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THE ANIMATTIKON PROJECT NUMBER 5: 25 to 30th October 2022

The Animattikon Project has traditionally taken place in Paphos

Limassol and Paphos Cyprus - If One Is Good, Two is Even Better

     The Animattikon Project has traditionally taken place in Paphos, however, this year the festival added programs in Limassol, 42 miles away. Limassol is home to The Cyprus University of Technology, which has an animation department. The first four days of the festival were spent during the day with the students at the university.

  My presentation on Unsung Women Heroes of Animation kicked off the festival. In it I talk about women who blazed the animation trail forging historic animation landmarks in the early days of a male-dominated industry. After a brief introduction to eight women, I focused in depth on the career of Joy Batchelor, the creative force behind England’s Halas and Batchelor animation company. It was very gratifying to see a room full of young female students with one lone male student there.

  Nik and I also gave a lesson on pitching. I talked about the nuts and bolts of constructing an effective pitch and Nik taught the students the very important skills of stage presence and how to use a microphone. After our presentation, we had the students put the new skills they had learned into practice by speaking for one minute on any topic of their choice. That gave each student an opportunity to understand what is needed to develop the skills required whether you are going to pitch a project or pitch yourself when applying for a job.

Nancy interviews Joanna Quinn

  Joanna Quinn and Les Mills were also festival guests. The pair created Beryl, one of the most iconic characters in animation. They have received two Academy Award nominations, won BAFTAS, and numerous festival awards.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Joanna in front of the students. That was followed by Joanna interviewing her scriptwriter and real-life partner, Les Mills. Les talked about where his ideas come from and how he shapes them into stories. The talented couple also discussed how they have managed to not kill each other after thirty years of making films together. I am not sure how much the students learned from us but they did laugh a lot.

Charalambos Margaritis with Joanna Quinn interviewing Les Mills

  Evenings were devoted to watching the film programs at the beautiful Rialto Theatre. Originally built in 1930, it was the first modern cinema on the island of Cyprus. Now it is home to both film and live performances.

Opening at The Rialto Theatre

  One of my favorite films was in the Children’s Competition. Mouse House was directed and animated by Slovenian Timon Leder. In the hand-drawn, eight-minute film, two mice are searching for food in an old house when they suddenly discover a big wheel of cheese and a hungry cat. The fatter of the two mice finds a way into the interior of the cheese wheel and he begins to eat away. As the cheese rolls over, the entry hole becomes blocked. The mouse doesn’t realize that he is trapped as he to carves out a cheesy mansion until he finally eats his way through the cheese crust. The palace is gone, the mouse has eaten it all. But wait, what about the cat who is still lurking nearby? The cat begins to chase the two mice. Will they make it to safety in time?

  Leder deals with the subject of greed in a way that young people can understand but Mouse House is also a relevant film for adults in an age where money and possessions seem to have become more important to many people than kindness and concern for our fellow man.

 Mouse House

  The Children’s jury, composed of Cypriot animator Nicos Synnas, Yiannis Philiastides from Cyprus, and Dutch-born teacher Dr. Alexis Chaviaras, were also delighted by Mouse House. They awarded the film the Golden Hat for the Best Children’s Film.

The International Student Jury- L to R - Nancy, Georgia Doetzer, and Les Mills

  I had the pleasure of being a member of the International Student Jury along with Les Mills and Georgia Doetzer, Chief Executive of the Rialto Theatre. The theatre is one of the co-organizers of the festival. In 2017 Ms. Doetzer was the Artistic Director of the European Capital of Culture Paphos. She was the person who proposed to festival director Chaolambos Margritis the idea to organize an event related to animation for the 2017 celebration. That is how the Animattikon Project was born.

 Several of the student films were very strong this year, showing originality in stories and techniques. The jury finally decided to award top honors to Avant Card. The five-minute film is Stella Raith’s graduation film from the Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg.

  Avant Card is about Ernst, a figure on a postcard in a revolving card stand. While other cards are looked at and purchased, no one seems interested in Ernst and his message to “Be Happy”. He is getting more and more dejected until a person finally picks up his card. But he is returned to the rack crooked. This brings his world into unbalance and he falls out of the rack. For Ernst a big adventure is about to begin.

Avant Card

  What makes this film so delightful is that Raith, in a tribute to animation, combines different styles and techniques to take the viewer on a trip through animation history. Avant Card uses 2D, 3D, Real film, and stop-motion in a film that is full of joy, energy, and creativity.

  Anyone who knows Professor Andreas Hykade, Head of Animation Directing at Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg will instantly recognize Ernst as a thinly disguised Andreas. With his ever-present black hat and red scarf, the film also utilizes a minimalist design style reminiscent of noted filmmaker Hykade’s own animation style. At the end of the film, as a fun in-joke, we hear a few words of Andreas’ voice talking to his student.

  The Student Jury was also extremely impressed with Christoph Buttner’s In His Mercy (In Seiner Grade) based on a short story by the 17th century French symbolist writer Auguste de Villius de L’Isle-Adam. The story revolves around a convict who is told by the prison director that he will be executed the next day. Mysteriously, later that night his cell door opens. Exhausted from endless interrogations, the convict drags himself through the dark prison corridors. On his odyssey to gain freedom, he is tossed back and forth through opposing mental states from his fear of being discovered, his hope for salvation, and periods of sheer madness.

In His Mercy

  The eleven-minute film in black and white uses 2D animation and rotoscoping along with a woodcut print style to tell its strong story. In His Mercy is Buttner’s graduation film from Filmuniversit at Babelsberg Konrad Wolf in Potsdam, Germany. The film was awarded a Special Mention by our jury.

  The Golden Hat International Film Award jury was composed of Joanna Quinn; Eleni Mouri, Professor of Animation in the Department of Graphic Design and Visual Communication of the University of West Attica, Greece; and German writer and director Christa Pfafferott. Unfortunately, Christa was not able to attend the festival in person due to Covid, but she did watch the films and participated in jury deliberation via the internet.

  The jury awarded the Golden Hat International Film Award to Jonathan Laskar for his nine-minute film The Record. In the film, an antique musical instrument dealer receives an old vinyl record from a traveler. The magical record reads your mind and plays your lost memories back to you. Obsessed with this endless record, the antique dealer listens to it again and again as his memories resurface.

  Unlike many films that illuminate the main characters in color and their memories in black and white, the Swiss animator chose to draw the present in black and white and the memories in color. Laskar said that he chose to use color for the past because “a traumatic event made the protagonist lose his visions of color. It is only after having found the vinyl that this buried memory finds a colored vision of the present world again”.

Party at the Attikon Theatre L to R - Les Mills, Joanna Quinn, Nancy, Nik Phelps, Vassilis Karamitsanis, President of Anima Syros, and Eleni Mouri

  The closing ceremony and party were held in Limassol. After four days in the lovely seaside city we returned to Paphos and The Animattikon Project’s original home at the Attikon Multicultural Space. The project is named for the historic theatre, one of the first cinemas in Cyprus. The cinema opened in 1938 and closed at the beginning of the 2000s. In 2017, after being abandoned for many years, the building was renovated and transformed into a multi-use cultural space.

  The opening event at the Multi-Cultural Space was a screening of short animation to celebrate International Animation Day. As part of the annual worldwide celebration, the Cyprus chapter of ASIFA (The International Animated Film Association) organized the free screening. The special program had a strong emphasis on films from the Eastern Mediterranean region.

  I was pleasantly surprised to see Honayn’s Shoes by Egyptian educator and animator Mohamed Ghazala. The film is about a lost nomad’s search in the desert, with his camel, for his lost shoe. Nik Phelps wrote and performed the music for the 2009 film. The 65-minute program also included films from Cyprus, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. The festival also screened the same Official Selection of Films for Children that was shown in Limassol.

  The closing party in Paphos was at the inviting Craft Bar. This year the bar, located in the pedestrian area of the city in an old house, has expanded and opened up to include the vacant building behind the bar. The new space is designed for live performances and screenings. The original bar is still a magical space with plants and artwork. There is also a front garden space that is a perfect place for drinks on warm summer nights.

  Because it was the 30th of October and almost Halloween, the evening began with a screening of short, spooky horror films. The audience got to select which film would be awarded the Golden Hat for the Best Animated Horror Film of 2022. The winner was Mulm by German animators Carol Ratajczak and Tobias Trebeljahr.


  The seven-minute film is set in a surreal desert of backpackers where N., a scientist, is trying to communicate with a distant planet. Upset by the constant noise of his neighbor’s cat, N. is unable to concentrate and work. He slowly slides into madness. I never did figure out what the backpackers were doing but they were there.

  Carol and Tobias from the Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg used music, sound, and noises to communicate their story instead of dialogue. I especially liked the cat with the human face which reminded me of the dog with the human face in the 1978 classic horror film Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

  Following the short films the audience was treated to the classic silent film Nosferatu directed by F. W. Murnau.  2022 marked the 100th anniversary of the release of the film. The screening was accompanied by an original improvised score performed by George Bizios, Ronja Burve and Omiros Miltiadous.

Ronja Burve, Omiros Miltiadous, and George Bizios performing live to Nosferatu

After the screening, the party moved back into the main part of the very welcoming bar where our genial host and bar man supreme Christakis made sure that there were plenty of drinks and snacks for all of us.

  The Animattikon Project is organized by Kimonos Art Center and the Department of Multimedia and Graphic Arts of the Cyprus University of Technology. The driving force behind the Art  Center and the festival is Charalambos Margaritis who co-founded the Art Center in 2015. He is also the director of the festival.

Charalambos Margaritis at the Kimonos Art Center

  Charalambos is joined at the center by Yiannis Sakellis and Paris Cristodoulou. Along with their individual projects, the center offers a complete educational program with courses for children and adults in painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, animation, and various other art forms. The Art Center also sponsors a residency program open to artists in all mediums from throughout the world. You can learn more about The Kimonos Art Center at:

  Charalambos’ brother, Kyriakos Margaritis, is an author living in Athens. He wrote his first novel at the age of 16 and now has 15 books in print. He is also an excellent tour guide and wonderful company. He tries whenever possible to return home to Cyprus for the festival and finds time during the festival to take Nik and me on tours of parts of the island that we would never see otherwise.

  This year he took Nik and me along with Athens documentary maker Christos Panagos to the Mavri Sinia, the mountains above Paphos. It is a whole new world where the fresh air smells of pine trees. It was a lovely place for drinks at an outdoor café located below a monastery. In our travels with Kyriakos we have seen the vast banana groves and visited historic sites such as the Archaeological Site of Nea Paphos which has some of the most beautiful and well-preserved Roman mosaics. It is lovely to visit a festival and learn more about the culture of the country as well.

Nancy and Kyriakos Margaritis A banana grove on Cyprus

  A big thank you to Charalambos Margaritis for inviting us to be part of the festival and to the entire festival staff for the great care they took of us. Also a big thank you to Kyriakos for our wonderful tours. I already have the last week of October marked on my calendar and am looking forward to the 6th Animattikon Project.

  You can learn more about the festival and how to submit your film for the next edition at:


International Short Film Jury: Joanna Quinn, Great Britain; Elleni Mouri, Greece; and Christa

  Pfafferott, Germany

Winner: The Record, Jonathan Laskar – Switzerland

Special Mention: Tourist, Dimitris Simou – Greece

International Student Film Jury: Georgia Doetzer -Cyprus; Les Mills - Great Britain; Nancy

  Denney-Phelps - Belgium

Winner: Avant Card, Stella Raith – Germany

Special Mention: Eternal While it Lasts, Dan (demi) Wu – United Kingdom

Special Mention: Shopping Sunday, Ambrozy Danko – Poland

Special Mention: In His Mercy, Christoph Buttner – Germany

Best Cypriot Student Film

Thin Air, Statikmotion (Despo Potamou) – Cyprus

Best Animated Documentary Jury: Christo Panagos, Greece and Yiannis Christidis, Cyprus

  Where the Winds Die, Pejman Alipour – Iran

Special Mention: Just A Guy, Shoko Hara – Germany

Music Video and Commissioned Film Jury: Aspasia Papadima, Cyprus and Nik Phelps, Belgium

Music Video Winner: How Many, Bianca Scali – Germany

Best Commissioned Film Winner: Figures in Red, Alexia Roider – Cyprus

Animated Children's Film Jury: Nicos Synnos, Cyprus; Yiannis Philiastides, Cyprus; and

  Dr; Alexis Chaviaras, The Netherlands

Winner: Mouse House, Timon Leder -Slovenia

Special Mention: Cat and Moth, India Barnardo – Israel

Animated Horror  Film Audience Award

Mulm, Tobias Trebeljahr and Carol Ratajczak- Germany