Every Monday, Chris Robinson serves up Animators Unearthed, a brief introduction to prominent and not-so-prominent indie animators. This week's focus is the influential Croatian company, Bonobostudio.
Croatia’s Bonobostudio is a rare gem in the animation world: a studio run by a woman that produces and distributes decidedly non-mainstream animation and experimental short films. Founded by Vanja Andrijevic in 2008, the studio has already carved out a solid reputation with a roster of films that includes recent award winners Hedgehog’s Home (Eva Cvijanović, 2017), Nighthawk (Špela Čadež, 2016), Planemo (Veljko Popović, 2016) and Sonámbulo (Theodore Ushev, 2015).
Animators Unearthed: Why did you start Bonobostudio? What was the original goal?
Vanja Andrijevic: When I started the company in 2008 there were not many producers interested in animation, and especially not in experimental film, and there were even less distributors taking care of this kind of films. On the other hand, there are many nice, talented, hardworking filmmakers whose ideas I thought should be transferred into films and those films should be seen by as many people as possible. So that was the original idea: to produce, distribute and promote animated and experimental films, the kind of films that are unusual, challenging, inspiring, and always searching for new ways of telling a story.
AE: Croatian animation has been pretty heavily male dominated, have you found it difficult to navigate this?
VA: It used to be heavily male dominated, but not anymore. In the last couple of years there have been more and more women in Croatian animation, there's a whole new generation of female animation students and some of them are really good.
AE: You work with different animators (i.e. not necessarily Croatian). Is that ever a problem?
VA: It's not easy to find like-minded people, and when you do, it's only natural to think how could you work together, no matter where you come from. It is a bit more complicated, there's more paperwork but it's also a great experience for everyone, people share their talents, energies and knowledge and ultimately they create some very good films.
AE: Has the goal changed at all in the years since you started the studio?
VA: I don't think it changed so far and I hope it never will.