Croatian Animation Films to Watch at Animafest Zagreb 2023

Croatian Animation films at Animafest Zagreb 2023

Animafest Zagreb is both home to international independent animation, and, of course, home to Croatian animation. Having already instituted a separate Croatian animation competition, it has still more Croatian animation shorts in its various programmes. Time to discover them

(in title alphabetical order, the full lineup at the end)

Eeva by Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov (Adriatic Animation, co-production with Joonis Film)
Synopsis: It’s pouring down with rain at the funeral. There’s a lot of crying, too much wine, several woodpeckers and a couple of dreams that fill in the gaps.

Sneak Preview: Having already premiered at this year's Berlinale, the film by the Croatian-Estonian animation duo brings another layer to the absurd and the grotesque -this time, highlighting and subverting mourning conventions.

Family Portrait by Lea Vidaković (Adriatic Animation; Vivement Lundi!; Biberche Productions)
Synopsis: A quiet Sunday afternoon in the aristocratic, family home, just before the fall of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Andras and his daughter Zsofia are caught by surprise when Andras’ brother Zoltan intrudes in the intimacy of their home, along with his big family

Sneak Preview: We wrote before (when the film was pitched):  "An exquisite attention to detail, 'The Family Portrait' (also with an installation version) wants to capture the last days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire via an intrusion of various guests to a family house. Gentle animation and an equal, almost democratic focus to all the puppet characters". Now, we're waiting to see the finished film, the first time the director is presented in the Animafest competition.

Foreign Side by Sara Tomas (Akademija likovnih umjetnosti Zagreb)
Synopsis: Touring the city of Zagreb with a foreigner, Ema is facing her city’s good and bad sides. Through her gaze and the foreigner’s gaze we see a city like any other, a desire for ever better things and a sense of home

Sneak Preview: A student film that seems to combine collage, rotoscope, and digitally drawn work to create an outsider's view of the Croatian capital. 

Her Dress for the Final by Martina Meštrović (Kreativni sindikat)
Synopsis: One day my granny dyed her wedding dress black. She wanted to be buried in it.

Sneak Preview: Martina Meštrović (A Cat Is Always Female) now embarks on another woman's story, in a hybrid animated film (stop-motion and 2D animation),  placed in a December 1985 setting. We suspect an immersive feeling and affinity.  

Holy Men by David Lovrić (Adriatic Animation)
On a barren land there is a solitary greenhouse inhabited by four people. From a nearby lake a mysterious man emerges, setting out on a motorbike to hunt down living souls

Sneak Preview:  David Lovrić makes a philosophically-minded film whose first pics and trailer reveal a grand-scale world as mysterious as its synopsis entails

Her Dress for the Final

Holy Men

Remember How I Used to Ride a White Horse by Ivana Bošnjak Volda and Thomas Johnson Volda (Kreativni sindikat)

Synopsis: A waitress in her job is routinely serving coffee and thinking about escaping her reality. A patron keeps recording and replaying the sounds at the café, completely obsessed with this action

Sneak Preview: The latest from the Croatian stop-motion duo (Simulacra, Imbued Life), this is again a non-narrative, stream-of-consciousness film, from puppets to knights to forks to horses. Eagerly awaited

The Following Season by Natko Stipaničev (Kino klub Split in co-production with Dynamo Odense),
Synopsis: Some false confessions, repeated over time. Some declarations of love and some invented memories.

Sneak Preview: The 'Arka' author (watch the film and his interview here) returns with a  work depicting winter coastal metamorphoses based on the text "Du luxe et de l'impuissance" by French playwright Jean-Luc Lagarce. Sea again dominates the film -one of the films with AI aid in its creation.  

The Republic by Antonia Beguši (Ustanova Zagreb film)
Synopsis: ‘And now, Adeimantus, is our State matured and perfected? – I think so. – Where, then, is justice, and where is injustice, and in what part of the State did they spring up? 

Sneak Preview: The classic Platonic story is now filtered by animation surrealistic influences by Czech and Belgian masters, and we are awaiting to experience the full result.

Y by Matea Kovač (Ustanova Zagreb film)
Synopsis: An empty piece of paper, the scene of the action, represents a battle of visual creation/decay while the protagonist recalls an intimate lesbian relationship.

Sneak Preview: A queer film and also one that explores the female body, using black-and-white drawings. Interesting to monitor its intimacy factor.

Under Cover (ALU) by Darian Bakliža (Akademija likovnih umjetnosti Zagreb)
Synopsis: This graduation work is an animated film based on a short story by Mihovil Rismondo, a colleague from the Academy of Dramatic Art. The theme is bullying, with an accent on the socio-psychological aspect

Sneak Preview: This is a bullying case in both 2D, 3D and stop-motion, and with a lot of symbolism (masks etc.) -which makes it all the more interesting.

The Republic



The full lineup of the Croatian Film Competition

  • Aleph, Slobodan Tomić (Ustanova Zagreb film / Croatia / 2023)
  • Babushka Has A New Boyfriend, Dean Hamer (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • Bird house, Petra Pavetić Kranjčec (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • Cat Food, Antonio Klasić (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • Eeva, Lucija Mrzljak, Morten Tšinakov (Eesti Joonisfilm, Adriatic Animation / Estonia, Croatia / 2022)
  • Family Portrait, Lea Vidaković (Adriatic Animation, Vivement Lundi!, Biberche Productions / Croatia, France, Serbia / 2023)
  • Foreign Side, Sara Tomas (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • Her Dress for the Final, Martina Meštrović (Kreativni sindikat / Croatia / 2023)
  • Holy Men, David Lovrić (Adriatic Animation / Croatia / 2022)
  • Horizon, Morana Marija Vulić (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • Love Is A Color, Nikolina Žabčić (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • Peacock Inn, Dorotea Radušić (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • Remember How I Used to Ride a White Horse, Ivana Bošnjak Volda, Thomas Johnson Volda (Kreativni sindikat / Croatia / 2022)
    Republika, Antonia Begušić (Ustanova Zagreb film / Croatia / 2023)
  • Second Skin, Dora Klanac (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • The Following Season, Natko Stipaničev (Kino Klub Split / Croatia /2023)
  • Thirteen, Helena Schultheis Edgeler, Richard Edgeler (Elestra u.o. / United Kingdom, Croatia / 2023)
  • Under Cover, Darian Bakliža (Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb / Croatia / 2023)
  • Y, Matea Kovač (Ustanova Zagreb film / Croatia / 2023)

Also in the Children's Film Competition

  • Hu Hu’s Birthday Party (dir. Vjekoslav Živković, production: Recircle studio)
  • The Journey (dir. Mirela Ivanković Bielen, pr. Luma film)

Retrospective sections of Animafest 2023 will also feature several Croatian classics, including  Dušan Vukotić’s 'Cow on the Moon', Zlatko Grgić’s 'A Visit from Space', 'Miss Link' by Joško Marušić. 'We Used to Call it: Moon' by Marko Tadić and 'Marienbad First Aid Kit' by Dalibor Barić both feature in the segment Science Friction – Collage in Space 

The retrospective of Aleksandar Marks contains films made with his ongoing collaborator Vladimir Jutriša (Obsession, Undertaker, Nightmare, The Fly, White Avenger), as well as Vatroslav Mimica’s films to which he made a significant contribution (The Inspector Returned Home, At the Photographer’s).

(with info from Animafest Zagreb)

The World Festival of Animated Films – Animafest Zagreb takes place in Zagreb from 5 to 10 June 2023.

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