For those of you headed to Stuttgart next week, here are some of the highlights of one of the most relevant European animation festival at Stuttgart, which celebrates its 20th edition in April 2013. The Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film (ITFS) , which runs from April 23 to April 28, screens around 1,000 of the best animated films worldwide.
The nine competition programs are endowed with prize money of more than 65,000 Euros in total. The International Competition will be showing the diversity of animated film including the Oscar-nominated short film Head over Heels by Timothy Reckardt and productions from all over the world, for example from Germany, France, Malawi, Australia, China, Japan, Canada, Latvia, and many more.
The French-Belgium documentary film Approved for Adoption (Jung), the Brazilian Rio 2096 - A story of Love and Fury (Luiz Bolognesi, 2013), and Leconte's The Suicide Shop, and Mamoru Hosoda's The Wolf Children are among the features to compete for the Animovie award for best feature.
The Stuttgart region is well-represented by two productions from the Film Academy Baden-Wuerttemberg – Kellerkind and Oh Sheep!
Twenty important pioneers of the ITFS will give a personal retrospective by presenting twenty films of previous festivals which they have selected on their own.
The festival also showcases of the works of animation artists like Atsushi Wada and Jakob Schuh and workshops presented by top-class professionals.
The Oscar-nominated British animator Barry Purves curates a special program of stop-motion films, which will be introduced at the ITFS 2013 by Ron Diamond, member of the Academy Award.
The Animated Com Award  focues on the areas of advertising, spatial communication and technology. It further includes the special award Mercedes-Benz Classic: Silver Arrows.
The Animated Fashion Award , which has been initiated in co-operation with the fashion and lifestyle company Breuninger, addressed to young and inspired talents from the creative and extremely innovative fields of fashion design and animated f lm.
The children’s festival Tricks for Kids  (located in the new Tricks for Kids venue Mercedes-Benz Museum, among other places) presents the best and most recent films and series for children and families. Filmmakers will be present to talk about their films and give the children an insight into their professional secrets.
David Silverman (The Simpsons) is also expected to come to present the Oscar-nominated short film Maggie Simpson – The Longest Daycare.
The ITFS will depict the worldwide developments in animated film with several programs. Anand Gurnani will curate two programs for the host country India: a program with short films and a program with series and commercials.
The program Animated Africa will be presented by the director of the Zimbabwe Festival of African Inspired Animation in Harare. Another topic will be the Arabic world of animated film. This program includes a co-production panel for new projects, which will be implemented in co-operation with the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
In Persona series, internationally renowned and artistically outstanding animation filmmakers from all over the world provide a personal insight into their work and working methods. Those participating amongst others are the British animator Barry Purves, tSieglinde Hamacher and Jakob Schuh, the producer of the Gruffalo.
Animation studios such as Caligari Film (Munich) with its 3D family film Knight Rusty and Studio100/M.AR.K.13 (Stuttgart) with their project Maya the Bee as well as the studios Pixar (Toy Story, Merida) and Constantin Film have announced their coming.
Visit the ITFS  website for full program details.