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FESTIVALS / AWARDS Czech Republic

ANIFILM explores the myriad facets of animated humour

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- The event is now a qualifying festival for the Short Film Awards category of the Oscars, becoming the first film gathering to hold this distinction in the Czech Republic

ANIFILM explores the myriad facets of animated humour
My Neighbors' Neighbors by Anne-Laure Daffis and Léo Marchand

The International Festival of Animated Films, ANIFILM (10-15 May), dedicated to following current trends and technologies in the animation sector, is bracing for its 21st edition. The latest crop of animation will be showcased across six competitions. Besides feature-length and short film formats, the festival will be presenting different forms of animation via student films, abstract and non-narrative works, music videos, VR films and, last but not least, video games. European projects dominate in the international feature-film competition, where celebrated helmer Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated doc Flee [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jonas Poher Rasmussen
film profile
]
will lock horns with Ari Folman’s Where Is Anne Frank? [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ari Folman
film profile
]
, Alessandro Rak’s Yaya e Lennie – The Walking Liberty [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Linda Hambäck’s The Ape Star [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
as well as the domestic sensation My Sunny Maad [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Michaela Pavlátová
film profile
]
by Michaela Pavlátová and Florence Miailhe’s The Crossing [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
. My Neighbors' Neighbors by Anne-Laure Daffis and Léo Marchand will also get an airing in the international feature-film competition.

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The programme is brimming with “slapstick, comedy, jokes, satire, gags, black and other humours”, as the 21st edition celebrates animated humour, taking in the widest possible spectrum from Looney Tunes, through political jokes, to gallows and morbid humour and all-round controversial animation in the Midnight section. One of the festival’s guests will be US animator Bill Plympton, who will introduce a showcase of his short works and his two features, I Married a Strange Person! and Cheatin’.

In addition to presenting the best of contemporary Ukrainian animation (including a special section that will screen Ukrainian films for children), ANIFILM will showcase a wealth of Czech productions, ranging from features, student and commissioned works to series, while the best animation will receive the Czech Television Award. Among the local works is Diana Cam Van Nguyen’s acclaimed personal animated short Love, Dad (see the interview), Suzie in the Garden by Lucie Sunková and Andrea Szelesová’s Sisters. The festival will also spotlight new media, with VR works such as Hubert Mróz’s immersive exploration of the origin of the Cthulhu Mythos in Dagon: by H. P. Lovecraft, and the docufiction about the titular endangered indigenous language, Kusunda by Gayatri Parameswaran and Felix Gaedtke. The immersive works are accompanied by interactive projects, with 15 video games, including an atmospheric, handcrafted puzzle-adventure made entirely of paper, Papetura, and the open-world exploration game Sable, boasting an art style inspired by the works of Jean “Moebius” Giraud.

The festival has also prepared an industry programme, with several lectures on the topics of video-game development, the importance of memory and identity in visual design. The Work in Progress panel will introduce three feature-length animated projects in the making: the puppet film Living Large by Kristýna Dufková, about child obesity; the sitcom about a family of spiders The Websters Movie by Katarína Kerekesová; and Emilio RamosHanta, based on Bohumil Hrabal and his 1976 book Too Loud a Solitude. Furthermore, the festival will host the largest local networking event, Creatoola Animarket, organised in conjunction with the Association of Czech Animation Film, and welcoming domestic professionals working in animation, VFX, video games and VR/AR. More importantly, ANIFILM has this year joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a qualifying festival for the Short Film Awards category. The winner of the ANIFILM international short-film competition will thus be eligible for consideration in the Animated Short Film category of the Academy Awards. The gathering has become the first such event in the Czech Republic to hold this distinction.

The 21st edition of the ANIFILM International Festival of Animated Films takes place in Liberec, Czech Republic, from 10-15 May; the full line-up is available here.

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