Graduate from the Zlín Film school as well as from the department of animation at the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU), Michal Žabka is one of the most outstanding names of contemporary Czech animation – not only because he’s succeeded to exert his talent also in the commercial sphere (in Czech Republic, he became known for his animated commercials for Vodafone company). Elaborated artistic design and a rather juicy sense of humour are typical for his work. He aroused public notice already with his bachelor puppet film Babaloon, awarded also at various international festivals. Puppets are used also in Premmamals – up untill today one of the most successful student films from FAMU, awarded for example in Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Espinho or Melbourne.
Michal Žabka is also the author of Three Little Pigs, first Czech 3D bed-time story, short film Mrs. G, recently he participated in the feature Car Fairy Tales with his short story The Accountant and The Fairy (he was colaborating on the film with his admired teacher Břetislav Pojar). As a juror, Michal will represent contemporary Czech puppet animation and he will also talk about the making of Čtyrlístek, a 3D adaptation of a popular Czech comic-serie.
It took an incredible amount of time, energy, even a few sleepless nights…but it was worth it! AniFest 2012 jingle is ready. The theme is – how else – magic of a film puppet. The director Matyáš Trnka succeeded in the almost impossible – you will see 17 (!) puppets in only 30 seconds. More accurately, you will see the skeletons of puppets you surely recognize, but they will present themselves in a different light than usual…
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In the films as well as in workshops and presentations, we are looking for the magic of a film puppet this year. On Friday 27 April, SE-MA-FOR studio will show their know-how, which created such pieces like the newest film by Quay brothers or Peter & the Wolf by Suzie Templeton, awarded with a Crystal from Annecy. Following is the presentation of French JPL Film studio (Jean Pierre Lemouland), which for example created Joska’s Snails (awarded at AniFest 2010). The programe will be completed with the presentation of Claude Barras and Florian Duval, producers specialized in puppet films.
Saturday will be a must-go for all fans of Henry Selick’s Coraline. She was born in US studio Laika, which will be represented by the producer Mark Shapiro at AniFest. During his talk, he also promised to show extracts from the long-expected new project ParaNorman. And finally, let the legendary director present the legendary studio Mackinnon & Saunders (Fantastic Mr. Fox, Corpuse Bride..).Here’s what Tim Burton says about them: „They do such beautiful work. They really raised it to a new level for this film. These puppets are so real, they are so sensitive and textural, you really do believe they are alive.“ Presentation by Ian Mackinnon himself is on Monday.
Film-maker Jiří Trnka, Estonian Puppets, living history of Duchcov castle and an interactive comics – exhibition at this year’s AniFest
The accompanying programme of this year’s festival is all about puppets – and the exhibitions are no exception.
The Regional Museum in Teplice will on 19 April open an unique exhibition of puppets, sketches, scripts and photographs from family archives of Jiří Trnka descendant’s. The curator of the exhibition, which covers the whole career of „film poet“ Jiří Trnka, is Michalea Mertová from the National film archive.
Puppets will domesticate also the old castle in Duchcov. From March 31 you can visit an exposition of puppets from famous Estonian studio Nukufilm. The exhibition was exclusively lend to Czech Republic on the occassion of the 50th anniversary of the studio and will accompany the retrospective of Estonian animation. Authors as well as the representatives of Estonian Embassy in the Czech Republic will be present.
Together with the Nukufilm exhibition, puppets and complete decorations from the newest film Faruza by Katariina Lillquist will be displayed in the Giacomo Gallery of Duchcov Castle.
And Duchcov one more time – „Laputoids“ is an unique audivisual work designed for the permanent exposition of the castle. North-bohemian landscape and the history of the place are made alive through animation by young Czech artists Martin Búřil and Jan Šrámek.
And finally, back to Teplice – the Gallery in Teplice Culture House will offer first opportunity to see (and touch!) an experimental adaptation of popular children’s book by Ivan Vyskočil „Little Alenáš“. The author of the adaptation is Matyáš Trnka, who also created this year’s festival spot and visual. Original illustrations will be displayed together with an extract of the upcoming digital and interactive version of this unusual comic-book.
Our three-years long Baltic mission is about to end. In 2010 we began with Latvian retrospective prepared by dramaturgist Dáša Váňová and in 2011 we continued to Lithuania with Denisa Šelelyová and Zanda Dudina from Lithuanian Film Center. In 2012, the Mission will be completed in the north – with Estonian retrospective. Although Estonian animation is known mostly because of Priit Pärn, there were and still are many great artist and animation in this country. To mention a younger talent, for example Kaspar Jancis became world-famous (in 2010, he won the Cartoon d’Or prize for his film „Crocodille“).
The programme will cover the production from socialist era (famous studios Nukufilm and Joonisfilm) as well as contemporary authors, know for their sense for absurd humour and surrealist poetics. The youngest generation will be presented – Martinus Klemet, Chintis Lundgren, we’ve already mentioned Kaspar Jancis. Our Estonian retrospective will aslo offer one speciality – the screening of not so well known animated commercials by Priit Pärn (for example Switch off the Lights awarded in Cannes or the controversial Abolut Pärn).
AniFest 2012 is going to commemorate two very important Japanese authors who were strongly connected to Czech Republic. Both of them passed away recently and we felt the necessity to remind their work, which is moreover interestingly linked to Czech animation.
Kihachiro Kawamoto (1925 – 2010), first author we’re going to remind, was a Japanese puppet designer and maker, indepedent film director and animator. Mr. Kawamoto was interested in Jiří Trnka´s work from early 50´s and he spent more then one year in Trnka´s atelier in Prague during the 60´s. When he returned from Prague to Japan, he shoot his most famous film, in which he combined Trnka´s style with Japanese influences. He drew on traditional theatre forms Bunraku nad Kabuki and adapted the classic legends. At the 40th International film festival in Karlovy Vary He was awarded with Artis Bohemiae Amicis prize for spreading good name of Czech Republic ut the 40th Karlovy Vary IFF.
Nobuhiro Aihara (1944 – 2011)is another great creator of Japanese animation connected with Czech culture. He was an animation filmmaker, professor at the department of Kyoto university of Art and Design and member of ASIFA Japan. Mr. Aihara started his career in the field of TV animation around 1965. While being in charge of animation and key animation in production company, he started to create his own independent works. He was deeply interested in Czech animation and a frequent guest at Faculty of Film Arts in Prague together with his students. He had many friends and art colleagues in Prague, for example famous Czech director Michaela Pavlátová.
Professor Jiří Kubíček, the famous dramaturgist and historician of Czech animation and also personal friend of both director is in charge this programme. AniFest plans to invite special guest, founder of Hirosima International Animation Festival Mrs. Sayoko Kinoshita, author of many documents about Japanese animation and close friend of both authors. Together with Jiří Kubíček, she will prepare complete historic overview of Kihachiro Kawamoto’s and Nobuhiro Aihara’s work.
Hiroyuki Okiura needed seven years to finish hist last feature Momo e no Tegami/ A Letter To Momo. The story of Momo, a girl who’s moving from Tokyo to an island with her mother after the death of her father is a brilliant example of classic hand-drawn animation and presents the best in contemporary anime production. Momo meets mysterious little elves on the island and they help her overcome the loss and find out, what the letter to Momo was supossed to say…a moving story about grief, great loss, growing up and finding your own self is full of imagination, sometimes scary, sometimes black-humoured or even absurd. The screening in Teplice might be an unique chance to see it on the big screen – an must-see not just for all anime-fans. We’re curious how will Momo hold up against Parisian cats from Folimage or our Phil Mulloy’s rebel Mr. Christie, who’s coming back after last year’s succes.
Japanese animation is not only about anime, no need to point out. AniFest will also bring a retrospective of two Japanese directors, who were closely connected to Czech animation. Kihachiro Kawamoto (1925 – 2010) was Japanese puppet designer, animator and director. He was deeply interested in Jiří Trnka’s work and he spent one year in his studio in Prague. Nobuhiro Aihara (1944 – 2011) is another great name of Japanese animation, animator and professor at Kyoto University. He was a frequent guest at FAMU (Prague Academy of Performing Arts), where he had many colleagues and friends (Michaela Pavlátová among others).
The programme is curated by prof. Jiří Kubíček from FAMU, who was in close and personal contact with both directors.
The famous Academy Award holder will present a selection of his claymation films. This patented technique literally revitalized stop-motion animation during the 80’s. AniFest will – among others – screen the feature The Adventures of Mark Twain or the awarded Closed Mondays.
Will Vinton (born 1948) studied film and architecture and was strongly affected by the Spanish master of organic forms Gaudí. He worked also in live-action, but he sound found his way to clay animation. Claymation was born together with Vinton’s masterpieces like above mentioned Closed Mondays, The Great Cognito, Dinosaur or TV mini-series The PJs.
Do you like our visual this year? Right yesterday, we’ve finished the making of our posters, which will be printed soon -Harlequin’s head from Jiří Trnka’s „The Hand“ and the real hands of AniFest team were present. The technique of transluminated spirit-paints was invented by our graphic designer Matyáš Trnka. A photo-report from the poster-making in our gallery…and the spot is also almost ready and coming soon!
Let’s start with the jury for student and TV films and commercials. Besides his work in jury, Andrew Kavanagh will also present an unique selection of Irish experimental animation at AniFest. And what he’s looking forward to? „I am very excited to visit the country that gave the world a personal hero of mine, Jan Švankmajer. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with the Czech sound designer Slavek Kwi on three of my films and look forward to presenting some of that work in his homeland. I greatly anticipate seeing the retrospective of Jiří Trnka’s work to mark his centenary, his work has been a strong influence on me since I first encountered it as a student.“
Andrew Kavanagh was born in Dublin in 1973. He started his animation career with a Diploma in Classical Animation which he received from Ballyfermot Senior College in 1995. After stints as an animator in Shepherd Films, Rocket Animation and Brown Bag he set up Kavaleer in 1998 to produce ‘from An Evil Cradling’ in 1998. Andrew has received a record five Frameworks awards from the Irish Film Board / RTE and his films have been screened on five continents, winning awards both at home and as far afield as Portugal and China. Andrew created the internationally syndicated children’s TV show ‘Garth and Bev’ for BBC / RTE in 2008 and is currently working on two new shows ‘So Mortified’ and ‘Bedheads’. He holds a BA in Digital Media from the University of Wolverhampton and an MA in screenwriting from DLIADT.
The course is composed for 10 – 15 participants, art school and animation departments students especially, who are interested in experiencing a traditional animation technique. A major part of the workshop focuses on making of classic puppet armature and afterwards, participants have the possibility of trying to make puppet animation.
The workshop consists of a practical and theoretical part. The practical part includes creation of movable wire armatures to pre-made heads and both are enriched by a historical-theoretical lecture on history of Czech puppet animation and video-shows of breakthrough films.
After the course, participants can take their work away.
Lecturers are Milan Svatoš and Ondřej Zika who occupy themselves with puppet animation, making and restoration of puppets and pedagogical activities (Institute of Architecture, Art & Design, Prague; Institute of Art & Design, Pilsen). They both participated in famous Czech puppet films as„The Pied Piper“, a cult film by Jiří Barta.
Milan Svatoš, engaged in animation since 1972 when starting in Czech Short Film Studio, has been preparing an exhibition „Jiří Trnka – Filmmaker“ which displays tens of original Trnka´s puppets.
The workshop completes the theme of this year’s AniFest – magic of film puppet. There are projections of (not only puppet) animated films, lectures and presentations available for participants of the workshop who are provided with an accreditation free.
The course is taking place in „Dům kultury“, Teplice (1st floor, classroom no.217) on Friday 27 April from10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. On request, participants can be provided with a certificate of course completition.
In case of interest or need of more information do not hesitate to contact us.
Tuition fee is 35 EUR. Tuition fee plus one-night accommodation is 45 EUR. Accreditation free included.
To register, please fill in a web form on this link.
Admission is charged at the workshop. Participants gather on Friday 27 April at 9:45 a.m. at an accreditation centre in “Dům kultury”, Teplice.
Contact person: Karolína Pojarová tel.: 00420 739 019 345
The last feature by Michel Ocelot „Tales of the Night“ was screened for the first (and so far the last) time in Czech Republic at last year’s edition of Karlovy Vary IFF. Even though the visitors of all ages were excited, the film didn’t make it into Czech distribution. Next opportunity to see this dreamy, beautiful and symetric animated fairy-tale will thus happen in Teplice. Michel Ocelot will also personally visit AniFest and French Institute in Prague will on this occassion organize an exhibition called „Hidden treasures by Michel Ocelot“. The exhibition will present also his not so well known work (like his first animated short „The Three Inventors“).