The year 2018 did not yield any box office hit in the field of Czech animation, yet festival showings and achievements abroad imply that our creators are not resting on their laurels. There are a number of interesting feature films, series, and TV bedtime-story animations in development or production. They will also include this year’s anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 50th birthday of Lucky Four or one hundred years since the death of historical Czech figure Rastislav Štefánik.
And How Did Czech Animated Production Do Last Year? Four feature films by Czech filmmakers came to cinemas. One of them made it among the top 50 most visited: Pat & Mat: Winter Adventure, directed by Marek Beneš, attracted nearly 88,000 viewers, while the American animated Hotel Transylvania 3: Monster Vacation brought in nearly half a million. The highly anticipated and latest film by Jan Švankmajer Insects was released after seven years of production and nominated for the Film Critics’ Awards. In December, cinema-goers had a chance to see the Christmas story of Mimi & Lisa: Christmas Lights Mystery (directed by Ivana Šebestová and Katarína Kerekesová). Famous personalities such as Dagmar Pecková, Arnošt Goldflam, Linda Rybová or David Prachař supported its creation via voice over.
The feature film Harvie and the Magic Museum, which was attended by more than 200,000 spectators in our cinemas, drew attention abroad and last year became the best-selling Czech animated film of modern history. “In Czech standards, Harvie is doing great in the world. We have made sales to 90 countries, and although it is mainly a popular-audience film, it has been selected for the main competition at 26 festivals. Perhaps the biggest surprise for us is the success of the film in the US, where it made it to seven festivals and even won the Best Animated Feature Film award in San Diego”, says the producer Martin Kotík from Rolling Pictures.
“The feature film category is extremely demanding for the producers. At present there are not enough funds in the Czech Republic to cover proper development and production; the only solution are international co-productions. The aim of the Association of Czech Animation Film (ASAF) is to promote and develop animation as an important part of the creative industry. I believe that 2019 will be a turning a point and Czech animation will regain its reputation abroad again,” Martin Hovorka, Chairman of ASAF, sums up the five-year activity of the association.
Short Film Scores Big Points The 12-minute puppet Charlie the Snowman’s Christmas Wedding by Petr Vodička produced by the Anima Studio won the Audience Award at the Biennial of Animation Bratislava and was released in France, Belgium and Luxembourg in November.
The category of short films is traditionally the domain of students, who have long been collecting various awards. Let us mention last year’s unparalleled success of the lovely Fruits of Clouds by director Kateřina Karhánková, nominated for the Emile European Animation Awards. The film was broadcast by Czech Television before Christmas. With more than a hundred festival releases, it is one of the world’s most successful Czech films in recent years.
An interesting novelty is the combination of the animation and documentary genres. The talented Czech-Vietnamese illustrator and Film Academy of Performing Arts student Diana Cam Van Nguyen drew attention with her animated documentary The Little One, and last year she presented her next work, Apart, using the techniques of feature and animated films to address the theme of life after losing a loved one in a captivating way. The film has already carried off the award for the Best Czech Experimental Documentary at the Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival and was selected for the prestigious International Film Festival in Rotterdam this year.
Last year also marked the appearance of the first Czech queer animated film – Days Off by director Filip Blažek, awarded at Famufest and the only Czech representative at the Queer Lisboa Festival in Portugal.
Animated Short and Feature Films in Preparation Currently, the final work is taking place on the student co-production project Trojhlas, which is being made in parallel at three Czech art schools – the Film Academy of Performing Arts, Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design and Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art at the University of West Bohemia. The project is supported by the Czech Film Fund and produced by the MAUR film studio. Its release will be accompanied by an exhibition of puppets and sets used in the film, which was co-financed by crowdfunding.
The short grotesque The World’s End directed by Martin Kukal, a representative of the emerging generation of promising graduates from the Animation department at Tomas Bata University in Zlín, is going into production at the Zlín based studio Kouzelná animace.
To mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of communist regimes in Central Europe, the feature film Fritzi Miraculous Revolutionary Tale is to be released in cinemas, a story about a childhood friendship that can knock down Walls. A German film in international co-production (studio MAUR film for the Czech Republic) describes the political events of autumn 1989 in Leipzig from the point of view of a 12-year-old heroine.
This year is marked by yet another jubilee – 50 years of the legendary comic book Lucky Four. A celebratory release of the Great Adventures of the Lucky Four, directed by Michal Žabka, is scheduled for April 2019. The Great Adventures will consist of four short films based on the newer themes by the “spiritual father” of Lucky Four Jaroslav Němec.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the death of Rastislav Štefánik, director Noro Držiak is preparing a feature film with animated elements The Impossible Voyage for this spring, which deals with the life and tragic death of one of the founders of our country.
TVMiniUni and the Thief of Questions by director and screenwriter Jan Jirka, which combines puppets, actors and animation, is to come to cinemas this summer. The film, made entirely in Zlín, builds upon 144 parts of the TvMiniUni programme of Czech TV’s children’s channel ČT: D.
Directors Denisa Grimmová and Jan Bubeníček are making a feature based on the bestselling book Even Mice Belong in Heaven, in which they combine puppet and computer animation. Alice Nellis and Richard Malatinski were involved in the screenplay work. The main producers are the Czech companies Fresh Films and Hausboot Production; the film is made in a Czech-French-Polish-Slovak co-production. The premiere is scheduled for 2020.
Next year, another co-production feature film The Crossing by French director Florence Miailhe will set out into the world. The film is being created with a remarkable technique of oil painting in the MAUR film studio in Prague.
The upcoming film by Filip Pošivač Tonda, Slavka & Genius (nutprodukce), awarded by Eurimage for Best Development at the Cinekid festival, and Martina Duda’s Rosa & Dara (Bionaut in co-production with Czech Television), will surely also be worth our attention. Both films were supported by the Czech Film Fund and should be finished in the upcoming years.
Czech Animation for Child Audiences Production of TV bed time stories is a special category. Hungry Bear Tales (dir. Alexandra Májová and Kateřina Karhánková), whose pilot episode Blueberry Hunt was awarded the Golden Slipper for the best animated film at the Zlín Film Festival 2018, is now being created (see the teaser). The Prague Eallin Studio continues the production of new parts of the Smallest Elephant in the World tale. At Film Node Zlín, film director Pavel Ondrašík is working on the animated children’s series Barney the Piglet, which is to be finished in less than two years.
Education for Czech Filmmakers A unique opportunity for local artists are the Anomalia summer workshops, where filmmakers can develop their animation projects in the presence of foreign professionals from studios like Disney and Pixar. Last year offered participants a chance to try out a new technique of film animatic development using virtual reality, which turns out to be one of the directions of contemporary animation. The Anomalia Incubator to support the development of new project stories and visuals will be held again in Litomyšl in July and August 2019.
Our team members work together across disciplines, love to meet new and traditional partners, discuss with different authorities across Europe and research new possibilities of cooperation. Do you want to meet us?
When East Meets West / January 20 – 22 Matija Šturm, Jožko Rutar and Juraj Krasnohorsky will attend the ninth edition of When East Meets West, the Italian co-production forum taking place in the frame of the Trieste Film Festival. This year WEMW will bring together industry professionals from over 35 countries, particularly from the 2019 East & West spotlight territories: Central Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine) and Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg and Netherlands).
>>> Book a meeting with Jožko Rutar /jozko(a)ceeanimation.eu/ – his dates are 20th – 22nd January or with Matija Šturm /matija(a)ceeanimation.eu/ to meet him from 21st to 22nd January.
Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival / Euro Connection / February 1 – 9 Among other things, Aneta Ozorek will follow eight CEE projects that have been selected to be pitched at the Co-production Forum: – Once There Was a Sea, Joanna Kozuch (Slovakia) – Steakhouse, Spela Cadez (Slovenia) – Portrait of Europe, Filip Jacobson (Poland) – DA-MI MÂNA, Paul Muresan (Romania) – VAF Třeboň 2016 winner with his project “Somewhere” – Branka, Mate Ugrin (Croatia) – Mud Pie!, Katerina Karhánková (Czech Republic) – included allready in our CEE Animation Talents 2018 selection with her “The Fruits of Clouds” – Night Shift, Eddy Schwartz & Yordan Petkov (Bulgaria) – County Court, Eeva Mägi (Estonia)
Five CEE short films remain to make up the International Competition. We are bringing you the selection of CEE animated short films: Biciklisti by Veljko Popovic (Croatia, France), Elektrika diena by Vladimir Leschiov (Latvia), III by Marta Pajek (Poland) and Na zdrowie! by Paulina Ziolkowska (Poland). Hungarian director Reka Bucsi will present her Solar Walk within the Lab Competition 2019.
>>> Contact directly Aneta Ozorek /anetaozorek(a)gmail.com/, she will stay from 1st to 8th February.
Berlin International Film Festival / February 7 – 17 Berlinale = the place to be!
>>> Meet Jožko Rutar /jozko(a)ceeanimation.eu/ who will be in Berlin from 8th to 12th February together with Matija Šturm /matija(a)ceeanimation.eu/ who will join him from 8th to 10th February.
Cartoon Movie / March 5 – 7 Marta Jallageas will not miss the pitching event with focus on feature films that will welcome the winning project from VAF Třeboň 2018 Of Unwanted Things and People (Maur Film, CZ / Artichoke, SK / ZVVIKS, SI / WJTeam/Likaon, PL).
Discover with us all selected projects coming from the Central and Eastern Europe: – Born in the Jungle, by Edmunds Jansons, p. Latvia – Atom Art / France – Comrades, by Olivier Patté & Rafael Lewandowski, p. France / Poland – Donten & Lacroix Films / Germany – Fritzi – A Revolutionary Tale by Matthias Bruhn, Ralf Kukula, p. Germany / Luxembourg / Belgium / Czech Republic – Maur film – Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs by Edmunds Jansons, p. Latvia – Atom Art / Poland – Letko – Marona’s Fantastic Tale by Anca Damian, p. Romania – Aparte Film / France / Belgium – Of Unwanted Things and People by David Súkup, Ivana Laučíková, Leon Vidmar, p. Maur Film, Czechia – Maur film / Slovakia – Artichoke / Slovenia – ZVVIKS / Poland – WJTeam/Likaon – Pat & Mat the Film by Erik van Schaaik, Marco van Geffen, p. Lemming Film (Netherlands), the original story comes from the Czech Republic – Piece by Alan Holly, p. Ireland / Hungary – CUB Animation / France – Raggie by Karsten Kiilerich, Meelis Arulepp, p. Estonia – A Film Estonia / Denmark – The Crossing by Florence Miailhe, p. France / Czech Republic – Maur film / Germany – The Island by Anca Damian, p. Romania – Aparte Film / France
>>> Marta Jallageas /marta(a)ceeanimation.eu/ will stay the whole event from 5th to 7th March.
Euro Connection is the European Short Film Co-production Forum taking place each year at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Market. The next edition will take place during the 2019 Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. The pitching forum will take place on 5-6 February 2019.
14 projects have been selected to be pitched at the 11th edition of the Forum:
– Once There Was a Sea, Joanna Kozuch (Slovakia) – Steakhouse, Spela Cadez (Slovenia) – The Night Train, Jerry Carlsson (Sweden) – Portrait of Europe, Filip Jacobson (Poland) – Night of the Living Dicks, Ilja Rautsi (Finland) – O Casaco Rosa, Mónica Santos (Portugal) – DA-MI MÂNA, Paul Muresan (Romania) who won VAF Třeboň 2016 with his project “Somewhere” – Zoo-I-Side, Anna Olafsdóttir (Iceland) – Branka, Mate Ugrin (Croatia) – A Summer Place, Alexandra Matheou (Cyprus) – Mud Pie!, Katerina Karhánková (Czech Republic) who is in our CEE Animation Talents 2018 selection with her “The Fruits of Clouds” – Night Shift, Eddy Schwartz & Yordan Petkov (Bulgaria) – Heaven Is Made of Scars, Alexandru Badelita (France) – County Court, Eeva Mägi (Estonia)
With over 7400 films submitted this year, 76 films remain to make up the International Competition. We are bringing you the selection of CEE animated short films: – Biciklisti, Veljko Popovic / Croatia, France / 2018 / Animation / 07’00 The cycling season is at its peak. During the final race, the two leaders are not just battling for the grand prix trophy, but also for the affection of a lady and fulfillment of their erotic fantasy
– Elektrika diena, Vladimir Leschiov / Latvia / 2018 / Animation / 08’44 It all started with a power outage.
– III, Marta Pajek / Poland / 2018 / Animation / 12’00 A man and a woman meet in a waiting room and immediately get closer to each other. The game they start playing gradually gets more ferocious.
– Na zdrowie!, Paulina Ziolkowska / Poland / 2018 / Animation / 04’45 Everyone gets sick of everyone. But things become really bad when you get sick of yourself.
Lab Competition 2019, the place where people rush in to experience jarring films. Congratulations to talented Hungarian director Reka Bucsi. – Solar Walk, Reka Bucsi / Denmark / 2018 / Animation / 20’00 The film shows a journey through space and the process of creation within an animated cosmic chaos.
Visegrad Animation Forum Is Rebranding into CEE Animation and Opens Call for Pitch of Animated Projects
Visegrad Animation Forum (VAF) has been the largest platform for the animation industry in Central and Eastern Europe. Over the course of its six-year existence, it has managed to build a strong base of film professionals and welcome over 150 participants from all over Europe in Třeboň every year. The Central and Eastern European region operates on very similar historical, artistic and economic fundaments. That’s why it is the organisers’ ambition to broaden the platform by including other countries, increase the range of activities, and umbrella all of that under the new CEE Animation brand.
CEE Animation Forum formerly known as VAF Třeboň From 6th to 9th May 2019, a traditional pitching competition of animation projects will be held in three categories: short film, series / TV special or feature film. Selected authors will have a unique opportunity to consult projects with invited experts, get valuable feedback and advice on how to improve their presentation, script, or production strategy. Competition participants can secure a chance to find a co-production partner by presenting it in front of more than one hundred film professionals – including producers, TV programmers, festival directors, distributors, investors or representatives of national film funds. They all come to Třeboň to meet new creativity, discuss new visions and opportunities or talk about financing methods and strategies for further development of the field. During those three days, great emphasis is placed on networking in the form of 1: 1 meetings or short presentations of countries and studios. The Forum is organised in collaboration with Anifilm International Festival of Animated Films.
Become part of this unique event and sign up your project by filling in the online form by 13th January 2019 the latest. For detailed rules of the competition, go HERE.
CEE Animation Workshop This year CEE Animation is offering a new opportunity to film professionals: a training programme designed to develop projects and create production networks. The goal is to provide participants with training in the field of development, from the work on script to artistic and production counselling. Particular attention will be paid to the conditions of production in the countries of this region. The CEE Animation Workshopis divided into three six-day modules. The first one will focus on development (Ljubljana, December 2018), the second on production and financing (Budapest, March 2019) and the third one on market access. The last module will take place before the CEE Animation Forum in Třeboň.
CEE Animation Talents formerly known as VAF New Talents Every year, animation of the Central and Eastern Europe region brings young gifted creators to global cinematography. It is precisely for these debutants that the CEE Animation Talents selection is made each year to promote exceptional short films at leading animation markets, festivals or with foreign producers. This way, successful titles such as Happy End (Jan Saska, CZ), Farewell (Leon Vidmar, SI), Volcano Island (Anna Katalin Lovrity, HU), Cowboyland (Dávid Štumpf, SK) or The Fruits of Clouds (Kateřina Karhánková, CZ) have appeared in the programmes of European festivals in recent years.
CEE Animation The joint effort of the CEE Animation platform is to improve the interconnection of Central and Eastern European countries, establish an effective communication network among all players in the animation industry and create suitable conditions for international co-productions. Another piece into the puzzle of success is opening up a discussion with public service televisions and film funds of the region. At present, it’s the public service televisions that do not allow standard co-production of new TV series. The set of measures and the design of the strategy for future years are being prepared within a comprehensive document called “Ljubljana Accord“, a response to the European Animation Plan. Publication of the text is expected at the end of 2019.
CEE Animation Forum takes place within the Anifilm International Festival of Animated Films (7th-12th May 2019). CEE Animation is supported from the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and co-funded by state funds and foundations and professional organisations from the Czech Republic (ASAF, Association of Czech Animation), Hungary (MOME ANIM, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest), Poland (SPPA, Polish Animation Producers Association), Slovakia (APAF, Slovak Association of Animated Film Producers) and Slovenia (:D’SAF!, Slovenian Animated Film Association).
Record Number of EAA Nominees Coming from Central and Eastern Europe
On November 8th, the nominees for the 2018 European Animation Awards (The Emile Awards) have been revealed. Polish feature animated film Another Day of Life (dir. Raúl de la Fuente, Damian Nenow) led with FIVE nominations, Captain Morten and the Spider Queen (dir. Kaspar Jancis) received TWO of them. With great interest, we are watching the record number of EIGHTEEN nominees coming from the Central and Eastern Europe – with high potential to win in several categories. In comparison to 2017, only two short films found a way to the nominations: Category Best Student Film – Oh Mother! (dir., Paulina Ziolkowska; Poland) and in Best Background & Character Design Manivald (dir. Chintis Lundgren; Estonia, Croatia, Canada).
EAA members will be able to vote online until November 30th. The winner for each category will be announced during the Emile Awards ceremony on December 8th. Good luck to all these wonderful films!
The Producers Behind Two of the Most Acclaimed Animated Feature Films in Recent Years Join the CEE Animation Workshop as Group Leaders
Ewa Puszczyńska (Poland) and Ole Wendorff-Ostergaard (Denmark) were producers respectively for Ari Folman’s The Congress and Raul de la Fuente & Damian Nenow’s Another Day of Life.
Both films were amongst the very few animated features involving Central European talents that premiered in Cannes Film Festival, The Congress opening the Directors’ Fortnight in 2013 and Another Day of Life being selected in the Official Selection in 2018. For these complex multi-way co-productions – Poland, Germany, Israel, Luxembourg, France, and Belgium for The Congress; Poland, Hungary, Spain, Belgium, and Germany for Another Day of Life, Puszczyńska & Wendorff-Ostergaard worked on behalf of Polish companies Opus Film and Platige Image.
The Congress won European Film Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2013, whereas Another Day of Life just got nominated.
Wendorff-Ostergaard’s credits also include notably work as co-producer on Lars von Trier’s Antichrist. Puszczyńska, who produced both Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida and Cold War, recently launched a new production company, NEM corp.
The call for the CEE ANIMATION WORKSHOP is open for producers and creative teams (with their animated or hybrid project of all lengths and types – shorts, features, series, documentary&fiction, also hybrid projects with a considerable amount of animation) and film professionals without project (studios, freelance, public institutions, distributors, broadcasters etc.). Only participants from low production capacity countries are eligible to apply.
The programme offers scholarships. More than 30% of participants will receive scholarships in the way of reduced participation fee and that CEE Animation will provide to all participants with possibilities to apply for coverage of their fee from their domestic funding body, the letter of confirmation as well as contact them with recommendation to support their attendance.