The 30th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2020, the most important Croatian film festival and one of the four leading animation festivals in the world, begins tonight at 19:30 with the official opening ceremony at the SC Cinema. This year, in its autumn edition, Animafest will bring distinguished guests of honour in Zagreb and host thousands of viewers and visitors at cinemas, galleries and other festival venues.
Along with other festival guests who arrive in Zagreb, the attendance at the Animafest 2020 opening was confirmed by the Head of the City Department for Culture, City of Zagreb, Milana Vuković Runjić, who is officially opening the festival, Minister of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia Nina Obuljen Koržinek, Managing Director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre Christopher Peter Marcich, State Secretary Krešimir Partl, embassy representatives of several European countries and other guests of honour. Among them will be the winner of the Animafest 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award Georges Schwizgebel, who is celebrating his 76th birthday today. The award will be presented to him by the President of the Festival Council Margit Antauer Buba, while the award for the best animation school will be received, on behalf of the Polish School of Film and Television in Łódź by Joanna Agata Jasińska-Koronkiewicz.
Due to spatial limitations imposed by the epidemiological measures, the opening ceremony is intended exclusively for the protocol guests, but the rich film and exhibition programmes of the festival are already in full blow. Animafest’s Children and Youth Programme began last Saturday at Kinoteka and Metropolis, and today at noon the exhibition of Schwizgebel’s works The Master of Poetic Visions was opened at the Kranjčar Gallery, available until the festival closing (ceremonial opening is set for Tuesday at 6pm). ALU AR, an augmented reality application, a project of the Department of Animation and New Media of the Zagreb Academy of Fine Art, made in association with Mašinerija, is set at the SC Cinema lobby. This is a collective student project mentored by Animafest’s artistic director Daniel Šuljić.
After the official opening at the SC Cinema, Grand Competition Short Film 1 section will be screened, including the Chinese film Six by Xu An and Xi Chen, a black and white philosophical triptych with traditional Chinese motifs examining the cyclic concept of time and male and female relationships; the outstanding stop-motion piece Ties by Dina Velikovskaya using black wire for an impressive, emotional and technically exceptional metaphor about leaving home and the ties that are not so easy to break; Andreas Hykade’s new film about faith, obsession and coming-of-age at the Marian Pilgrimage point Altötting; Murder in the Cathedral by Matija Pisačić and Tvrtko Rašpolić, a queer detective, subversive and sparklingly referential humoresque set in the fin de siècle London, brought to life thanks to Boban Savić GETO’s illustrations; a new cross-platform, absurdist meditative project by Atsushi Wada My Exercise; stylistically eclectic animated documentary Souvenir Souvenir by Bastien Dubois focusing on the family memories of an Algerian War of Independence veteran. The Q&A with the filmmakers will be hosted by Animafest’s ongoing collaborator Alexis Hunot. Grand Competition Short Film 1 is scheduled for Animafest visitors for Thursday, 1 October at 6:30pm at &TD Theatre.
At 10pm the SC Cinema is hosting the Focus on Hungary programme, screening Marcell Jankovics’s feature film Son of the White Mare, an adaptation of ancient legends of the early nomadic tribes of Huns and Avars. As a radical example of ornamental style, this film, a fantasy and adventure, captivates with its dreamlike world composed of uninterrupted metamorphoses, bright colours and charming motifs. An introduction into this 1981 masterpiece will come in the form of another film by Jankovics, the earlier Oscar-nominated Sisyphus. Tickets for Focus on Hungary are on sale.