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Zagreb Festival Heats Up The Toon Scene

The Zagreb Animation Festival was held in the Croatian capital on June 21 25, 2000 for the fourteenth time. The atmosphere was literally hot; the sun shined more than enough during the whole festival, raising the daily temperatures easily to 35 centigrade (approximately 90+° F). No wonder the daily festival newspaper reported about the festival picnic with the headline "A hell-hot picnic". On the positive side, however, is that an effective air conditioned inside drew a large audience for the films. The four competition-screenings were very popular among the local audience. The screening hall, with more than one thousand seats, was almost full every time. The competition included no big surprises; more or less the expected films were included. However, the international selection committee Clare Kitson (U.K.), Hrvoje Turkovic (Croatia) and Steve Montal (U.S.A.) chose surprisingly many films from English-speaking countries. Out of the 55 films in competition 20 come from UK, 9 from U.S.A. and 7 from Canada, which included some entrees in French. Three were German and the rest came from 13 various countries. The awards were not too surprising either. The international jury - Garri Bardin, Russia, Fusako Yusaki, Italy, Tsvika Oren, Israel, Bill Plympton, U.S.A. and Mato Kukuljica, Croatia - gave the Grand Prix to the Canadian film WHEN THE DAY BREAKS by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis. Category prizes were given according the length of the film. In Category A (30 sec - 6 min) first prize went for beautifully coloured LA SAGRA (FESTIVAL) by Roberto Catani from Italy. Second prize went to Joanna Quinn's commercial "Whatever It Takes." In Category B (6 min 15 min) French Konstantin Bronzit took the first prize with his intelligently constructed and hilarious AU BOUT DU MONDE (AT THE ENDS OF THE EARTH). The well-told folk tale VILLAGE OF IDIOTS by Eugene Fedorenko and Rose Newlove of Canada received the second prize. In Category C (15 min - 30 min) the winner was Aleksandar Petrov's very sweet THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA. German Andreas Hykade picked the second price with his enigmatic black and white western RING OF FIRE. In the category for first films, Steffen Schaffler from Germany took the first prize with THE PERIWIG-MAKER, sensitive puppet animation about the London plague. The jury also distributed several special diplomas: FISHING by David Gainey, USA; LETS PLAY? by Kirill Kravchenko, Russia; FUGUE (FUGA) by Georges Schwizgebel, Switzerland; EUROPE AND ITALY by Bruno Bozzetto, Italy; THE QUEENS MONASTERY by Emma Calder, the United Kingdom; MY GRANDMOTHER IRONED THE KINGS SHIRTS by Torill Kove, Canada/Norway and LABIRINTHUS (LABYRINTH) by Ferenc Cako, Hungary. The retrospectives included presentations of Indian, Israeli and Spanish animation. With the world animator's organization ASIFA celebrating this year it's 40th anniversary, the Zagreb festival presented a selection of classics from ASIFA archive. The festival gave its lifetime achievement award to Jan Svankmajer, a surrealist master from Prag. All of his productions were shown in five different screenings. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the first professional Croatian animation VELIKI MITING (THE BIG MEETING) by Walter and Norbert Neugebauer. The 20-minute film attacked the Soviet Union and its allies ardently a couple of years after Yugoslavia broke its ties with the Soviet Union. The film was interesting both in terms of political and animation history. The festival awarded those who participated in making the film, among them the Zagreb festival programme advisor Borivoj "Bordo" Dovnikovic. The next Zagreb Festival will be held in 2002.

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