It's Wednesday, 7 June, and Animafest has really got things going. Among the many attractive events is a retrospective of the Dutch director, musician and visual artist Rosto (3.30pm, Europa) in the section Masters of Animation. Instead of a Q&A, Rosto will be having a masterclass on Friday, 9 June at 10.30am at KIC. Inspired by dark, gothic and metal music, Rosto's animation has always drawn inspiration from surrealism, horror and a combination of different techniques. Since music is also in the background of all of his films, Rosto collaborated with many international musicians, such as The Metropole Orkest, The Residents and The Wreckers. Music and the protagonists of the latter band inspired him at the beginning of his tetralogy, so far counting three works: Thee Wreckers: No place Like Home (2008), Lonely Bones (2013) amd Splintertime (2015). Rosto's other animation pieces include The Rise and Fall of the Legendary Anglobilly Feverson, his first significant breakthrough, Jona/Tomberry (2005) and in particular The Monster of Nix (2011), his most ambitious project – a 30-minute animated musical which took him 6 years to make in three countries, with voice overs by Terry Gilliam and Tom Waits, among others.
Wednesday also brings the first chance to see feature hit films: The Red Turtle (Kinoteka, 8pm) – a Robinsonian, family love fantasy of spectacular visual qualities by the Oscar winner Michaël Dudok de Wit, made in association with Ghibli Studio; Revengeance by the icon of American animation, Bill Plympton (10pm, Europa), a humorous and exciting tale from underground LA using his idiosyncratic caricature style; and My Dogs Jinjin and Akida – a Koren family film of a demanding theme (6.30pm, Europa, 10pm, Kinoteka). The theme bloc Comic Book and Animation screens a selection of short films by the Berlin-based curator and art historian Jens Meinrenken (Tuškanac, 10pm).
The Grand Competition – Short Film 3 (Europa, 8pm) includes the world premiere of The Last Quest by the Croatian master of puppet animation, Božidar Trkulja, a humorous fantasy with a classic genre array of character, also the first film produced by Zagreb Film's stop-motion studio. The same selection includes: the anti-utopian SF I Want Pluto to be a Planet Again, a Swedish stop-motion of stunning textures Forgotten Reason, The Hunt by Alexey Alekseev, aiming at lovers of classic gag cartoon, and a melancholy dedication to mother in sand drawing, My Mom's Bonkers. Another entry in this category is Martin Cries, taking place within the popular video game Grand Theft Auto.
At 11am, Europa cinema is screening the Student Competition 3. In terms of originality, attention should be paid to the Israeli film In Other Words, a unique combo of live action and animation to portray deconstructed father and daughter characters, as well as the Japanese work Roll Call, whose unusual choice of perspective and material applied to the puppets outstandingly conveys student stage fright. Camouflage follows – a timeless surreal piece combining Old East motifs and anti-utopian contemporaneity with hybrids of people and animals, and an allegorical garden in bloom drawing visual inspiration from Ottoman art and Hieronymus Bosch. Petra Balekić's "The Stranger" in My Head was inspired by Camus' The Stranger, but its real focus is on the relativity of memory.
The Hungarian film Volcano Island, however, uses bright post-impressionist and primitive colours to symbolically comment on passionate, destructive and possessive male-female relationships. The Polish film Pussy focuses on a revolted separation of a vagina from its owner. Gokurosama follows the adventures of a Japanese shopping mall employee before working hours, and Juliette is a Belgian macabre horror erotica.
Tuškanac cinema at 1pm reruns the Grand Competition – Short Film 1, the programme that opened the festival, as well as Grand Competition – Short Film 4 with films like Airport by the Swiss-Croatian master of glass painting Michaela Müller, Grey Noise by the famous authors of Panic in the Village Aubier and Patar, a Mexican stop-motion horror story Cerulia and Marta Pajek's feminist Impossible Figures and Other Stories II. The same cinema at 6.30pm screens Student Competition 2 with another feminist film, Penelope, contrasting the study of masculinity Play Boys, as well as the absurdist 678, the humorous educational film The Clitoris, in which one of the 'leading roles' is played by Sigmund Freud, and the unconventional winner of 2014 Dušan Vukotić Award Sawako Kabuki with her latest film Summer's Puke is Winter's Delight. The French film The Table very much resembles the golden days of Zagreb School.
At 8pm, Tuškanac cinema is hosting this year's first Animafest special screening – the film Birds like Us by Faruk Šabanović, the first Bosnian and Herzegovinian feature animation, the winner of special mention for development at Animafest's 2007 pitching forum. The film was produced by Adnan Ćuhara and completed this year, with voice overs by Jeremy Irons, Alicia Vikander and Jim Broadbent.
Children's Film Competitions 2 and 3 are scheduled at Kinoteka at 9.30am and 11.30am. Chilloutka hall and discussions about animation and psychology and animation and new media continue, wrapping up the symposium Animafest Scanner IIII. At 3.30pm Tuškanac will host a retrospective of The Animation Workshop, a school from Viborg, Denmark, the leading animation institution in the country, launched in the 1980s in former military barracks.
At 6.30pm, the French Institute Mediatheque hosts the promotions of three publishing endeavours: the latest books by Maureen Furniss (A New History of Animation), American animation historian, the winner of the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animation Studies, and Ben Mitchell (Independent Animation: Developing, Producing and Distributing Your Animated Films), animation director, comic book author and executive editor of Skwigly website. Simon Bogojević Narath is presenting his graphic novel Saturn's Circle. At 10pm our open air event at Art Park presents the Japanese experimental filmmaker Makino Takashi and at 11pm another festival after-party awaits at Story Supercafe.
Photos of Tuesday at Animafest can be found HERE.