The 25th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb opens on Tuesday, 9 June at 19.30, Europa Cinema. The opening night schedules as many as eight short animated films of different themes and techniques, announcing the extraordinary diversity of this festival edition. This was presented at the media conference by the festival’s artistic director Daniel Šuljić, producer Vjera Matković, executive producer Paola Orlić and guests: Ante Vrdelja, representative of CGDA, Alemka Lisinski, main Croatian programmer of Rendez-vous, festival of France in Croatia, and via Skype, festival guests Max Hattler, member of the Student and Commissioned Film Jury, and Tomm Moore, the author of Song of the Sea and speaker at Animafest Pro.
More than 300 outstanding short and feature films, including world premieres and already awarded films, could be divided into four themes, as Daniel Šuljić and Vjera Matković suggested at the conference: films by great filmmakers, feelgood films, animated innovations and experiments and socio-political films.
“The films by great filmmakers include the short film The Masterby Riho Unt, a combination of puppet film and CGI, a story about a dog whose master was replaced by a capricious monkey. Estonian veteran Unt directed it with great attention paid to the symbolism of details and obvious inclination to allegory. Another short film is Pilots on the Way Home, a postmodern adaptation ofLittle Prince by Priit and Olga Pärn, or the bittersweet story of astronaut friends We Can’t Live Without Cosmos by Konstantin Bronzit. The authors include Paul Driessen and his new short film Cat Meets Dog, in which a manlike dog and its alter ego and a manlike cat and its alter ego meander through alternative realities which mutually intertwine.
Good entertainment might come in the form of Oscar-nominated short film A Single Life (Job, Joris & Marieke), about life as a song (record) that cannot be rewound. Legendary American filmmaker Bill Plympton also has a new film in the programme, the feature Cheatin’, about a man and a woman who embark on a romance after a chance meeting. Another feelgood is the short film Slaves of the Rave by William Garratt, with a lucid portrayal of different audiences that differently respond at concerts of their favourite musicians. Another one to mention is Me and My Moulton by Oscar winner Torill Kove, about a teenager’s frustrations caused by her proto-hipster family,” said Daniel Šuljić.
Vjera Matković underlined films from other two thematic groups. “Among the films using innovations and experiment, there are World of Tomorrow by the now legendary American Don Hertzfeldt, made by collaging CGI backgrounds and very simple drawings. Allison Schulnik in her short film Eager presents a traditional cinematic stop-motion and clay animation ballet. Croatian filmmakers Tomislav Babić and Dalibor Barić made the feature film experiment – Unknown Energies, Unidentified Feelings – in which they computer-processed film and photography to create an impressive visual collage telling a pseudo-genre tale of biased, inner sense of the world.
Great many films focus on politics and society. For instance, Mister Lonely by Jin Sung Min, about bullying the main character because of his painted fingernails. Zlatko Bourek and Pavao Štalter in their film Wiener Blut focused on the persecution of Jews in World War II, and the same war is the central point of Mizuho Nishikubo’s feature film Giovanni’s Island, based on a true story. Director Signe Baumane and her film Rocks in My Pockets depict the Soviet and subsequent Nazi invasion in Latvia, intertwining a personal tale with history, backed by a feminist commentary.
Jalal Maghout’s activist film Suleima focuses on a participant in the Syrian revolution, and Sarah Saidan’s Beach Flags, similar in style to the famous Persepolis, speaks about the preparations of Iranian women for swimming competition, as well as a broader social context in Iran,” said Vjera Matković.
Check the photos from press conference HERE!