25th International Film Festival Etiuda&Anima

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  • Tuesday, November 20, 2018 - Sunday, November 25, 2018

Beyond the Mainstream

Oh, to be 25 years old again… What seems like a short time from the perspective of our own lives is a lifetime in the world of cinema!

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the International Film Festival Etiuda&Anima (20-25 November) has a dazzling history and a reputation as one of the most ambitious film festivals in Poland. And the cinematic experiences it provides are as thrilling as ever!

136 competition films sounds impressive, doesn’t it? The ETIUDA competition features 35 student etudes from 15 countries, awarded the Dinosaur statuettes by a jury led by film director Janusz Kondratiuk. The international short animation competition ANIMA features 61 films shortlisted from 1900 (!) submissions. The Jabberwocky statuettes are awarded by a jury led by the Oscar-nominated director Paul Driessen. This year’s anniversary ANIMA is made all the more special by the fact that the competition features the latest films by winners of the Grand Prix during previous editions of the festival. We will also see their earlier productions awarded in previous years during accompanying screenings: Patrick Bouchard’s The Subject, Georges Schwizgebel’s The Battle of San Romano, Svetlana Filippova’s Mitya’s Love, Paulina Ziółkowska’s Na zdrowie!, Claudius Gentinetta’s Selfies, Marta Pajek’s III and Priit and Olga Pärn’s The Eyeless Hunter. A Khanty Story. The second instalment of the competition for best Polish animation reveals the vast range and diversity of the genre. ANIMA.PL includes 40 productions shortlisted from over a hundred submissions. The Viper statuettes are awarded by a jury led by the Polish filmmaker and lecturer Hieronim Neumann.

The special 25th Anniversary Etiuda&Anima Prize goes to one of the greatest artists working in stop-motion animation, Jan Švankmajer. The festival presents his latest feature-length film Insects; additionally, Bogusław Zmudziński, artistic director of the festival, introducing ten best short films by the acclaimed Check surrealist. We will also see the exhibition Dimensions of Dialogues / Between Film and Fine Art dedicated to the artist.

This year’s prize for outstanding achievement in filmmaking and pedagogy is awarded to the stage designer and interior designer Ewa Braun. Winner of an Oscar for Best Art Direction/Set Decoration for Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, she has worked on many acclaimed Polish films by directors including Andrzej Wajda, Wojciech Has, Janusz Majewski, Krzysztof Zanussi, Agnieszka Holland and Tadeusz Konwicki.

The festival also provides an opportunity to meet masters of animation and discover some of the most fascinating phenomena in the field. Non-competition screenings recall some of the greatest moments in the history of cinematography and introduce viewers to some of the latest short and feature-length animations which don’t make their way to mainstream cinemas. So what’s in store this year?

During the festival opening we will see George Dunning’s cult Yellow Submarine with classic music by The Beatles. This year marks fifty years since the premiere of the animation. The organisers also host a meeting with Paul Driessen, one of the animators who worked on the film.

One of the most hotly-awaited events during each Etiuda&Anima is Self-Portraits of Animation Artists with animators and viewers creating a production which is shown on the big screen. This year’s guests are Paul Driessen from the Netherlands, Ülo Pikkov from Estonia and Steven Woloshen from Canada. The cycle Between Media introduces filmmakers Petr Skála from Czechia, the Oscar-nominated Virgil Widrich from Austria and Poland’s own Wojciech Bąkowski and Łukasz Ronduda. Fifty years after the Prague Spring, we revisit the era with documentaries The Greatest Wish by Jan Špáta and Jan Němec’s Oratorio for Prague, while Miloš Forman: What Doesn’t Kill You is a biopic of the director who passed away earlier this year. We will also see the documentary Of Fathers and Sons by Syrian filmmaker Talal Derki. Awarded the Golden Horn at the 58th Krakow Film Festival, the film explores the daily lives of fundamentalist Muslim families.

On the 60th anniversary of Jan Lenica and Walerian Borowczyk’s Dom, premiering at EXPO 58 in Brussels, we recall the acclaimed Polish artists with Lenica’s Adam 2 (1968) and Kuba Mikurda’s documentary Love Express. The Case of Walerian Borowczyk (2017) exploring the life and work of the eminent director. We also recall pioneers of special effects Segundo de Chomón (1871-1929) from Spain and the French director Gaston Velle (1868-1953).

The festival also includes screenings of the latest feature-length animations. Captain Morten and the Spider Queen (dir. Kaspar Jancis, Henry Nicholson, Riho Unt) takes us on a journey to the fantastical world of insects, while the Brazilian Tito and the Birds (dir. Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar, André Catoto) uses oil paintings, digital drawings and animations to tell the story of a boy trying to save the world, look for his lost father and find his own identity. This Magnificent Cake! (dir. Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels) introduces five different stories taking part in 19th-century colonial Africa. Laika by the Czech animator Aurel Klimt presents an alternative story of the first dog in space. Combining elements of animation, documentary and drama, Raúl de la Fuente and Damian Nenow’s Another Day of Life, first shown at Cannes, is based on Ryszard Kapuściński’s 1976 book of the same title. Nina Paley’s animated musical-comedy-drama Seder-Masochism is an unconventional interpretation of the Book of Exodus, while Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña’s The Wolf House presents fairytale folklore at a religious fundamentalist colony in Chile.

The anniversary festival closes with many accompanying events, including the conference Animations, Features, Documentaries: On a Synergy of Links and a launch of the post-conference publication Twisted Dreams of History. Propaganda, Ideology. Animation edited by Olga Bobrowska, Michał Bobrowski and Bogusław Zmudziński. Konrad Sierzputowski delivers the lecture Listening to Holograms? Animated Bands, and there will be an opportunity to meet Grzegorz Skorupski to learn about the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. Participants can also try their hand at filmmaking: Steven Woloshen leads workshops on abstract animation, Grupa Smacznego hosts children’s workshops, Anna Szczerbińska reveals secrets of successful film pitches, and Papaya Young Directors talk about advertising films. Marcin Lassota discusses legal aspects in a talk From Etudes to Features, or on Film Debuts.

Here’s the plan: we cut ourselves off from the mainstream and set aside standard films shown in cinemas. The festival is the perfect opportunity to enjoy outstanding independent etudes and animations! (Barbara Zajac, Karnet monthly)



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