Animafest Goes On: Top Movies of Current International Production in Zagreb

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September 27, 2020 – The International Animated Film Festival Animafest, despite adversity, has not given up. Its thirtieth edition, from September 28 to October 3, brings top movies of current international production, reports

To enter the most prestigious competition of Animafest, they searched for high-quality movies, which stand out somehow. “We chose 40 films out of 861 entries from 27 countries, which is less than five percent, but there are also four Croatian films,” said Daniel Suljic, the festival’s artistic director.

“Every year, new students come from the Department of Animation and New Media of ALU, some of whom develop into very interesting personalities. The competition intensifies, so films that enter the international competition do not enter only because they are domestic, which confirms that they participate in other important international festivals,” said Suljic. According to him, this year’s selection of films shows great thematic, artistic, and technical diversity, and there are great ones in all programs, and everyone will find something they like. Films by Andreas Hykade, Piotr Dumała, Theodore Ushev, and Atsushi Wade, among others, will be screened. Sulijc is also satisfied with SC (Student Center) as a new venue, which, he believes, has the potential to become a cultural center that the city does not have now, and whose cinema can accommodate almost 300 people. “I recommend people to come because this program is still the world’s top festival, with the best of the best happening in animation,” he pointed out.

With more than 300 films from 40 countries, selected from around 1,800, the festival will be held at the SC Cinema at the & TD Theater, the Cinematheque, and many other city locations.

Natko Stipanicev’s “Arka”, Matija Pisacic’s and Tvrtko Raspolic’s  “Murder in the Cathedral”, the music video “The Closing Door” by Lucija Mrzljak for the Oscar-winning song by Emmy Glen Hansard, and “Toomas Under the Valley of the Wild Wolves” by Chintis Lundgren are participating in the international competition of Croatian films. Among the 40 films of the Student Film Competition, selected from 900 entries, are two Croatian authors, Kata Gugic (Cockpera) and Suncana Brkulj (I’m Not Feeling Very Well). All screenings of the Student Film Competition are free of charge thanks to the sponsorship of Zagrebačka banka.

Animafest also provides insight into the current Croatian animated production – Croatian Film Competition, with 19 works. A special screening on October 1 will show the Croatian premiere of Dalibor Baric’s feature film “The Accidental Luxury of a Transparent Water Puzzle”. Matija Pisacic and Tvrtko Raspolic said that they were looking forward to the audience’s reactions and the live screening, adding that their “Murder in the Cathedral” would develop into an animated series if there were interest and resources. Lucija Mrzljak explained that she accidentally met Glen Hansard in Estonia after his concert, and later called her because he liked what she was doing and gave her a choice to make a video for any of his songs. Kata Gugic said that she was glad that her “Cockpera” would be shown at the festival where, as a volunteer, she developed an interest in certain animation techniques. She combined the Aesop-based story with opera because she is a theater fan, where she worked on set and costume design.

Among the more than 70 guests of the festival, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award Georges Schwizgebel stands out, who, said producer Paola Orlić, confirmed his arrival at the opening when they will present the award to him. Animafest also prepared a retrospective for him as part of the Masters of Animation program, which will be accompanied by the exhibition “Master of Poetic Visions” at the Kranjcar Gallery.

Producer Matea Milić announced the country’s program in focus – this year it is Hungary, which will be presented through six extensive programs curated by animation historian Anna Ida Orosz, with particular emphasis on contemporary women’s writing.

The Grand Short Film Competition jury will include French producer and program selector Clémence Bragard, animation journalist and producer of intriguing biography Nancy Denney-Phelps, Italian author Martina Scarpelli doyen of our experimental film Vladislav Knezevic and a young Hungarian star. The jury for the Student and Croatian Film Competitions is united and includes French author and selector Laurent Crouzeix, Chinese artist with a French address Hefang Wei and Banja Luka director, producer and professor, creator of the Animacycle Mladen Djukic. Jury members Scarpelli, Bucsi, and Wei will also hold masterclasses in Zagreb. There will be a total of seven at the festival, including that of Peter Ramsey on the making of the Oscar-winning film “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse”.

Part of the Animafest PRO program is the international symposium on contemporary animation Animafest Scanner VII, held on September 29 and 30 at the & TD Theater, with three panels. The invited speaker is the winner of the Animafest Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animation, Chris Robinson.

Orlic also announced the exhibition “Behind the Scenes 2”, which will gather in the ULUPUH Gallery ‘making of’ works by authors whose films deserved to appear in the Grand Competition. Zagreb School of Cartoon Film, with a review by Borivoj Dovnikovic Borda of 1972 and Pavle Stalter, will mark the festival’s 60th birthday in Annecy with the best works of French animation chosen by the artistic director Marcel Jean.

The head of the Zagreb Office of Culture, Milana Vukovic Runjic, said that she was especially glad that Animafest was going to many Zagreb neighborhoods with its films, in cooperation with cultural centers. Also, it would give an excellent introduction to the rich Zagreb festival autumn.

The festival has adapted to the new conditions. It will provide free online monitoring in schools and kindergartens of the Children’s Film Competition. For the youngest is prepared Family Program, which in addition to the Cinematheque this year goes to Travno, Tresnjevka, Dubrava, Sesvete, and Maksimir as part of “Animafest in your neighborhood”. Admission to all programs in cultural centers is free. The family program begins on Saturday, September 26, at the Cinematheque and at the MSU Metropolis Cinema with the feature film “The Famous Bear Invasion of Sicily” by Lorenzo Mattotti.

A workshop on optical toys for children will be held at the Mediatheque of the French Institute on October 3.

Tickets and festival tickets can be purchased online at and during the festival at the box office of SC Theater.  Admission to the Student Film Competition screenings, special programs marked in the schedule, Animafest PRO, and accompanying events are free.

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