For the second year in a row, the traditional Animafest picnic for guests of honour from the world of animation takes place on Thursday in the Botanical Garden. During their leisure time, the projectors are at standstill, but only until the afternoon. At 3.30pm the SC Cinema immediately goes ‘hard’ with Ralph Bakshi’s critically acclaimed 1973 film Heavy Traffic. This mildly surreal and psychedelic drama about a New York wannabe comic book author is grounded in the milieus of Brooklyn’s Italian, Jewish, and black community marked by crime, petty business, violence, and prostitution. With a frame motif / metaphor of pinball, a copious dose of black humour and grotesque, as well as an interweaving of animation, photography, feature and archival film more skilfully than ever before or after, Bakshi paints the social decay of the era confirming himself as a par excellence artist of the 70s. Scoring after Fritz the Cat a second consecutive feature-length animated hit, Bakshi became a Disney of adult animation and a legend.
From 5.30 pm, the main screening of the Student Film Competition 3 is scheduled, after which the authors Angel Wu (Drawn Undrew Draw), Sasha Lee (Misery Loves Company), Nina Winiger (Huis Clos), Sunčana Brkulj (The Tower), Marek Naprstek and Zuzana Kucerova (Ant Hill) and Ronni Shalev, Alon Sharabi and Hod Adler (Gen Tree) are hosted for a Q&A session by Nino Kovačić.
At 8 pm for the Grand Competition Short Film (4), long queues for tickets are expected just like the previous days. The screening is attended by Dotan Moreno (We Were a Sterile Bomb), Lucija Mrzljak (The Stork) and Daria Kopiec (Your Own Bullshit) whose works are very diverse, but connected by relationships: queer in the Israeli urban wasteland, grotesque between a man-bird and a dissatisfied wife and family-parental in the manner of a detached musical (with a rare combination of stop motion and cut out). Alexis Hunot talks to the directors after the screening, and the slot also offers an excellent, uniquely focalized Monachopsis, Martina Scarpelli’s new feminist black and white video A Little Too Much and, of course, the legendary Joanna Quinn’s Affairs of the Art – new humorous work in her recognisable style and with everyone’s favourite heroine Beryl.
The last screening at SC from 10 pm belongs to the Grand Competition Feature Film and Gabriel Verdugo Soto’s independent project Elulu. A superstring theory with a classic assumption of love that transcends ontological levels (making its effect on the viewer stronger) is the sci-fi premise of this quiet, tender, and emotional film about returning home and childhood memories of a prematurely deceased mother. Seamless flashbacks and chronotopic bouncing between the house and the impressively mediated nature, slow and fast motion and painting motif are carried out with a mixture of techniques – Soto uses a combination of 2D and 3D, photography, feature film and stop animation in the programmes Blender, GIMP and Krita to tell the story without dialogue of an unemployed physicist and the adventures of his diminished mother with cats and multidimensional beings. Gabriel Verdugo Soto will discuss his seven-year-long work on the film with the audience after the screening.
At the &TD Theatre, the Student Film Competition 1 will be replayed from 4 pm, and then the GC Short Film 1 (18:00) – this is the only screening open to the public of this slot from the Animafest 2021 opening ceremony and therefore a must see for Animafest connoisseurs. Animators-lovers are on at 8 pm, and World Panorama 1 is scheduled for 10 pm.
Thursday is also a happy day for Animafest viewers aged 11 to 14, because Tuškanac belongs to them from 5 pm when the Films for Children Competition begins, which will last all weekend (culminating on Saturday). This segment of films for schoolchildren offers stimuli to think about migration, attitudes towards animals and nature. The films in a thoughtful way open an insight into youthful self-perception, autism, eating disorders, the importance of home and family. There is also the story of a girl with a microscope and a cloud maker who seeks his heir. Young viewers will also be able to talk to the authors of the films Matildaand the Spare Head (Ignas Meilūnas) and The Cloudmaker (Hanna van Niekerk). The conversation will be hosted by Višnja Vukašinović.
At 7 pm, the poetic documentary of the new wave sensibility Archipelago will sail for the second and last time on the St. Lawrence river. Tuškanac from 9 pm offers the second part of the films by animators who mix private and professional – this time it is about John and Faith Hubley (The Hole), Noémie Marsily and Carl Roosens (I Don't Feel Anything Anymore), Ana Nedeljković and Nikola Majdak Jr. (Rabbitland), Alison Snowden and David Fine (George and Rosemary), Ivana Bošnjak and Thomas Johnson (Imbued Life) and Vera Neubauer and Phil Mulloy (Mummy’s Curse Returns).