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Animafest Zagreb 2017 presents rich programme and distinguished guests

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The KIC Club hosted a press conference ahead of the beginning of the 27th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb that once again turns the Croatian capital into a global animation hub. Competitions, theme programmes and retrospectives will screen 350 films, with many side events like exhibitions, workshops, lectures, symposium, school presentations, book presentations, site-specific films, open-air events in the city streets and parks. From recent works to masterpieces of the past, Animafest Zagreb 2017 covers all areas of animation, and its theme programme this year focuses on the connection between comic book and animation.

Jury members and distinguished international guests, Croatian films in international competitions and cinema and open air line-ups were presented by the festival’s artistic director Daniel Šuljić, festival producers Paola Orlić and Matea Milić, representative of the City of Zagreb Department of Education, Culture and Sport and Animafest Council member Nikola Stojadinović, head of marketing at Zagrebačka banka Vanja Vaniček, and authors of Grand Competition – Short Film and Student Competition entries Petra Balekić, Chintis Lundgren and Božidar Trkulja.

Daniel Šuljić informed the media that the Grand Competition – Short Film jury would consist of top names of global animation: Michaela Pavlátová, a Czech animation director and an Academy Award nominee for Words, Words, Words (1992) – an Animafest award winner, as well – and a professor of animation at FAMU Prague, the school that won the Animafest 2017 Award for Best Animation School; Rosto, Dutch director, musician, visual artist and comic book author, who is having a retrospective at Animafest 2017 in the Masters of Animation section as one of the most original personalities on the global animation scene, also having a rare masterclass in Zagreb; Amid Amidi, the initiator and editor-in-chief of Cartoon Brew website – the central info point for global animation; Nobuaki Doi – animation critic and curator, head of New Chitose Aisport International Animation Festival; and Marko Tadić, animation director and visual artist, the Croatian representative at this year’s Venice Biennale.

The Grand Competition – feature Film jury consists of: Natalia Lukinykh, animation critic and professor with ASIFA Russia, who made a selection of adaptations of Russian fairy tales for the Family Programme; Ben Mitchell, animation director, comic book author and Managing Director of Skwigly (Mitchell will also be moderating a panel on contemporary animation and present his book Independent Animation: Developing, Producing & Distributing Your Animated Films); Simon Bogojević Narath, director, video artist, comic book author and animation professor, also presenting his latest comic book at Animafest. The same panel of jurors will be judging both the Student and the Croatian Competitions: Alberto Vázquez, one of the most prominent Spanish animators, director and comic book author, a multi award winner of the Spanish national prize Goya, whose latest film Decorado is screened in Grand Competition – Short Film; Jana Jakoubek, the artistic director of International Comic Book Festival Fumetto in Lucerne, in association with which Animafest 2017 is hosting an exhibition of interactive motion comics at ULUPUH Gallery; and Sandra Malenica, managing director of Public Open University Varaždin and programmer at VAFI festival.

Šuljić highlighted that this year’s festival would be hosting Michaël Dudok de Wit – an Oscar winner and an Animafest Grand Prix winner (both for Father and Daughter), a Dutch world class director and three times Oscar nominee, the latest of which, The Red Turtle, is screened in Grand Competition – Feature Film, and who is also having a masterclass in Zagreb. Grandmaster of French animation, Jean-François Laguionie, the winner of César, a perfectionist author of lavish features of unique colours is coming to Animafest, whose audience still remembers his Painting from 2013. In Zagreb, Laguionie is presenting his latest film Louise on the Shore.

The sensational Annecy winner Dahee Jeong, who won this prestigious award with her professional debut Man on the Chair, is presenting her latest film The Empty at Animafest. We also have a series of up-and-comers like Jennifer Zheng and many others. Another interesting name coming is Pakito Bolino – the iconic figure of underground comic book with a provocative approach. He is having masterclass of silkscreen print and is presenting his crazy film Savage Religions.

-Daniel Šuljić, Animafest Zabreg Artistic Director.

Matea Milić drew attention to Animafest’s rich open air programme, which began on 20 May with the first Animacycle (cycling along the city streets with screenings on the move), continued with the competition of site-specific animation under the title Animation goes MSU! on the media façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art on 23 May, and an open air event at Zrinjevac.

This weekend we have another seven open air screenings coming up. At Ribnjak park, Maksimir Centre for Culture and Dubrava Centre for Culture, on 3 June we will be showing April and the Extraordinary World, the winner of Animafest’s 2016 Audience Award. On Sunday, 5 June at Gradec Summer Cinema we will be screening the last year’s Animafest Grand Prix winners – The Magic Mountain and Endgame, and on Monday, 6 June, we will be watching the most famous comic book sailor Corto Maltese in Siberia. Finally, as part of our new collaboration with Art Park, on 6, 7 and 8 June we will be hosting open air events – a presentation of the American independent animation art collective Late Night Work Club, whose authors also compete in the Grand Competition – Short Film; the Japanese experimental filmmaker Takashi Makino, and Pakito Bolino. The Grič tunnel will mount an exhibition of Marko Tadić’s works, as well as two expanded animation video installations – said Milić about Animafest’s open air line-up, free of charge for all visitors.

Nikola Stojadinović expressed his pleasure with Animafest’s events at Zrinjevac, Ribnjak, Gradec, Art Park and cultural centres, which reinforce the long-standing relationship between Zagreb and Animafest, bringing artistic animation to a large number of citizens.

Petra Balekić spoke about her film The Stranger in My Head, competing in the Student Competition, inspired by the novel by Albert Camus:

The Stranger in My Head is a graduation film and I am extremely proud to get a chance to show it at a festival for the first time, at Animafest, no less, in an outstanding selection, competing with the students of the finest global animation schools. Camus’ book remained fresh in my memory since high school, but its contribution after 12 years is mostly felt in the atmosphere and the film per se focuses more on the subject of memory.

Chintis Lundgren premieres the adventures of a recluse gay fox called Manivald in the central, Grand Competition – Short Film Competition:

Manivald is a fox in his thirties, still living with his mother. One day a washing machine repair guy comes and things get wild. With Draško Ivezić I am developing a series of characters based on Manivald and my previous film, Life with Herman H. Rott. The film is hence almost a pilot for a series in which Manivald will move out and start working at an underground gay bar.

After The Story from the Beginning of Time, Božidar Trkulja remained in the puppet technique, but turned to the popular fantasy genre. His The Last Quest also competes in the Grand Competition – Short Film as the first film by the newly established Zagreb Film Stop Motion Studio.

An epic with a horror story atmosphere, but in the end a comedy. The film took two and a half years of work – said Trkulja.

At the end of the press conference, Daniel Šuljić pointed out several particularly attractive points in the overall programme of Animafest 2017.

First of all, our competitions – the Grand Competition – Short Film is an overview of the finest pieces in contemporary artistic animation. The Student Competition is a window into the future of animation, with works that are often very radical, free and intense, displaying many styles and techniques. The Croatian Competition provides an insight into the extremely good and globally recognisable local production. Also, nine feature films in a special competition category, a real sight for sore eyes and mind, Children’s Film Competition and a competition of site-specific entries, Animation goes MSU!
Also, I wish to draw attention to this year’s theme programme, dedicated to the relationship between animation and comic books. We will screen iconic feature adaptations (Akira, Fritz the Cat, Savage Religions, Corto Maltese in Siberia) and short film selected by renowned experts (Amid Amidi, Jens Meinrenken), as well as a selection of Croatian comic book authors who tried their hand at the animation medium (e.g. Milan Trenc, Danijel Žeželj, Nedeljko Dragić, Irena Jukić Pranjić, Joško Marušić…). This central theme also refers to the Masters of Animation section, screening the works of Rosto and our winner of the Animafest 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, Borivoj Dovniković Bordo, only the second ever Croatian winner of this honour after Dušan Vukotić. This award is presented only to the greatest names like Norman McLaren and Miyazaki – said Šuljić.
Paola Orlić reminded of the fourth edition of the Animafest Scanner symposium, with Maureen Furniss, the winner of the Animafest 2017 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Animation Studies, as the keynote speaker.
After all the films and masterclasses, let’s not forget the parties – at Story Supercaffe, Vinyl and Melin. To celebrate Animafest’s 45th birthday, 45 rpm records will be played, and we are particularly looking forward to the jam session, this year with Dudok de Wit on the Piano. However, the Saturday karaoke will be the craziest party as always, and the 100th Animatik TV show will also be celebrated.
To learn more and see the full programme of events visit animafest.hr

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