Honouring the winner of Animafest’s Lifetime Achievement Award 2014, one of the most respectable living international animators, Yuri Norstein (1941, USSR), Animafest 2014 in its Masters of Animation section showcases a retrospective of his works.
The most famous among them is definitely The Tale of Tales (1979), declared the best animate film of all times by animation experts twice (1984 in Los Angeles and 2002 in Zagreb), and in 1980 it also won Animafest’s Grand Prix. This work of recognisable nostalgia and powerful lyricality uses a broad range of techniques characteristic of animated film, as well as those from other audiovisual arts, eternally stunning the viewers with its freshness and emotional impression. No less important is Hedgehog in the Fog (1975), which found its place even in the five-minute overall summary of Russian art, science and culture at the recent Sochi Olympics. Norstein’s work is included in all the anthologies of the most important works of the second half of the 20th century, and the animation world acknowledges it as one of the greatest achievements.
Animafest 2014 audience will also see 25th – The First Day (1968), inspired by the Soviet avant-garde, as well as the animation spectacle The Battle of Kerzhenets (1971), based on the famous composer Rimsky-Korsakov’s work and the Russian medieval tradition. The Battle of Kerzhenets, directed by Norstein and Ivan Ivanov-Vano was the very first Animafest Grand Prix winner, back in 1972. Outstanding and still well received works are The Fox and the Hare (1973) and The Heron and the Crane (1974), which display the recognisable handwriting of a master who unites the folklore, fairy tale and fable tradition with a Slavic disposition and innovative techniques into an original whole.
The best proof of Norstein’s perfectionism is the fact that since 1981 he has been working on his life work – an adaptation of Gogol’s short story The Overcoat. In the meantime he published a series of books and essays, founded the SHAR studio and, becoming a great role model, dedicated himself to the education of younger generations.
The Animafest 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award has been granted to Norstein by the Festival Council consisting of: Darko Kreč (president), Vesna Dovniković, Pavao Štalter, Nikica Gilić, Marko Meštrović, Željko Sarić and Milan Blažeković.