17 May 2012

Animafest Zagreb 2012

Atsushi Wada's birthday card to Animafest

Animafest Zagreb is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.  The renowned festival has been held biannually since 1972, and annually since 2005.  After Annecy, Animafest is the second oldest animation festival in the world and an important cultural event in Croatia.  The guests of honour at this year’s festival, which runs from May 29th until June 3rd, are the “godfather of Animafest” Yoji Kuri and winner of three Animafest grand prizes Priit Pärn (Breakfast on the Grass, 1895, and Divers in the Rain).  Pärn will be on this year’s Grand Prize jury.

Kuri is being presented with the Animafest Lifetime Achievement Award. Most of his films will be screened at the festival including many which have never been screened before in Croatia or in Europe. There will also be a rare opportunity to see Ryo Saitani’s documentary Here We Are with Yoji Kuri (2008).  Animafest will also be hosting a Q+A with Kuri.    Events: Yoji Kuri 1, Yoji Kuri 2, Yoji Kuri 3,

Evolution (Yoji Kuri,1976)

Among the wide array of programmes on offer this year is Grand Prix 1972-2012, a nostalgic look back at past winners of the festival.  It is a wonderful cross-section of world animation from Canada to Russia.  I saw Ivan Ivanov-Vano and Yuri Norstein’s The Battle of Kerzhenets (1971), which won the first Animafest, at the Kawamoto-Norstein event in Paris and if they are  showing it on film than it is worth travelling a long way to see 14th-16th century Russian frescoes and paintings come to life.  The programme includespast Japanese winners of the grand prizeOsamu Tezuka’s Jumping and Koji Yamamura’s Mount Head.   

This festival will also feature an exhibition entitled 40 Years of Animagest Zagreb, 1972-2012 at the ULUPUH Gallery.  Historical documents and letters, documentary videos, festival trailers, awards, photographs, birthday and other cards by world-acclaimed authors, graphic identities and objects made from 1972 until present will be on display. The exhibition will also feature works by renowned artists from former Yugoslavia and Croatia, who contributed to the festival identity such as Nedeljko Dragić, Pavao Štalter, Miroslav Šutej, Zvonimir Lončarić, Borivoj Dovniković, and Zlatko Bourek.  This year’s festival logo, designed by Damir Gamulin and Tina Ivezić, is a reinterpretation of the most iconic posters from past festivals including designs by Nedeljko Dragić, Zvonimir Lončarić, Pavao Štalter, Borivoj Dovniković and Vladimir Straža (1978), Zvonimir Lončarić (1980), and Borivoj Dovniković and Mihajlo Arsovski (1998).

Koji Yamamura's birthday card to Animafest

In addition to Yoji Kuri, several Japanese animators are screening works at this year’s festival.  Mirai Mizue’s Modern No. 2 (2011), Atsushi Wada’s The Great Rabbit (2012), Shin Hashimoto’s Beluga (2011) are in the grand prize competition.  Alimo’s Island of Man (2011) and Masaki Okuda’s A Gum Boy (2011) are in the student competition.  In addition, Mizue’s music video AND AND (2011) is in the commissioned films competition.  Koji Yamamura’s Muybridge’s Strings (2011) and Isamu Hirabayashi’s 663114 (2011) are both showing as part of the Grand Panorama and Okuda’s Uncapturable Ideas (2011) and Ryo Orikasa’s Scripta Volanta (2011) will feature in the Student Panorama.  Good luck to all.