The 31st World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2021, the most important Croatian film festival and one of the four leading animation festivals in the world, starts tonight at 7pm with the official opening ceremony at the SC Cinema. Animafest will attract over 150 foreign guests of honour to Zagreb, screen almost 350 films and attract thousands of spectators and visitors who are yearning for works of art and festival excitement to cinemas, exhibition spaces and other venues.
The representative of the Mayor of the City of Zagreb, Mr. Tomislav Tomašević, Deputy Mayor Luka Korlaet, who will officially open the festival, and the State Secretary at the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, Krešimir Partl, announced their arrival at the opening ceremony of Animafest 2021, as well as the director of the Croatian Audiovisual Centre Christopher Peter Marcich, representatives of embassies of several countries and other guests of honour. The Animafest 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ralph Bakshi will address the audience via video link, while the Best Animation School Award will be received on behalf of the School of Art and Design in Lucerne by the founder of its animation department, Otto Alder. The Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animation Studies will be presented to Xavier Kawa-Topor and the ASIFA Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Art of Animation will also be awarded. The ASIFA Award will be presented by Vesna Dovniković, Secretary General of ASIFA.
Due to spatial constraints imposed by epidemiological measures, the opening ceremony is intended exclusively for protocol guests, but the festival’s rich film and exhibition events for all the visitors are in full swing. Already last weekend, the first Animafest open-air event of the year took place in the courtyard of the Academy of Fine Arts, where visitors enjoyed graduation films from the history of this university and the best films of the past Animafest, as well as the excellent atmosphere and interactions under the open sky (photos available here), while due to unfavourable weather forecast, the screening of Bakshi’s Fritz the Cat was moved to the &TD Theatre (free screening on Saturday 12 June at 10pm). The weekend was also marked by films for the youngest from the Family Programme and the international Children’s Film Competition, which were screened free of charge at the cultural centres of Zagreb’s neighbourhoods.
Today’s film program includes the Grand Competition Short Film 1 which is scheduled as part of the official opening. To be screened: The Girl Who Stood Still by Joana Toste about the title character who doesn’t want to move away from the pedestrian crossing without her mother, Can You See Them? – the latest work by Bruno Razum and Zagreb film’s Stop Animation Studio about visions of a schizophrenic boy, a gorgeous desert-family film Trona Pinnacles by Mathilde Parquet, an ecological stop motion parable, Paul Bush’s Orgiastic Hyper-Plastic, a perspective and light-wise innovative Daniel Gray’s Hide, a nostalgic found footage Grey to Green by Marcos Sánchez, and the animated documentary Maalbeek about the terrorist attack in the Brussels underground by Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis. After the screening, the filmmakers will be interviewed by Animafest’s regular collaborator, the French animation populariser and journalist Alexis Hunot. A screening of the Grand Competition Short Film 1 for all Animafest visitors is scheduled for Thursday, June 10 at the &TD Theatre at 6 pm.
At 10 pm at the SC Cinema, the Polish feature-length autobiographical grotesque Kill It and Leave This Town (screening open to general public), which resonated strongly not only with the animation, but also with the entire film community. A graphic and emotionally intense and captivating film about memories, family, body, dying and Poland in the 1970s, animation devotees shouldn’t miss it.
From the programme of the Grand Competition Feature Film, on Monday at 7 pm in Tuškanac Cinema you can see the touching Chilean Elulu, an independent project by Gabriel Verdugo Soto that relies on the SF premise of interdimensional beings to speak up about a prematurely deceased mother, home and science and art shaping a young man’s identity. The first slot of the theme programme about love entitled “When We Met” is scheduled at the same cinema for 9 pm. Its broad range includes the fantastic classic by the unsurpassed silhouette animation artist Lotte Reiniger Papageno screened from a 35mm tape, the black-and-white One Day by Marie Paccou, as well as many humorous titles like the recent Hello, Stranger by Kirsten Lepore, All My Relationships by Joanna Priestley, the British John and Karen or the Russian film by the esteemed Konstantin Bronzit Lavatory – Love Story. Along with films from Sweden and Japan, “When We Met” concludes by reflecting on the ‘female position’ from the brush and pencil of the contemporary animated feminism champion Marta Pajek Impossible Figures and Other Stories II. Tickets for all today’s screenings at Kino Tuškanac are available for sale.
As of today, the exhibitions Behind the Scenes 3 with works by the authors from the Grand Competition Short Film and, for the first time, the Student Film Competition are open to the public. The students ‘hang’ in the SC Gallery, while exclusive sketches, drawings, models, puppets, etc. by their accomplished colleagues can be seen at the ULUPUH Gallery, every day from 10 am to 8 pm. The curator of Behind the Scenes 3 is the producer of Animafest Paola Orlić, and admission is free. The opening for the guests of the part of the exhibition dedicated to the Grand Competition Short Film with the participation of the author is scheduled for Tuesday at 13:30 (ULUPUH), while students will present their works on Wednesday at the same time (SC Gallery). In the lobby of the SC Cinema, a group exhibition of ALU students called ALU AR 2 – Augmented Reality Application was set up. It is a project of the Department of Animation and New Media created under the auspices and in cooperation with the company Mašinerija Ltd., and carried out as part of classes in the Multimedia Exercises course in at the 1st year of graduate animation course under the mentorship of Daniel Šuljić. Visitors can find stickers with illustrations, scan QR codes, download the application and run six different animations by Eugen Bilankov, Nikolina Žabčić, Ana Despot, Filip Ćulić, Marija Gorupić, Luka Leov and Anna Saluzzo at the festival locations.