women in a French camp in Indochina, as well as the winner, Yùl and the Snake by Gabriel Harel. The Spanish film Alike by Daniel Martínez and Rafa Cano Méndez reminds of the finest of Pixar's short works and depicts a father-son relationship, while the Danish film Machine by Sunit Parekh-Gaiheda innovatively uses CGI referring to stop-motion and focuses on one couple's relationship.
A programme connecting comic book and animation is a must-see – primarily film made by Croatian comic authors who tried out animation as well (Europa, 3.30pm), such as Milan Trenc, Darko Kreč, Joško Marušić, Nedeljko Dragić, Krešimir Zimonić, Danijel Žeželj and others. Another similar treat is a selection of short comic book adaptations curated by Daniel Šuljić (Tuškanac, 1pm), Jens Meinrenken (Tuškanac, 8pm) and Amid Amidi (Tuškanac, 10pm). At 3.30pm Tuškanac is also showing the best films in a programme of New Talents, Višegrad Animation Forum, and at the same time at Kinoteka a rerun of Plympton's Revengeance is scheduled.
However, a real explosion is not expected until afternoon, with some of Animafest's central events. At 5.30pm Europa is hosting Oscar winner Michaël Dudok de Wit and his touching family/love/Robinsonian fantasy The Red Turtle, made in association with Hayao Miyazaki's famous Ghibli Studio. Although the great Miyazaki did not work on this film, another Japanese animation legend was the film's artistic producer – Isao Takahata, the author of Grave of the Fireflies. This collaboration and other aspects of making his feature masterpiece will be the subject of a Q&A with de Wit, Animafest's winner with Father and Daughter (2002), after the screening.
The Grand Competition – Short Film 4, coming up immediately after The Red Turtle at Europa (8pm) includes the world premiere of Airport by the Swiss-Croatian animator Michaela Müller, a master of drawing and glass painting, using this technique to describe an anxiety-ridden airport fuss, subtly narrating with colours and showing why she is considered one of the finest representatives of this demanding animation method all over Europe. Europa will close its doors for the day after a screening of another Grand Competition – Feature Film entry – Where It Floods by Joel Benjamin, a film portraying a head of the family from the Midwest trying to find a balance between his family and a flooded land. This screening too will be attended by the director, who will take part in a Q&A session afterwards.
The last chance to see the controversial Chinese gangster neo-noir Have a Nice Day!, removed from Annecy due to political pressures, is tonight at 10pm at Kinoteka.
At 7pm, Pakito Bolino, one of the founders of the Marseille-based indie collective Le Dernier Cri, is having a silkscreen workshop at Art Park, followed by a visual journey to hell: the film Savage Religions – an absurd mixture of styles by 30 artists from 11 countries, inspired by paintings for La Major cathedral. Blasphemous, obscene and animanarchic, Savage Religions are an inevitable treat for animation adventurists and lovers of unlimited cinematic horizons.
At the end of the day, the already mentioned Oscar winner Michaël Dudok de Wit will sit at a piano, and other animators will also grab their instruments for the Jam Session. Indeed – a Thursday to remember.
Photos of Wednesday at Animafest can be found HERE.