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Why Łódź, Poland, is fast becoming stop-motion’s ‘go-to’ destination

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On set of stop-motion poject “Kids of Courage” (more stills below)

ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum for the third time took place in Łódź. In the third most populous Polish city, the representatives of stop motion industry from the whole world met to exchange experience and find future collaborators. And Łódź seems like a perfect destination for people working in the animation industry. Why?

Let’s begin with some facts. The first post-war animated film was created in Łódź. Two animated shorts shot in Łódź won the Academy Award (Tango directed by Zbigniew Rybczyński, Peter and the Wolf directed by Suzie Templeton). For years a large number of animators, visual artists, cinematographers, who have contributed a lot to the development of Polish School of Animation, have developed in Łódź. Here, in Łódź, well-known Se-ma-for film studio was established. Three public art academies (including famous Łódź Film School and Fine Art Academy) provide professional staff for the film industry every year , ready to be involved in the animation projects.

Currently in Łódź there are more than a dozen production companies experienced in animation, not to mention numerous talented artists (puppet makers, sets and props builders, costume fabricators, music composers and others), and many companies offering vast range of useful services and post-production (sound, VFX). Łódź is the home of the National Centre for Film Culture (NCKF) – a cultural institution which functions as a cultural and artistic centre, with dedicated spaces for exhibitions, educational programs, and research. Łódź is also the base of Łódź Film Commission (ŁFC) – part of cultural institution EC1 Łódź – City of Culture, whose task is to provide filmmakers looking for talents, shooting locations, production base, servicing companies with full assistance. Furthermore, ŁFC runs a co-production fund – the Łódź Film Fund – which supports inter alia the production of animated films. And finally, in October 2017 Łódź joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network as the City of Film.

Monika Głowacka, Head Of Łódź Film Commission, says:

Creators of all different kinds of animated projects: TV series, feature films, shorts, commercials or music videos, working in different techniques, can be sure that in Łódź they will find reliable partners, talented artists and companies willing to collaborate. Film producers looking for people and companies with experience in traditional puppet animation, 2D and 3D animation, will find them in Łódź easily (WJT Team / Likaon, Anima-Pol, TOTO Studio, MOMAKIN, Yellow Tapir Films, XANF).

Those searching for great post-production and visual effects specialists, video editors, sound engineers and designers, composers, will find them in Łódź as well (Paperbone, Playade Sound, Toya Studios, TOTO Studio, XANF, Circus Digitalis).

The great advantage of Łódź is the fact that a vast variety of comprehensive services allows producers to carry through the complete project – from pre-production, through development till the post-production stage – everything in one city.

Monika Głowacka, from the Łódź Film Commission

From making puppets for Wes Anderson’s and Mexican feature films to the post-production of international projects

40 puppets of dogs for Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, several dozen animation puppets for use in Mexican animated feature “Inzomnia”, miniature models representing different parts of Europe, a dozen or so figurines in different scales, film editing and sound post-production for “Kids of Courage” TV series. These are just a few examples of the most recent contribution of Łódź artists and companies to international projects.

Justyna Rucińska, of WJT Team / Likaon, said:

As an experienced producer and service provider in the field of animation and film, we can successfully lead foreign producers through all nooks and crannies of production and its legal aspects and introduce them to the novelties in the theme of tax incentives. Our recent international collaborations include big puppet productions such as Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” and series of feature films “Solan and Ludvig” produced for Norwegian market. We also had a chance and unforgettable pleasure to cooperate with Sylwia Nowak on Aardman studio’s project. We hope for Łódź to develop even stronger as puppet animation center of Poland

And Head of MOMAKIN Agency, Katarzyna Gromadzka, added:

Our input into the animated project strongly depends on the producer’s needs. We are ready to get involved in the project at every stage of film development and production with all necessary services. Sometimes our role is limited to finding the right production designers, animators, a VFX specialist or a sound designer. And sometimes our responsibility is much bigger. For “Kids of Courage” TV series (prod. LOOKS Films) among our goals were not only finding a Polish co-producer and financing (the film was eventually co-producer by Lodz based TOTO Studio and Lodz Film Fund from EC1 Lodz), but also assembling the best film crew for designing and building sets, making figurines in different scales, shooting special effects and post-production of Polish language version. And Łódź once again turned out to be the best place to find  them.

The number of collaborations on animated projects between Łódź artists / companies and foreign producers is increasing and this trend will continue. And as always the most difficult part is to make right people to match. Events like ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum aim to make it easier.

KOSMOS by Daria Kopiec

The organizer of ANIMARKT is MOMAKIN (www.momakin.pl). The Main Partners of the event are: EC1 Łódź – City of Culture and Lodz Film Commission.

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