“Balkan” evokes sun, sea, relaxation, and fun, but also unsettled territorial disputes and hateful ethnic quarrels dating back to Yugoslavia. Those who have had the opportunity to travel the Balkan Peninsula, where a number of cultures combine, know these countries are among the most interesting in Europe. And now you don’t even need to travel there…because the Balkans are coming to Žilina for the Fest Anča International Animation Festival from 29th June to 3rd July, 2016.
The 9th Fest Anča will focus on Balkan animation. You will see the latest films as well as cartoons that resonated with the historical context of animated filmmaking in each country. “Animators can look forward to Vanja Andrijevic’s attendance from Bonobostudio, currently the most successful film studio in Croatia, who will bring some of the studio’s films for sure,” said programme director Maroš Brojo.
As in all branches of art, temperament of people and the socio-political situation are reflected in Balkan animated filmmaking. When the animated puppet film Pionir i dvojka (Pioneer and the Bad Mark), directed by Serbian couple Vera and Ljubiša Jocić, won at the 1950 Venice Film Festival, it seemed that Serbian animation was truly flourishing. However, the epicentre of animated filmmaking in the then Yugoslavia moved to Zagreb with the founding of the world famous Zagreb School of Animated Films. The term “Zagreb School” was first used by French journalists George Sadoul and Andre Martin at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival, where the Zagreb output caused a sensation. However, the highest peak was reached in 1962 with Dušan Vukotić winning an Oscar for Surogat (The Substitute).
Croatian production was gaining worldwide recognition in the 1950s, while Serbia in contrast was experiencing a period of stagnation and amateur efforts. The first studio films were subsequently created in the 1960s thanks to Nikola Majdak. Puppet animated filmmaking experienced a boom in Slovenia, a strong national tradition that has continued.
The Renaissance of animated filmmaking in the former Yugoslavia was stopped by the political and social upheavals of the 1990s. It gradually re-emerged at the beginning of the millennium, with new festivals growing in prestige and gaining a worldwide reputation. A new era of animated film had begun. Fest Anča will present the best work by Serbian, Slovenian, and Croatian filmmakers. And there’s more!
Romanian animation is also an integral part of the Balkan Peninsula production. It was influenced by the restrictive political regime for years – from the thematic, technical, and stylistic aspects. During the screening of films produced from 1968 to now, you will see how social circumstances were reflected in animated films, but also how the animators used their imagination to escape from the social reality. As the programme director states: “For a brief moment, viewers will find themselves amidst interplanetary space in the year 3084, thanks to the first Romanian sci-fi feature film Delta Space Mission directed by Mircea Toia and Călin Cazan.”
Greece, another key Balkan country, has recently celebrated its 70th anniversary of animated filmmaking. Local filmmakers were also strongly influenced by the Balkan temperament, absurdist humour, satire, and the Zagreb School.
Travel the Balkan Peninsula with us through these films from 29th June to 3rd July at the Fest Anča International Animation Festival for a truly animated view of this culturally rich region.