Primanima World Festival of First Animations will take place for the 8th time between 30th October and 2nd November in Budaörs, where the spotlight is on young animated film directors for four days. By tradition the programme of the festival includes the competition of animated shorts and animated short for children made by Hungarian and international students and first time filmmakers, as well as feature films, and additional off-screen programmes such as workshops, masterclasses, exhibitions and concerts. This year, Primanima introduces the new PrimaTeen special programme is dedicated to adolescents. The abundant selection of animations for children is shown – parallel to the festival – at various venues in Hungary and other countries with a Hungarian-speaking community.
For the 8th edition of Primanima nearly 700 films were submitted. After the preselection, 60 of them entered the competition in the categories of student films, graduation films and first animations. 45 animations are part of children’s film competition, and 15 shorts are on the new PrimaTeen competition programme. During the Night Moves screenings the audience can see selections the most formally and thematically unconventional films submitted for the festival.
Some films of great international success are part of the festival’s competition, such as the stunning stop-motion Daughter by Daria Kashcheeva from the Czech Republic, which was awarded the students Oscar and deals with a father-daughter relationship, Symbiosis by Nadja Andrasev focusing on jealousy in romantic relationships, Entropia by Flóra Buda, presenting the contradictory nature of female gender roles, awarded a prize at the Berlinale, the black and white KIDS by the Swiss artist Michael Frei, a cinema version of a video game made with the same title, examining group dynamics, and the puppet animation Good Intentions by Anna Mantzaris about guilt. The Dutch artist Jelle van Meerendonk presents at the festival his first animation Freedom of Failure about a golf player chased by bad luck. Another debut is Tamás Rebák’s Escape Velocity, a graduation film from Budapest Metropolitan University a sci-fi about the combat between an astronaut and a strange being.
The number of children’s animations submitted for this year’s Primanima is beating records, so the organizers decided to extend the competition programme in this category. An outstanding work is Julia Ocker’s television series Animanimals, presenting different animals and their traits with a hint of satire and silliness. The selection is thematically versatile, and visually strong; it contains shorts that approach serious issues in a way that is accessible and relatable even for small children, such as the puppet animation The Kite by Martin Smatana from Slovakia, about losing a family member. Some animations from this section use innovative techniques and crafts, like the Rhythm of the Woods from Singapore, reviving the forest’s wildlife on a leporello.
Two feature films will also be dedicated to children and teenagers. The cinema version of Castaways, a popular Hungarian educational series is dedicated for the younger kids, whereas the puppet animation The Tower, directed by Norwegian Mats Grorud, for teens; this film is based on true stories and, from the perspective of a Palestinian girl, presents the daily lives of refugees, living since 1948 in Beirut, with whole generations growing up in this situation.
The festival’s new section is PrimaTeen. The screening of the shorts will be followed by discussions moderated by child psychologist Krisztina Peer. The aim of the programme to address teenagers through a visual universe that feels familiar to them and enable them to initiate conversation on topics such as accepting oneself and others, school bullying, jealousy towards siblings, gender or even death.
This year’s Primanima offers a special panorama dedicated to animated documentaries. The selection of international shorts entitled AnimDoc includes works about family issues, as well as ones dealing with the subject of gender and multiculturality. Before the screening of these shorts, there will be a panel discussion with Hungarian filmmakers with films in-development. László Csáki, the director of Blue Pelican, an animated documentary about the period after the Iron Curtain came down, and Márton Szirmai, director of the feature animation Where Did I Go Wrong?, a feature animation based on real events, which took place in the 1950s. A part of this special panorama is Anja Kofmel’s first feature animation documentary, Chris the Swiss, which has also been presented in Cannes. The film uses archival footage and animated sequences and investigates the story of the director’s cousin, a journalist who has mysteriously lost his life in 1992 during the Yugoslav Wars.
The 4th Primanima International Workshop is led by Tomek Ducki, Polish-Hungarian animation director and Gina Thorstensten, Norwegian visual artist. The participants are going to learn some tricks of an interesting clay animation technique, strata-cut. During the festival, the youngest fans of animation can get acquainted with the magic of animation at the Primanima Animation Playzone. A film criticism workshop is organized for the second time for those who would like to think deeply and in an analytical way about animations. The workshop is led by film critic Bence Kránicz with the support of the well-read Hungarian animation site Dot&Line.
The industry programme includes masterclasses by Gina Thorstensen, Lucija Mrzljak and Maria Steinmetz. The festival hosts, as usual, the board meeting of CEE Animation (an organization for animation artists from Central and Eastern Europe); and during a panel discussion they will talk about the challenges animated film producer from this region are facing. The newly founded Hungarian Animation Producers Association (HAPA) is also going to be introduced.
The members of Primanima’s international jury are: Milen Alempijevic, artistic director of the Serbian ANIMANIMA festival, Tallinn-based Croatian animation director and illustrator Lucija Mrzljak, and Maria Steinmetz, the Berlin-based animation director of Russian descent. The children’s films in competition are evaluated by Béla Weisz, animation director and caricaturist, Ferenc Fischer, animation director and lecturer, as well as Judit Gerzsenyi, architect. Besides, the films are also viewed by the jury PrimAlter, with members who aren’t animation film professionals: Roland Gyékiss, social worker, Anna Mécs, writer, Miklós Somorjai, Waldorf pedagogist. The shorts of PrimaTeen will also be evaluated from the perspective of authentic representation of emotional processes by the working group of psychotherapists Doctor24 Health Centre. By tradition the PrimaSound jury will give awards for the best sound design.