On May 31, within the frames of the 56th Krakow Film Festival, there was held the 4th edition of the presentation Animated in Poland.

On May 31, within the frames of the 56th Krakow Film Festival, there was held the 4th edition of the presentation Animated in Poland, during which the makers of short animated films talked about their latest productions, which are at the last stage of production. The meeting with animated film-makers was hosted by Zofia Jaroszuk from Polish Animation Producers Association. During the event, the representatives of 6 selected projects had the opportunity to show excerpts and talk about their films, before they reach the programmes of Polish and foreign film festivals.

"Błoto" dir. Alicja Błaszczyńska

"Self-sustainable housing estate, identical apartments and the nearby marshes form the world of Klara and her Boyfriend. When the bored girl ends their relationship because of a trifle, the world of blocks of flats and the marshes starts to blend. Tormented by pricks of conscience and bitterness, Klara has to find her place in the new reality" - this is how the film-makers describe the film "Błoto." As the film's author said during the presentation, "initially, this story did not contain romance plot at all. However, during work on this film it turned out that everyone, at some stage in one's life, experiences such an ending to one's relationship (...). It is not love which is the most important thing here, however, the film is rather about remorse, jealousy and a sense of loss (...). I like to think about this film as a psychological drama with elements of black humour." The film's producer is FUMI Studio, and the completion of the film is scheduled for 2018.

"Auto Terror," dir. Wojciech A. Hoffmann

"The film tackles the problem of the increasing car traffic in the world, and how we terrorise ourselves, packing our lives into metal boxes which are stuck in traffic jams. The animated film shows the development of this situation, using symbols," write the authors of the film "Auto Terror." The film will be made using the 3D animation of printed figures. During the presentation in Krakow, the film's director showed the printed-out characters from his film in a funny way. "I am looking for imperfections, errors in the printed figures, I am not interested in smooth surfaces," emphasised Wojciech A. Hoffmann, who is also a lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznan. "Auto Terror" is a film produced by Munk Studio in co-operation with Fifne Studio. The completion of the film is scheduled for November 2016.

"Bernard" dir. Anna Oparkowska

The animated film "Bernard" was presented during the pitching by the director Anna Oparkowska, accompanied by the producer from Grupa Smacznego Robert Jaszczurowski. "I admire artistic animated films, but in my opinion, in Poland we still have too few new animated film for children. As Grupa Smacznego, we try to be the part of a new artistic movement, the aim of which is a revival of children's animated film," emphasised the producer. The author of "Bernard" co-operates with Grupa Smacznego for five years, and she co-created such productions as "Mami Fatale" and "Basia." "I wanted to make a film about a polar bear that stands out from his group and does not consider himself a bear at all, which makes him feel very lonely.  So, he starts searching for someone whom he could befriend, someone who he could take care of. Unfortunately, because he is a bear, everybody moves back from him, runs away," said Anna Oparkowska. The completion of the film "Bernard" is scheduled for November 2016.

"Samotność" dir. Igor Kawecki, Betina Bożek

"Samotność" is a stop motion animation, made by two students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, based on the short story by Bruno Schulz. The film's director, Igor Kawecki, who was presenting the film, during the pitching showed a puppet which represents the main protagonist of the film. "'Samotność' will be our third film made together. The idea for this film appeared in 2014, but the work on the scenography began earlier, and I was supported by my grandpa. The whole process was preceded by long conversations, thanks to which the shape of our animated film emerged," emphasised Igor Kawecki. The producer of the film is the Animated Film Studio, operating by the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow.

"Klingert's Diving Suit" dir. Artur Wyrzykowski

The project "Klingert's Diving Suit" was presented by the director and producer Artur Wyrzykowski from Artcore. The film's co-producer will be the Diving Museum in Warsaw. "Wroclaw, the 17th century. Six-year-old Bi lost her younger brother in a flood. Her father, Karl Klingert, after losing his son, devoted himself totally to constructing the first semi-atmospheric diving suit in the world. If the demonstration of the diving suit goes well, Klingert will receive a grant and will go to England with his family. Bi believes that her brother is still alive. She thinks that the diving suit is a monster which possessed her father. She tries to destroy it, before her family will leave Wrocław forever," write the authors of the animated film. "I wanted to tell this fascinating story in an animated film, because I was intent on telling about Klingert's life and his invention from the perspective of a child. Thanks to animated film, I can create magical worlds," said Artur Wyrzykowski during the pitching. Thanks to the subsidy received for the development of the project from Polish Film Institute, a film trailer was made, which was presented during the pitching. "Klingert's Diving Suit" will be a film for the whole family. Currently, the script of the project is complete, but it is still looking for potential co-producers and a sales agent.

"Z wiatrem" dir. Agnieszka Waszczeniuk

The film is a story about man and his relationship to nature - nature, of which we are a part, which has the ability to regenerate, to die and to return to life. Dreamy, unreal atmosphere and the wind, constantly blowing, which can destroy, but at the same time gives hope for the birth of something new," emphasise the authors of the film "Z wiatrem." The film will be made using the extraordinary technique of animating coffee grounds, which resembles animated films created from grains of sand. Currently, the film is in post-production, and its completion is expected in August 2016.

After the presentations, the film-makers had individual meetings with representatives of television channels and film festivals. The guests at the screening included, among others, Enrico Vannucci from IFF in Venice and Marie-Elaine Riou - the director of the Canadian Regard - Saguenay International Short Film Festival, who summed up the screening in the interview with Polish Film Institute.

Marie-Elaine Riou: It was the first time when I participated in the short animated film pitching. It was surprising how diverse the budget of these productions was - some of them are graduation films with a budget not much higher than 1000 Euro, whereas the budget of others is, e.g. 20 000 Euro. However, the artistic quality of the presentation was very high and it was easy to find out at which stage of development a given film-maker is. The organisers of the pitching were as thoroughly prepared as the film-makers. I think that it is worthwhile to combine such a presentation with workshops for film-makers about self-presentation. This would certainly help unexperienced or shy people. I am impatiently waiting for the completed films, I am rooting for them very much. I particularly liked the project "Bernard," telling the story about the loneliness of a polar bear. Sometimes such simple stories have the strongest effect on viewers. The author of this film showed the entire process of creating the protagonist of her animated film in a very interesting way. I was also intrigued by the film "Błoto." Initially, I thought that it would be an ordinary love story, which would not have been either too insightful or interesting for me. But it made me curious when I found out that the art supervisor of the project is Piotr Dumała, who was a guest at our festival and whose work I highly appreciate.

Enrico Vannucci: For me it was also the first time when I attended such a pitching. Thanks to the presentation, one can see how different is the approach to animated films of individual film-makers. I do not mean only the technique, but also, for instance, expressing one's personality. Here, we had both productions for children and intimate pictures for adult viewers. Some of them are seasoned participants of such meetings, while in case of others it is clear to see that they do it for the first time. For me, it did not matter, each of these presentations was interesting for me. I am looking for international premières for the programme of the festival in Venice, so this kind of presentation is a great opportunity for me to figure out which films are going to be completed soon.  I think that 2-3 films from this presentation could be included in our programme. The rest of the films may be completed next year. It is always astounding how much time the film-maker needs to finish an animated film. It makes a great impression when you hear that someone e.g. has been preparing his film for 10 years. For this reason alone, animated film-makers deserve enormous respect of viewers and festivals for their work.


text: Marta Sikorska / PISF