FOCUS ON HUNGARY | Focus on Hungary 1: Contemporary Female Animation
Fresh and Striking: Hungarian Animation in the Past and Today
This 6-part film overview will provide the audience an impressive depiction of the socialist era and contemporary Hungarian animation scene.
The history of Hungarian animation stretches back over 100 years. So-called ‘trick film’ production turned professional in the mid-1930s: founded by János Halász/John Halas, Félix Kassowitz and Gyula Macskássy, Coloriton Studio was the first workshop at that time to produce animated commercials.
After the Sovietization of Hungary, similarly to each of the Eastern Bloc countries, the state became the sole patron of culture. Pannónia Film Studio became the single production studio to be maintained mainly for children’s films, public-service and educational productions. During the 1960-80s, animation film production reached a peak (both in terms of quantity and quality), and therefore it is often called the golden age of Hungarian animation. Whereas series film production starting in the 1960s, and feature film production getting off the ground in the early 1970s established the financial foundations for Pannónia, it was thanks to short films that animation film art underwent a renewal in the 1960s. The intellectual caricature parable became the dominant genre of the decade, while the innovative design language of neo avant-garde painting, West European advertising graphics and East European poster art also influenced more experimental-type animations.
After the change of regime in 1989, small production companies took the lead in Hungarian animation (e.g. Varga Studio, Kecskemétfilm, KEDD, Studio Baestarts), while today, on the global level, most artistic animated films are produced at various educational institutions. In the past ten years, universities began to play roles similar to those that have been played by animation studios in the past. The animation department of Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (MOME Anim) looks back on a 40-year-long tradition of education. Recently, the spotlight has been taken by the female graduates of MOME Anim, whose films are probably the most striking from a visual and a thematic point of view in contemporary Hungarian animation.
Anna Ida Orosz, Curator, animation film historian