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AniFest 2012 to Celebrate Jiří Trnka Centennial

AniFest celebrates the centennial of Czech puppet Master Jiří Trnka with the dedication of AniFest 2012 to the magic of film puppets.

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Press Release from AniFest:

Prauge, Czech Republic – AniFest celebrates the centennial of Czech puppet Master Jiří Trnka with the dedication of AniFest 2012 to the magic of film puppets. Exploring the life of film puppets in the 21st Century, a retrospective of Trnka’s films has been scheduled, along with a unique exhibition of puppets, scripts, original designs and photographs from family archives. Program highlights include film screenings and puppets from Estonia’s Nukufilm Studio, presentations from world-renowned studios such as Mackinnon&Saunders and SE-MA-FOR, and a workshop on how to make your own film puppet.

Festival organizers announced that British animator, director, designer and teacher Barry Purves has accepted the role of honorary president of AniFest 2012. Purves is known as one of the most influential figures in stop-motion, as well as a representative of queer cinema, and will be presenting the best of his films with talks about his work and background, and will explain the entire process of making his masterpieces.

AniFest also invited British theorist, teacher and curator Paul Wells, who is preparing a selection of British stop-motion animation. The program will cover whole century of British puppets – beginning in 1908 and ending with the Czech release of the long-anticipated feature Pirates! Band of Misfits from Peter Lord and Aardman studios.

Puppet animation will also be represented in the jury. Claymation inventor Will Vinton (US), puppet film directors Špela Čadež (Slovenia) and Michal Žabka (Czech Republic), along with Igor Kovaljov (Ukraine) and Pedro Serazzina (Portugal), will judge the feature and short film categories, while Ülo Pikkov (Estonia) will meet Sulafa Hijazi (Syria) and Andrew Kavanagh (Ireland) in the jury for student and TV films and commercials.

AniFest 2012 received more than 1,600 film entries and the selection committee chose 200 to compete for the award in one of the twelve categories. AniFest 2012 will also open a brand new category for experimental and non-narrative animated shorts.

“It’s easy to notice that many of conceptual audiovisual works meant for exhibitions and galleries are using animation. We‘ve noticed this tendency in the work of Czech artists as well as from abroad and one thing is clear – these films do not follow the same paths and aims as narrative films and if anybody wants to judge them, they must use different criteria in comparison with narrative animation. Even though non-narrative film have participated in the competition of AniFest in the past, they were never awarded and that only confirms what was said above – that the jury has no means how to judge these works together with classical animation and that’s why they basically ‘have no chance.’  And we decided to create a space which will offer this kind of art what it deserves – a relevant context and a special jury,” explains Pavel Horáček, Program Director of AniFest 2012.

The theme of the festival -- the magic of film puppets -- is also reflected in the artistic design of festival materials created by Matyáš Trnka, talented Czech animator and designer, grandson of Jiří Trnka and a student of the Prague Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU).  All materials were created with a unique technique of transluminated spirit paints and the puppet is represented through its skeleton, which is usually hidden to the viewer.