The Visegrad Animation Forum seeks to regenerate CEE’s animation industry
by Martin Kudláč
- The market-access platform for animation professionals introduced a number of promising projects this year
The industry meeting point and “market-access platform” for animation professionals from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), the Visegrad Animation Forum Treboň, seeks to boost attendees’ professional experience, and find ways of financing short and animated films and TV series, while simultaneously trying to improve the quality of the projects’ content and visuals. In addition, the VAF Treboň supports filmmakers and helps them to develop their projects through working with seasoned international professionals. The modules prepared by the organisers focus on the three key elements of every project: good story assets, a realistic development plan and structuring an effective pitch. The industry initiative’s primary goal is to regenerate CEE’s animation industry.
This year’s edition of the forum recorded a high number of submitted projects from countries such as Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Among the projects selected in the Short Film category were Slovakia’s Wild Beasts (read the report); France’s Flatastic, to be directed by Alice Saey and Lea Perret; Waterloo & Trafalgar by Matthew Torode; Serbia’s Death of Mother Jugovic by Jugovic Mihajlo Dragas; Hurikan by Jan Saska, an emerging Czech talent and a finalist for an Academy Award nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category for his critically acclaimed and darkly humorous Happy End; and a Hungarian project by Nadja Andrasev, Symbiosis. The TV Series & Specials category introduced Slovakian directorial duo Ivana Šebestová and Katarína Kerekesová, with their Christmas special Mimi & Lisa, based on a successful series of television shows and books recounting the adventures of two friends (one of whom is blind) and promoting a message of tolerance; the TV special Mum Is Pouring Rain by Hugo De Faucompret; the Croatian project Vacuum; and Poland’s Forest Disputes by Artur Wyrzikowski. The director of Maia Workshops, Graziella Bildesheim, was following both categories closely in order to select the best pitch to be rewarded with the Maia Award, consisting of a scholarship and an automatic selection to take part in next year’s Maia Workshops.
National broadcasters met in Treboň in order to join discussions with national film funds seeking solutions to establish a sustainable market for animation in the region. The organisers observed: “The cooperation of the media is vital for the animation industry, and national broadcasters have a role to play here as well as benefits to enjoy.”
The main winner of the fifth edition of the Visegrad Animation Forum Treboň was the UK project Salvation Has No Name by Joseph Wallace, while Jan Saska earned a Special Mention in the Short Films category for projects in development, and the Hungarian TV series Castaways by Péter Seiler came out on top in the pitching competition, with Mimi & Lisa receiving a Special Mention.
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