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ITFS 2023 Announces AniMovie Selections

A full slate of animated films vie for the coveted Trickster Award in the international feature-length film competition at the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, running April 25-30.

The Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS), which returns to Stuttgart April 25-30, has revealed its selections for this year’s AniMovie, the international feature-length film competition where films vie for a chance to win the coveted Trickster Award.

The AniMovie competition includes films for children and adults. In addition, ITFS shows feature-length movies in the supporting program (AniMovie Special), which this year includes several German debuts and a world premiere.

Many directors have announced their intent to attend the premieres and screenings. Here’s a film breakdown:

AniMovie – International Feature-Length Film Competition

Friday, April 28, 6:30 pm, Gloria 1

German premiere:

Charlotte – directed by Eric Warin and Tahir Rana (Canada 2022)

The true story of Charlotte Salomon, a young German-Jewish artist who comes of age on the eve of the Second World War and defies incredible odds to create a timeless masterpiece.

The original English version voice cast includes Keira Knightley, Brenda Blethyn, and Jim Broadbent. In addition, Salomon's autobiographical life work, a collection of drawings, texts, and scenic notes, is currently on display at the Lenbachhaus Munich.

Tahir Rana will be present in Stuttgart.

Wednesday, April 26, 6:30 pm, Gloria 1

German premiere:

Titina – directed by Kajsa Naess (Norway 2022)

Based on the true adventures of the dog Titina, who won the hearts of Europeans in the 1920s.

Italian airship engineer Umberto Nobile enjoys a quiet life with his beloved dog Titina, who charmed him into rescuing her from the streets of Rome. One day, Norwegian explorer superstar Roald Amundsen contacts him and orders an airship to conquer the North Pole. Nobile seizes the opportunity to go down in history. He brings Titina along, and the unlikely trio sets out on an expedition to the last undiscovered place on Earth. Their quest is successful, but the two men quarrel over the glory in the aftermath.

Kajsa Naess will be present for the German premiere in Stuttgart. Naess presented the film in the Work in Progress series at ITFS 2022.

April 27, 6:30 pm, Gloria 1

Nayola - directed by José Miguel Ribeiro (Portugal, Belgium, France, Netherlands 2022)

Angola. Three generations of women in a 25-year-long civil war: Lelena (the grandmother), Nayola (the daughter), and Yara (the granddaughter). Past and present interlace. Nayola searches for her missing husband at the height of the war. Decades later, the country is finally at peace, but Nayola has not returned. Yara has become a rebellious teenager and a subversive rap singer. Lelena tries to contain her for fear of the police coming to arrest her. Then, one night, a masked intruder breaks into their house—an encounter like nothing they could have imagined.

With Nayola, Ribeiro realized the first Portuguese animated feature film, which won the prize for best animated feature film at the Guadalajara International Film Festival and the audience award at the São Paulo International Film Festival 2022.

AniMovie Kids – Feature-length Films in Competition for Kids

Thursday, April 27, 4:00 pm, Gloria 1

German premiere:

Three Robbers and a Lion (Folk og røvere i Kardemomme) – directed by Rasmus A. Sivertsen (Norway 2021)

Recommended for ages six and older, live German narration.

The film is based on a well-known Norwegian children's book and features a fusion of miniature buildings with CGI-animated characters.

Chaos rules the everyday life of the three troublemakers Casper, Jasper, and Jonathan – at home too. The trio lives with a lion, and they’re in desperate need of a housekeeper – so they devise a plan to kidnap Aunt Sophie, who is famous as a domestic goddess. However, her management skills are even better than her housekeeping: She bosses the robbers around and has them do the work. Little by little, the three realize they are in a trap. The only solution is to get rid of Sophie by returning her to town.

Rasmus A. Sivertsen will be present for the German premiere in Stuttgart.

Friday, April 28, 2:00 pm, Gloria 1

Dounia & the Princess of Aleppo (Dounia & la Princesse d'Alep) - directed by Marya Zarif und André Kadi (Canada, France 2022)

Recommended for ages eight and older, live German narration.

In her debut film, director Marya Zarif tells her story of escape from Aleppo. With a few nigella seeds tucked in her hand, 6-year-old Dounia leaves Aleppo with the Princess of Aleppo’s help and travels towards a new world.

Saturday, April 29, 2:00 pm, Gloria 1

Yuku and the Himalayan Flower (Yuku et la fleur de l’Himalaya) – directed by Arnaud Demuynck, Rémi Durin (Belgium, France 2022)

Recommended for ages four and older, German version

On top of the highest mountains on earth grows a plant that feeds on the most perfect sunlight – the Himalayan flower. Yuku, a young mouse, leaves her family to search for this flower of eternal light and give it to her grandmother, who will soon have to follow the little blind mole through the twists and turns of the earth. But to succeed, there is a long journey ahead, full of obstacles.

Arnaud Demuynck will be present.

AniMovie Special – Feature-length Films in the Supporting Program

Thursday, April 27, 8:30 pm, Gloria 2

ITFMX Screening:

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – directed by Guillermo del Toro (USA 2022)  

In a joint screening, ITFS and FMX – Film and Media Exchange will show a darker version of the story about the famous wooden boy by Hollywood filmmaker del Toro. Present at the screening will be Georgina Haynes, Head of Character Creation on Pinocchio. The film won the 2023 Oscar for "Best Animated Feature."

Saturday, April 29, 6:30 pm, Gloria 1

World Premiere:

Hölderlins Echo – directed by Hannes Rall, Susanne Marschall (Germany 2023)   

One famous poet and hundreds of famous composers: the work of Friedrich Hölderlin was set to music about 1800 times in the 20th century. In the history of modern music, Hölderlin's poetry has been transformed into avant-garde Liedkunst, which is interpreted globally, especially in Asia. “Hölderlins Echo” resonates with many voices in the film's elaborately designed animations created by an international team. Four poetic animated scenes show episodes from Hölderlin's life and constantly reinterpret the figure of the restless, loving, ever-breaking, multi-faceted poet through the individual styles of the animation artists.

Hannes Rall and Susanne Marschall will be present at the world premiere.

Thursday, April 27, 6:30 pm, Delphi

Teheran Tabu – directed by Ali Soozandeh (Germany, Austria 2017)

Pari, Babak, Sara, and Donya live in the Iranian capital Tehran. To earn a living for herself and her five-year-old son, Pari works as a prostitute and sells her body to an influential judge, who supposedly helps her lead a better life. Her neighbor Sara, who ekes out an obedient existence as a housewife under her husband and his devout parents, also dreams of a better life but would much rather go back to work. Young Donya faces a similar fate. In a few days, she will get married. Nevertheless, she agrees to spend the night with the young musician Babak and afterward demands that he pays for an operation to restore her virginity.

Wednesday, April 26, 8:15 pm

The ITFS will also show a film about the Islamic Revolution in Iran at the free open-air cinema on Schlossplatz:

Persepolis - directed by Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi (France 2007)

Thursday, April 27, 8:00 pm, Cinema

My Love Affair with Marriage – directed by Signe Baumane (Latvia, Luxembourg, USA 2022)

From an early age, songs and fairytales convinced Zelma that Love would solve all her problems if she abided by societal expectations of how a girl should act. But as she grew older, something didn’t seem right with the concept of love: the more she tried to conform, the more her body resisted—a story about accepting the inner female rebellion.

Signe Baumane will be present for the screening.

The Open-Air program will also feature her feature-length film Rocks in My Pockets

Source: The Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.