Animated gems from Japan and Europe to shine at Anifilm
- The Czech gathering for animated films will feature cult hits and VR adventures, while ten feature-length titles will lock horns in competition
This year's International Festival of Animated Films, Anifilm (which takes place in Liberec, Czech Republic, from 2-7 May) will train its spotlight on Japanese animation. Curator Nobuaki Doi, a film critic and producer, and the director of the revived Hiroshima Festival, will attend the gathering in person to help explore this vast, imaginative world. His approach emphasises the foreign influences that have shaped Japanese animated art, such as the role played by European avant-garde and Czech animators Jiří Trnka and Jan Švankmajer.
One of the guests invited in the context of this focus is legendary creator Kōji Yamamura, who will present his films and exhibit his drawings at the Four Eyes Moments exhibition, organised by Anifilm in partnership with the Liberec Regional Gallery. Sarina Nihei, whose distinctive style was inspired by Estonian animation, and Mirai Mizue, a master of colourful and captivating abstract animation, are also preparing film screenings and master classes. Central European motifs can be detected in the work of Kaoru Furuko, who will present her own work at Anifilm. A focus on Japan would not be complete without cult feature-length films such as Hayao Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky. The festival will also showcase new releases, lesser-known gems and archival rarities, such as the restored version of the erotic anime Belladonna of Sadness and Keiichi Hara's latest outing, Lonely Castle in the Mirror.
Ten feature-length animated films will compete at the festival, in a section that is traditionally the most-watched. Among these are Alberto Vázquez's disturbing Spanish flick Unicorn Wars [+see also:
film profile], where the bloody reality of war is shrouded in a pink-purple world of fluffy bears. Other entries include Signe Baumane's Latvian-US autobiographical work My Love Affair with Marriage [+see also:
interview: Signe Baumane
film profile] and the French film No Dogs or Italians Allowed [+see also:
interview: Alain Ughetto
film profile] by Alain Unghetto, plus the Slovak-Czech family adventure The Websters Movie [+see also:
film profile] by Katarína Kerekesová. Furthermore, the festival will pay tribute to the mastery of animator Alfonse Mensdorff-Pouilly.
For the fourth time, Anifilm will present a competition for films in virtual reality. The acclaimed Czech VR title Darkening (see the news) will partake in this competition and will be presented as a special installation. The international computer-game competition selection committee has chosen 15 titles to compete for awards in two categories – Visual Achievement and Games for Children.
Meanwhile, Anifilm's industry programme is set to deliver a diverse range of master classes, workshops and networking events for animation and gaming professionals. Mirai Mizue and Gregorios Kythreotis will share insights into their award-winning short films and the coming-of-age story behind the indie game Sable. The Creatoola Animarket, the largest domestic networking event for animation, will feature short lectures and case studies on topics such as Czech creators' work on the visual effects for the Oscar-winning film All Quiet on the Western Front [+see also:
interview: Edward Berger
film profile] (see the news) and the innovative Czech tool ALFONS Pose Editor, which combines stop-motion and 3D CGI animation. Game-zone activities will focus on acclaimed games like Sable, Someday You'll Return and Afterglitch. As part of the Animation Festival Network (AFN), aspiring film journalists and critics can also attend the GoCritic! educational programme (see the news), led by experienced Dutch critic Dana Linssen, with articles from the programme due to be published on Cineuropa and Zippy Frames.
The full programme of Anifilm, International Festival of Animated Films is available here.
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