Czech film heads to Annecy IAFF once again

15 March 2024

Czech Film Short Films

Czech film heads to Annecy IAFF once again

Czech Film Short Films

Czech film heads to Annecy IAFF once again


Strong Czech presence at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival (running June 9-15, 2024), the largest event dedicated to animation, continues. After a highly successful last year, which saw 7 Czech films in the official selection, including Daria Kashcheeva's Electra and Filip Pošivač's feature-length debut Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light, awarded with Contrechamp Jury Award, the program of this year's edition again features 7 Czech animated shorts: Free the Chickens by Matúš Vizár, Hurikan by Jan Saska, Hello Summer by Martin Smatana and Veronika Zacharová, I Died in Irpin by Anastasiia Falileieva, Joko by Izabelą Plucińską, along with Weeds by Pola Kazak and Rising Above by Natálie Durchánková. For many, it marks a return to Annecy IAFF after a several-year hiatus. The selection also confirms MAUR film as the leading animation production house in the Czech Republic, with five films under its belt among the seven announced.

Free the Chickens by Matúš Vizár, a long-awaited new film from the director of the celebrated graduation film Pandas, which won the award at Annecy in 2013, will compete in the Short Film Competition. Produced by Tomáš Hrubý of nutprodukce together with Jakub Viktorín of nutprodukcia (Slovakia), who also stands behind Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light, the film tells the story of an unsuccessful attempt to rescue chickens from a factory farm, continuing Vizár's interest in the ethical dimensions of human-animal relationships.

Another returning filmmaker is Jan Saska, whose masterful black comedy Happy End appeared in Annecy's 2016 selection. Saska returns to Annecy with Hurikan, a deep-fried romance from a wild Prague district, named after its titular beer-loving hero, produced by Martin Vandas of MAUR film and Kamila Dohnalová of Last Films in co-production with Laïdak Films (FR), Artichoke (SK) and AEON Production (BA). The film will compete in the Short Film Competition.

The last of the returnees is Martin Smatana, who won the Young Audience Award at Annecy in 2019 with his graduation film The Kite. His latest film, Hello Summer, co-directed by Veronika Zacharová and produced by Martin Smatana (Studio Bororo, SK), Kamila Dohnalová of Last Films and MAUR film in co-production with Vivement Lundi! (FR), already made an impression at MIFA (Annecy's film market) in 2020 as a then project in development, winning the Open Workshop Prize. Hello Summer competes in the Young Audience section.

New to Annecy is Anastasiia Falileieva. Her autobiographical animated documentary I Died in Irpin depicts the true story of survival and escape from the Russian-invaded city of Irpin through a personal and subjective lens. Falieieva's film, produced by MAUR film and Juraj Krásnohorský of Artichoke (SK), in co-production with Plastic Bag Film (UA), will be presented in the Perspectives section.

Another selected film is Joko by Polish director Izabelą Plucińską, who received a Silver Bear at Berlinale in 2005 with clay animation Jam Session. Her latest short, competing in the Short Film Competition, is a grotesque vision of eternal exploitation and domination, made in co-production of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic with Martin Vandas of MAUR film once again on the Czech side.

In addition, Graduation Films in Competition section features two notable shorts by students of the prominent Czech film schools: Weeds by Russian born animator Pola Kazak and Rising Above by Natálie Durchánková.

Weeds, yet another MAUR-produced film, this time made in collaboration with FAMO – The Film Academy of Miroslav Ondricek in Pisek, utilizes the paint-on-glass animation technique and takes viewers among the flowers and plants in the small garden surrounded by endless fields of weed.

An animated documentary Rising Above, shortlisted for last year's Student Academy Awards, is based on events told by a survivor of a violent sexually motivated assault. Produced by Tomáš Šimon of FAMU – Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts, the film also made a brief theatrical appearance in the Czech Republic as a part of FAMU Four showcase alongside Electra by Daria Kashcheeva and Love, Dad by Diana Cam Van Nguyen.

All the selected films, except Rising Above, were at some stage of development supported by the Czech Film Fund.


Czech Film Center
division of the Czech Film Fund promoting Czech cinema worldwide



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