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A Closer Look: The Legacy Of Dusan Vukotic And Zagreb Film

Dusan Vukotic, Croatian animator, director, artist and former head of the animation unit of Duga Film, known as the Zagreb Animation Studio, passed away two years ago at the age of 71. He directed films such as "The Playful Robot" (1956), "Concerto for Sub-Machine Gun" (1959) and "Substitute/Ersatz" (1961), the first non-U.S. animated film to win the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. Another of his films, "The Game" was nominated for an Academy Award in 1964. This talented animator was undoubtedly one of the people who contributed to the development of the Zagreb Animation Studio and its influence worldwide. Vukotic was one of the founding members of the studio. In four decades Zagreb Film produced 600 animated films that won more than 400 international awards. The studio quickly became famous for a unique animation style that became known as the Zagreb school. One of the studio's pioneering distinctions was that its filmmakers wrote, designed and directed their own films, resulting in boldly entertaining cartoons unified in design, tone and message. They were also known by their new, reduced style of animation and, in a time of Disney domination, that was accepted as a revolutionary step. The Zagreb school clearly helped bring animation into the modern age and put Zagreb on the map as one of the world's special animation centers.

Read more about Zagreb Film and other European Animation Studios in the December 1999 issue of Animation World Magazine. In "Legendary Eastern European Animation Studios Struggle to Survive," Adam Snyder reports on the survival techniques of these studios shifting from a communist to capitalist market system.

Of the mighty ASIFA sanctioned festivals, Zagreb is perhaps the hidden gem that has survived through some terribly tough times and blows. In "The Zagreb World Festival Of Animated Films: On The Eve Of Zagreb 2000," Borivoj "Bordo" Dovnikovic supplies us with a history and look at Zagreb today.

In our October 1998 issue, Rada Sesic explains why, in the shadow of Zagreb, animation in Bosnia and Herzegovina never truly developed until soon before the war...only to be abruptly halted: "Animation in Bosnia And Herzegovina: A Start and an Abrupt Stop."

For the first time, Zagreb studio's library was offered for international distribution at NATPE in 1999. The library offered all of Zagreb's award-winning short films, including the works of Dusan Vukotic. Since then, Rembrandt Films and Image Entertainment have released on video five hours of animation from Zagreb Film.This distribution deal allowed the world to see rare and wonderful cartoons, while revealing a hidden chapter of their history to us.

The Best Of Zagreb Film collection is now available for sale in the Animation World Store, with five one-hour volumes in a 5-tape collection.

Films By Jove's collection of Russia's most important animated short films is also available for sale in the Animation World Store, with seven individual tapes, or in 3- or 7-tape packages.