Day four at the 28th World Festival of Animated Film brings a somewhat more casual schedule for Animafest’s 250 guests, on the traditional picnic since the early morning hours. A mixer at the relaxed atmosphere of the Kezele estate is a chance for small talks about animation and many other festival daily topics, as well as for a much needed rest from screenings, exhibitions, side events and evening parties. However, for the festival audience the Thursday schedule is just as intense as other days. Kinoteka will, as usual, be crowded by little interested animation lovers’ heads, starting from 9.30am with Children’s Film Competition and the ‘On Music’ Family Programme. However, at 5.30pm, the young audience will be joined by adults, fans of Benjamin Renner’s unique visual and narrative style. The author of Ernest and Celestine is presenting his new feature – a humorous omnibus of attractive visuality Big Bad Fox and Other Tales. At 8pm, adult audience will have a chance to see the segment ‘Blood!!!’ from the horror theme programme, followed by the last chance for the nostalgic and visually lavish Korean film Shower, and the transgender topic told in a reduced but impressive style in The Man-Woman Case.
At 11am, Tuškanac cinema screens the films nominated for the Emile – European Animation Award, such as Merlot, The Burden, Peripheria and The Last Job on Earth, a must see modern hit films in different techniques. At 1pm, the same venue screens the best films in the history of Lithuanian animation in the Baltic Focus segment, followed by another best of – this time the Irish Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology (IADT). At 7.30pm another screening of Student Competition 3 is scheduled, this time followed by a Q&A with Caori Murata, Bo-seong Gim, Jenny Jokela, Veronica Solomon, Angela Stempel and Paulina Ziółkowska. The 8pm slot is reserved for another horror theme segment ‘Dread in Your Head’, followed by another Animafest 2018 special treats, a screening for the lovers of anime.
At 10pm, Tuškanac cinema is hosting an exclusive screening of Perfect Blue by Satoshi Kon – a psychological horror about a pop singer turned actress, who is facing the challenges of a new job, a mysterious stalker and losing touch with reality. This is undoubtedly one of the most important anime films of all times. Inspired by the ambivalent line between reality and imagination in Philip K. Dick’s novels, the film launched the career of its untimely departed director and influenced the work of many film and music artists like Darren Aronofsky and Madonna, attracting significant attention from the critics, first of all among feminist theorists who read it as a piece on identity, gaze and performance. The film also has traits of Hitchcock and it is usually interpreted as a critical examination of contemporary Japanese consumer society. In short, Perfect Blue is definitely a must see.
At 11am Europa cinema is screening the Student Competition 2, followed by the World Panorama 1, which should not be missed by the lovers of modern animation scene, definitely because of the latest film by Lorenz Wunderle Coyote. The fifth horror segment at 3.30pm is screening the ‘Croatian Bestiary’ segment – a selection of films showing how the Zagreb School authors of all generations successfully inspired themselves by this genre, with titles such as Mask of Red Death by Štalter and Ranilović, The Cat by the recently departed Zlatko Bourek, Fisheye by Joško Marušić, The Fly by Jutriša and Marks, as well as Pavlinić’s The House of the Plague and the more recent titles by Marko Meštrović (Silencium) and Simon Bogojević Narath (Leviathan). At 5.30pm the line-up of videos selected by Daniel Šuljić can be heard at the cinema (their second presentation takes place at Swanky Monkey Garden), ideally to chill out before the starry night at Europa cinema. At 8pm after the Grand Competition 4, the audience will have a chance to chat with Igor Grubić (How Steel Was Tempered), the producer of the Oscar-nominated Negative Space Edwina Liard, Matthias Philips (Wildebeest), Sasha Svirsky and Nadezhda Svirskaia (Lavo), Sergiu Negulici and Ioana Nicoara (The Blissful Accidental Death).
At 10pm another crown jewel of Animafest follows – the Croatian premiere, and probably one of the only two Croatian screenings of Isle of Dogs by the famous American director Wes Anderson. Taking place in a dystopian future, this stop-motion film portrays the boy named Atari, searching for his pet Spots after the canine species was banished to the Trash Island with the help of a pack of new friends. Isle of Dogs already won an award at the Berlin Film Festival. Although his visually and narratively unique live action films already earned him many Oscar nominations, Wes Anderson is in no way a beginner in animation. His Fantastic Mr Fox is one of the biggest animation hits of the last decade, and Anderson resorted to stop motion in his acclaimed live action films as well, such as Grand Hotel Budapest. The characters were dubbed by Edward Norton, Bryan Cranston, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton and Yoko Ono. Animafest’s audience will also have a chance to hang out with them in virtual reality in the Grič Tunnel. After the screening, a Q&A with the lead animator Kim Keukeleire will follow. Kim also worked on Fantastic Mr Fox, and on Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie and Claude Barras’s My Life as a Zucchini. The second screening of Isle of Dogs, for which tickets will also be charged, is scheduled for Saturday, 10pm at Tuškanac Summer Cinema. In 2014, great attention at Animafest was attracted by Adam Wright, an expert in animatronics and special effects, who worked with the same directors and on same films as Keukeleire. One of the most successful women on the contemporary animation scene, which is still quite unwelcoming to feature film women authors, Kim Keukeleire is today undoubtedly a bigger celebrity than the legendary Wright.
‘Three Nights of Complete Horror’ at Art Park end today with ‘Creepy Animation Night’ at 10pm, selected by Mihai Mitrica, the director of Anim’est festival from Bucharest. At 6pm, the French Institute Mediatheque is presenting the latest project by Amulet Studio and Darko Bakliža &Black&White – a 13-episode animation series in an intriguing black and white visual style, based on plays with visual perception, loads of humour and getting to know different world cultures.
Thursday’s festival party moves to the newly designed venue, The Garden Bar & Kitchen in 12 Preradović Street.