The International Festival of Animated Films AniFest runs the Visegrád Exchange Forum with the aim of supporting producers, new projects, talents and animation films, and to enhance the collaboration opportunities between the countries of Eastern and Western Europe. The second edition of this festival initiative will be held at the AniFest in the Czech Republic between 25th and 27th April 2012.

“Such a platform has several different goals” – says Visegrád Exchange Forum coordinator Michal Prochazka. “First of all, we try to promote young talents, filmmakers, studios, and producers from the Visegrád countries and Eastern Europe in a better and more efficient way. The Forum offers a great opportunity for co-production meetings as international and local producers can talk over prospects, projects and short and feature length animated films that they don’t normally have the time for at big festivals and markets like Annecy.”

The Forum is partly an education initiative that tries to offer a better knowledge of how the European audiovisual market works, but also of alternative ways, outside the local film fund or TV support, of developing and financing film projects. On Friday 27th April, there will be a pitching of short film projects (or a pilot of a serial), whose authors and producers are looking for experience andfeedback from international producers as well as possible co-producers.

“We are organising a meeting of producers who can share their experience of co-production projects. Their work will be demonstrated with case studies of films that have gone into production,” adds Prochazka. Luc Toutoughni from Studio Se-Ma-For will present a case study on the development of Marec Scrobecki’s international film Danny Boy. Vanja Andrijevič, a Croatian producer from the Bonobo studio will present a case study of her film Father. Long-time French producer Dora Benousilio from Les films de l´Arlequin will share her experience about working with filmmakers from Eastern European countries. Finally, Tamás Liszka (Szimply Films) will talk about the international co-production project Egill. All case studies will be followed by a debate.

The Forum offers a strong line-up of international professionals, producers and production companies, including Christian Pfohl from Lardux Films, Olivier Catherin from Les Trois Ours, Jean-Pierre Lemouland from JPL Films, and Florian Duval from Double Metre Animation, to mention but a few. René Chenier, producer at the National Film Board of Canada is also expected to come to the Visegrád Exchange Forum. As the next edition of AniFest is dedicated to puppet animation films, we are preparing an extensive programme on puppet animations, introducing Polish, Czech, French, Swiss and British traditions through film retrospectives and puppets. There will be studio presentations and producers’ meetings as well. “Several animation studios dedicated to this traditional technique will be introduced – like the Anima Prague from the Czech Republic, Animation People of JPL Films from France, and, of course, Se-Ma-For from Poland,” says Prochazka.

With the help of Swissfilms Forum, we have put together a panorama of contemporary Swiss animation, where, among others, the work of Claude Barras will be introduced. We are also preparing a presentation of the animation department of HSLU school in Luzern and its films.

Last but not least, one of the most important parts of AniFest will be a meeting of Visegrád schools of our region (FAMU Prague, VSMU Bratislava, UMPRUM Prague, Academy of Fine arts in Krakow, Academy of Fine arts in Poznan, Vyšší odborná škola Zlín, UTB Zlín and MOME Budapest) with our colleagues from abroad (KHM Cologne and HSLU Luzern).

Text: AniFest
Illustration: István Csekk