World Festival of Animated Film /
3 to 8 June 2024
World Festival of Animated Film / 3 to 8 June 2024
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Kaleidoscope of Friendship And Imagination: Animafest 2024 Children and Youth Programme

The international Films for Children and Youth Competition, with 34 works classified according to their suitability for different age groups, is the central attraction of the rich Animafest 2024 Children and Youth Programme. This competition, regularly followed by Q&As with filmmakers and moderated by experienced film literacy lecturers, will explore the themes of coexistence with nature (harmony and disharmony, beauty, strength and importance of ecosystems), as well as those of mental health, music, dance and play, and coping with life’s challenges. Works of various techniques, styles, music and genres (classic fairy tales and modern adaptations, fantasy and lyrical titles with human, animal and imaginary heroes) bring inspiring stories about happiness, closeness, beauty, life, world, friendship, family, love, betrayal, fear and pain. Somewhat more serious topics are interspersed with numerous humorous works, but each film chosen from among the record-breaking number of entries will keep the viewer’s attention.

The programme for preschool children (3-6 years old) is dominated by stories about friendship, realized in space (Mr. Chicken Goes to Mars, dir. Katrina Mathers, Leigh Hobbs, Australia), on the playground (Nina’s Friend, dir. Neyrouz Jemour, Belgium) or in a garden full of colours (The Secret Garden, dir. Filip Gašparović Melis, Croatia), between a fox and a bird (Foxtale, dir. Alexandra Allen, Portugal), a dog and a girl (The One for Me, dir. Akane Nakamoto, Japan), a dormouse and a bear (Dormouse, Julia Ocker, Germany), and even little rice ball and its crew (Konigiri-kun: Connected?, dir. Mari Miyazawa, Japan). One girl escapes from the grey world of adults to the world of flowers (Hello!, dir. Dakyoung Lee, South Korea), and a party takes place at the bottom of the sea (Clawlolo: Gramophone, dir. Alexei Alexeev, Cyprus). Screening dates: June 4, 9:30 Kinoteka, and at 10:00 NS Sesvete; June 6, 9:30 Cinematheque; June 6, 10:00 NS Dubrava, and at 20:00 KNAP.

In the programme for younger schoolchildren (age 7-10), we will watch how a glass pebble is formed from a discarded bottle over a very long time (Bottle, director Minseo Kim, South Korea) – a playful, unobtrusive and intelligent approach to the ecological theme. A pig and a cow perform on ice skates and hang out with carp in a frozen lake, with lively banjo accompaniment in Lithuanian Hoofs on Skates by Ignas Meilūnas. Three foxes with starry wonders come to the top of the mountain to touch the moon (Following the Dream, dir. Yulia Mikushina, Russia), and the suspenseful story about the secret life of socks will change our perception of them when a boy finds the whole world under the bed (The Mystery of Missing Socks, dir. Oskar Lehemaa, Estonia). A family on vacation will remind us, after all, that summer is just around the corner (Hello Summer, dir. Martin Smatana, Veronika Zacharová, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France). Screening dates: June 1, 11:00 KUC Travno, June 5, 9:30 Kinoteka; June 7, 9:30 Kinoteka, and at 10:00 NS Sesvete.

The programme for older schoolchildren (11-14 years old) says that the charm of life is in real, not digital butterflies (World I Live In, directed by Ester Kasalová, Czech Republic) and that even in the alienation of the city it is possible to feel a calming forest within yourself (Waldeinsamkeit, d. Silvana Roth, United Kingdom). The forest also tells the story of life on Earth (The Grand Mother, dir. Julia Hazuka, Poland), and the classic Ottoman fairy tale is about forbidden love and flowers (Pink Mountain, dir. Thomas Künstler, Greece). Bullies are defeated with basketball and humour in a film with a neighbourhood atmosphere and gamer references (Buckets City, dir. Dave Quion, USA and Philippines), and a vacation with friends leads to a first kiss in a coming-of-age film set in a summer camp (Yuck!, dir. Loïc Espuche, France). The first summer in the countryside offers the city boy the adventure of a lifetime and victory over his own fears (Photo That Came to Life, dir. Mikk Mägi, Estonia), and it’s also worth thinking about the best chair in the world (Cossie of Chairville, dir. Azusa Fujii, Japan). Finally, another love story is written and drawn in a school notebook (Marie, directed by Jan B. Piskač, Czech Republic). Screening dates: June 4, 11:30 a.m. Kinoteka; June 6. 14:00 Kinoteka.

The program for youth (15+) presents reflections on the world through usual and unusual questions: what happens when the balance of the biosphere is disturbed (On the 8th Day, directed by the group of authors, France), who counts down the time at the traffic light (the hilarious Crosswalk, Daria Volchok, Russia), how a sister and brother of different ages and perspectives can get over their mother’s death (A Crab in the Pool, Alexandra Myotte, Jean-Sébastien Hamel, Canada). The story of a dark, stormy cloud brings joy over the desert (Nube, dir. Diego A. S. de la Barqura Estrada, Christian A. Narváez, Mexico, France, Hungary), and the well-deserved ice cream after a great psychophysical struggle and dynamic sequences brings relief from the hot days (Hottest Tokyo, dir. Miho Kidoguchi, Japan). A young skier bravely helps the Polish resistance movement by rescuing pilots during World War II in a film based on real events (Magda, dir. Adela Kaczmarek, Poland), and a fantasy journey through the forest traces the circles of life (Pinea, dir. Eirik Heggen, Norway). Sometimes the little bird doesn’t want a flower, regardless of the efforts of the other bird, and that should be respected (No, dir. Pere Ginard, Spain), and bad feelings grow like mushrooms after the rain (Don’t Forget to Take Medicines on Time, dir. Xiaoxuan Han, China). True friendship, fortunately, heals wounds and warms the heart (Maidens of the Ripples, dir. Michiko Soma, Japan), and even the smallest form of life celebrates nature, possesses immense strength and is admirable (Blossom, dir. Chang Guo, China, United Kingdom). Screening dates: June 6, 11:30 a.m. Kinoteka; June 7, 14:00 Kinoteka.

Based on Nino Kovačić’s pre-selection, the films were selected and categorized by Slovenian media psychologist Martina Peštaj, editor of the Children and Youth Programme of the Radio Television of Slovenia.

The two works from the Grand Competition Feature Film suitable for ages 8 and up deserve the warmest recommendation: Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds (June 5, 8:00 p.m. Kinoteka; June 8, 3:00 p.m. MSU) and Chicken for Linda! (4 June 19:00 MSU; 8 June 11:00 Kinoteka). The first is a lavish family fairytale fantasy with subjects of imagination, storytelling and sisterly love, somewhere between Miyazaki, The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, and the second is an energetic French comedy with elements of a musical about the relationship of a single mother and daughter, with a rich ensemble of characters and picture book aesthetics. and comics of the Franco-Belgian school.

They are joined by two other superb feature-length works, also for ages 8+: Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light (8 June 11:30 MSU) and Even Mice Belong in Heaven (1 June 13:00 CKI Maksimir; 5 June, 10:00 NS Sesvete; 6 June 20:00 KUC Travno; 8 June 11:00 NS Dubrava, and at 20:40 KNAP). The first tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy who, due to his unusual trait of being bright since birth, has no friends and spends his days at home until an unusual girl enters his life. The second is a film about a little mouse and a fox, mortal enemies who find themselves in an animal paradise and, deprived of their primary instincts, find friendship thanks to which they will then overcome reincarnation in reversed roles.

As part of this year’s Animafest’s focus on Czech animated cinema, younger viewers (8+) are also offered the short film selection Cute Creatures with nine recent works by local masters of children’s films. The exclusive selection with an appropriate running time of 66 minutes is shown only once – 8 June at 2:30 p.m. at Kinoteka.