The day of the traditional Animafest picnic came to the general excitement of four hundred authors who will seek a break from exhibitions, lectures, performances, discussions, and even some films, with homemade beans. The animation family will not miss another exhibition – Lea Vidaković’s Family Portrait with installations from the film of the same name at HDLU Prsten Gallery. But while some artists are resting, others are awakened at the crack of dawn (by festival standards) by Rise & Shine – a forum for the development and presentation of animated films by young filmmakers featuring 11 projects from as many countries. Future directors and their producers at the MM Centre until late afternoon are mentored by Oscar winner Michaël Dudok de Wit and Pedro Rivero, a multiple Goya Award winner.
Waiting for the return of the excited animators, the cinemas are also opening a little later today. The SC Cinema opens at 15:30 with the Time for the Masters programme dedicated to new works by established directors whose work Animafest follows year after year. The artists represented, some of whom will attend the screening and talk to the audience after it, are Amy Kravitz, Dennis Tupicoff, Thomas Corriveau, Ana Nedeljković, Nikola Majdak, Andreas Hykade, Kristjan Holm, Simone Massi, Janet Perlman, Menno and Paul de Nooijer, Debra Solomon and Izabela Plucińska. A Q&A with the audience is scheduled after the Student Film Competition 3 (5:30 p.m.) and the Grand Competition Short Film 4 (8:00 p.m.) in the same cinema. The student team for the conversation with the audience will consist of Jezaja Uten (Burnt Cookies), Yu-Hsuan Teng (Ant Hotel), Ciara Kerr (Homemaker), Raz Merhav (Symbiosis), Vivien Hárshegyi (Above the Clouds), Rika Nakayama (Under a Shooting Contrail) and Arthur Sevestre (La Vita Nuova). Grand Competition Short Film 4 features: a new work by one of the leading artists of raw animation Stephen Irwin World to Roam, a highly hybrid but thoughtful allegory of parental anxieties; the revisionist view of Peter the Great in Sasha Svirsky’s film The Master of the Swamps, which emphasises absolutism, paternalism and the exploitation of the people; the intimate Iranian No. 28 by Zahra Salarnia, which in its split screens touches on family, growing up, but also the Islamic Revolution; Eeva by Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov, a black-humoured absurdist grotesque about a widow in an additionally refined recognisable style of the successful duo; Spanish torture horror Parallel by Sam Orti; the impressive ‘cracked’ Brazilian collage horror Cactus by Ricardo Kump about a man who finds himself motionless in a desert environment; French eye candy meta-film by Stephen Vuillemin A Kind of Testament about the artistic appropriation of private photos from social networks. After the screening, Sasha Svirsky, Lucija Mrzljak, Sam Orti and Ricardo Kump are with us. The evening at the SC ends at 10 p.m. with the fifth part of the science fiction theme programme “Speculative Animation – Return to the Post-Apocalypse” selected by Olga Bobrowska, who will personally introduce us to her selection, and we will be joined by Gerrit Kuge and Victor van Wetten (director and animator of the film Backup). In addition to the Polish classic Zdzisław Kudłe Cockroach. Blatta Orientalis there are also newer films by Julie Engass, Jeanne Boukrma, Studio Smack and others.
Speaking of Poland, the &TD Theatre from 15:30 enters a happy Thursday with a selection of contemporary women’s animation from that country with a rich artistic tradition. Those who did not do so at the previous editions of the festival can now get acquainted with the extraordinary works of Marta Pajek, Julia Orlik, Renata Gąsiorowska, Wiola Sowe, Pauline Ziółkowska, Anita Kwiatkowska Naqvi, Weronika Szyme and Karoline Specht, who is a guest at the screening along with Katarzyna Surmacz. The &TD continues to dance with Students 1 (5 p.m.) and Grand Competition Short Film 1 (6.30 p.m., the only screening of this fantastic selection, which also includes the Oscar-nominated Ice Merchants, for the general public). At 8 p.m., SF 2 “The World of Tomorrow” follows with old and modern classics such as Georges Méliès’ Trip to the Moon (restored colourised version) and Don Hertzfeldt’s World of Tomorrow. World Panorama 3 from 10 p.m. includes a conversation with the authors Nina Đukanović and Goran Ivanović (Son!) and Robin Klengel and Leonhard Müllner from the collective Total Refusal (Hardly Working).
In the spirit of unconventional Thursday, Café &TD, also at 10 p.m., will screen more than 100 films (!) from 20 countries from the nomadic festival of 7-second animated films without selection, Shcha 7 sec.
The Tuškanac cinema opens its doors at 17:30 with SF unit 3 (“Disasters”) with must-see titles such as Raoul Servais’ Cold War etching classic Operation X-70, the pandemic allegory The Days that (Never) Were by Pedro Rivero and Kevin Iglesias Rodriguez, the astronaut Black by Tomasz Popakul, wandering around a space station in first person 909 Departure and the original Skhizein by Jérémy Clapin. At 19:30 in Grand Competition Feature Film, the first screening of the new film by the Latvian master Signe Baumane, My Love Affair with Marriage. A partially autobiographical, feminist-satirical musical about the coming-of-age of an artist through two marriages and social systems and multiple partner relationships follows the story of love and patriarchy, marital and institutional violence, identity and conventions, pressures and conformity, ideology and individualism. Baumane’s usual procedure is complemented by educational behavioural-neurological segments in which a personalised brain cell explains the biochemical processes of the heroine’s emotional reactions. The main vocal role is performed by Dagmara Domińczyk, famous for the series Succession, and 24 songs, among which the winged choir of village women-harpies singing about subjugation, marriage and childbirth, are especially striking, are composed by Kristian Sensini.
At 21:30 on the Tuškanac Summer Stage, and in case of bad weather at the same time in the Tuškanac Cinema, there is the second and last screening of Pierre Földes’ Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, an adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s stories.