Festival of animated film kicks off in Třeboň


On Tuesday the Anifilm festival got underway in the picturesque south Bohemian town of Třeboň, offering both adults and children some of the very best in animated cinema. Last year Anifilm picked up where the earlier AniFest left off, and this year offers offer 200 shorter length as well as longer films for viewers. Earlier Jan Velinger spoke to the festival’s director Aida Abbas and asked her about the opening day:

“To be honest we were a little unlucky on the first day because the weather was very poor. But now the sun is shining and people are going to the screenings, so we are happy now; it has changed a little bit.”

I’ve read that this year visitors have a chance to see or to choose from 250 films, both feature-length and shorts, throughout the festival. What are some of the categories?

“We have four competitions, well three, one of which is subdivided: the first one is the international competition of animated features, which has two categories: films for children and for adults. The second is the competition for short films and least but not least a competition of Czech and Slovak animated movies. The last features about 50 films. Two international juries will choose the winners.

“The films are shown mostly in blocs, because they are short. Yesterday we had lots of kids here to watch episodes of the History of the Brave Czech Nation. Since, we have also shown Toy Story 3 and Shrek Forever After.”

'The History of the Brave Czech Nation'
The History of the Brave Czech Nation was done by artist/illustrator Lucie Seifertová?

“That’s right. They’re three minute shorts for children and underline important moments in Czech history in a humorous and entertaining way.”

Is there a dominance of a particular animation style? Most animation appears to be done using computers these days, but there is a long tradition of drawn 2-D here or claymation...

“We try to emphasise as many different styles as possible during the festival – there is no dominant focus. Over the six days we try to keep it as varied as possible.”

'Wallace & Gromit'
How popular would you say the British characters Wallace & Gromit are among your younger viewers and also adults? I was wondering how they might compare to famous Czech animated characters...

“Wallace & Gromit really are very famous and enjoyed by both adults and kids. I myself am a huge fan and am looking forward to seeing their films over the course of the festival.”

What are the films in the main competition?

“In the adult category they are Metropia, Boogie, The Illusionist, The Mysterious Presages of León Prozak, and Jan Švankmajer’s Surviving Life. The children’s category the films are The Ugly Duckling, Fimfarum: The Third Time Lucky and The Sandman and the Sand of Dreams.”

How important is Třeboň itself as a location? What does it provide that another setting would not?

“Well I think it largely comes down to tradition: there was an animation festival here the last ten years and the atmosphere of the town is just perfect. It’s small but there are a lot of venues. And the town just ‘lives’ with the festival; Prague, by comparison, is too big and it would get lost there. I’d agree Třeboň is a very charming town and we just love it.”