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Anifilm Festival in Liberec, Czech Republic, returns onsite and celebrates the much-needed humor in its animation programme.

After two years affected by various restrictions and changes, this year’s ANIFILM International Festival of Animated Films will be held in Liberec from 10th to 15th May, Czech Republic.

The festival’s competition sections will introduce the best from the world of animation and the accompanying programme will thematically focus mainly on animated humour.  Anifilm's special film programme is dedicated to Ukraine, the festival will present the best of contemporary Ukrainian animation and a special programme block will screen Ukrainian films for children who found a temporary safe haven in Liberec (either without dialogues or with Ukrainian dubbing, related to the festival's main humour theme).

Even the very first animated films made fun of their protagonists and, as you will see in Liberec cinemas, the history of this medium contains much more than just humorous shorts and wacky slapsticks (even though that’s where several generations first saw the Looney Tunes characters which this year’s ANIFILM will include as well). Animation knows no bounds and has facilitated the development of many genres and sub- genres.

Some of them are defined by showcases of crazy gags, others are full of satire, parodies, and subversive and political jokes. A specific combination of comedy and gloom spawned animated tragicomedies; and morbid, black and saucy humour characterizes many pieces for shockproof audiences who will seek out the festival's Midnight Humour sections.

In The Upper Room

The festival programme includes loads of feature and short films in various thematic blocks including proven classics by studios like Aardman Animation, National Film Board, and DreamWorks; the bittersweet story of 'Mary and Max' and some nutty Estonian humour. You will witness the encounter of Bambi and Godzilla and experience the biting satire by Ilja Novák, 'the rebel from Ostrava.'

This year’s theme Animation & Humour will naturally be reflected in the composition of our guests, juries, industry programme and programme for children. Liberec will welcome the legend of American independent animation Bill Plympton. He will bring his short films known for their biting humour. This will be the first time Czech audiences will have a chance to see them in a comprehensive showcase.

Czech guests include Jan Saska whose original animated joke Happy End (2015)  was one of the 10 shortlisted films for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Feature Film Competition

Out of 40 feature film submissions, 11 were selected.  The award-winning films include for instance The 'Ape Star' by Swedish director Linda Hambäck; and the winner of three European Film Awards and nominee for three Academy Awards, 'Flee' by Danish director Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Czech animation is represented by Michaela Pavlátová’s 'My Sunny Maad' and Czech animators also contributed to French director Florence Miailhe’s 'The Crossing'.

Read our Review for My Sunny Maad

The competition includes also brand-new feature films, some of them in their Czech premiere, including the Japanese film 'Dozens of Norths' (Ikuta no kita) by Koji Yamamura. Some of the films for younger audiences were made by directors whose previous films were screened by Anifilm.  Examples include Swedish director Michael Ekblad and his latest film 'Best Birthday Ever!; Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda and his opulent anime 'Belle'; and Israeli director Ari Folman with his animated drama 'Where is Anne Frank?'

Italian director Alesssandro Rak will personally present his latest film 'Yaya e Lennie: The Walking Liberty'. French duo Anne-Laure Daffis and Léo Marchand will present their film 'Neighbours of my Neighbours' (Les voisins de mes voisins sont mes voisins). Satomi Maiya and Yutaro Kobo from Japan will personally introduce their film 'The Girl from the Other Side' (Totsukuni no Shōjo) which will have its world premiere at ANIFILM.

31 Short Films in International Competition

The competition (out of 513 submissions) includes films from countries with strong animation industries such as France and Canada but also non-traditional countries such as Mexico, Iran, and Chile. Chilean Oscar-nominated film 'Bestia' portrays the brutality of the country’s former military dictatorship. A pleasant surprise is two competition films from Slovenia. One of them is 'Steakhouse' by the renowned director Špela Čadež. Other renowned directors in the competition are Marta Pajek, Atsushi Wada, the duo Aubier + Patar with their latest installment of 'A Town Called Panic'; and Nieto, whose film 'Swallow the Universe' will definitely stir up the audience. Ukrainian director Nata Metlukh has two irons in the fire. Also Czech animation has a film in the competition thanks to Lucie Sunková and her film Susie in the Gardens. Also, the Slovak-Polish ani-doc by Joanna Kożuch 'There was Once a Sea…' is about the Aral Sea and life around it.

33 Student films in Competition (out of 500 submissions)

'The window to the future of animation,' as student films are often called, will be presented in three programme blocks. Czech Republic has two representatives in the competition – two directors from the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague – Diana Cam Van Nguyen with her acclaimed ani-doc 'Love, Dad' and Andrea Szelesová with her film 'Sisters'.
In addition to feature, short and student films, Anifilm traditionally organises competition categories for music videos, abstract and non-narrative animation, VR films and computer games. Czech animation will compete in the national competition Czech Horizon.

Sisters

Jury:

  • Competition of Computer games: Eva Nečasová (CZ), Claudia Molinari (IT), Celine Veltman (NL)
  • VR projects, music videos and abstract and non-narrative animations: Stas Santimov (UA), Tereza Stehlikova (CZ/UK), Lars Rummel (DE)
  • Student and short films: Jan Saska (CZ), Lucija Mrzjlak (HR), Alexander Stein (DE)
  • Feature Films: Bill Plympton (US), Katarina Kerekesova (SK), Hisko Hulsing (NL)

A Taste of the Accompanying Programme
The Anifilm Lifetime Achievement Award will go to editor Jiřina Pěčová. She worked on many successful films and series with directors like Gene Deitch, Pavel Koutský, Václav Bedřich and Vlasta Pospíšilová. We can name for instance Maxipes Fík, Fimfárum, Fireflies, the Adventures of Sophie, and The Great Cheese Conspiracy.

The section 'Born in Liberec' will commemorate Vlasta Burian and his work in animation including the only dubbing credit of his career. The festival commemorates the 60th anniversary of the death of this exceptional Liberec native.

Animation workshops are popular events where children, under the tutelage of film professionals, can make an animated film of their own or try the work of a sound designer. In the festival’s Game Zone, you can test the competition games and VR projects. Last but not least, the programme also includes exhibitions, concerts and puppet theatre.

The industry programme will offer masterclasses by most of the festival’s jurors. Hisko Hulsing will talk about his finished films and series as well as 'Resurrection' that is in development. Bill Plympton will be drawing during his lecture and Jan Saska will introduce his favorites movies by other authors as well as his own short Hurikán that is in production.

Resurrection

On a funny note and humorous topic, Canadian writer Jaime Weinman will examine the craft of perfectly-timed violence behind the Warner Bros. studio Looney Tunes production.

In Indie Menu, Jakub Dvorský, the Amanita Design founder will present the best from the indie computer games market of the last year. And last but not least, during the whole Friday the 13th the Czech animation industry will attend Creatoola Animarket, the largest local animation networking event that ANIFILM organize together with the Association of Czech Animation Film (ASAF) and its platform Creatoola.

The author of this year’s visual identity and trailer is Jaromír Plachý. The graduate of the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague and winner of many awards for his short films has recently been focusing on book illustration and game design. Working for Amanita Design, he’s probably even more successful than as a filmmaker. Botanicula, Chuchel, and recent Happy Game are so popular that they need no further commentary. Jaromír helped to organize the first Anifilm in Třeboň and now, after 12 years, he’s back

Meneath The Hidden Island of Ethics

Marco & Polo Go Round

ANIFILM International Festival of Animated Films will be held in Liberec from 10th to 15th May 2022.

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