27 April 2023
The Annecy International Animation Film Festival (11 - 17 June, 2023) will present one Czech animated feature and six short films in the competition program this year. While Filip Pošivač’s feature film debut Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light about what it's like to be different and about overcoming one’s fears will be presented in the Contrechamp competition, the highly anticipated short Electra by Oscar-nominated Daria Kashcheeva and co-production film Salvation Has No Name by Joseph Wallace will be screened in the Short Films in Competition section. Furthermore, The Goose, directed by Jan Míka, will play within the Short Films Young Audiences in Competition, Hadis by Nazrin Aghamaliyeva will be part of Perspectives Short Films in Competition and two student films Dede is Dead by Philippe Kastner and Carp Xmass by Anna Heribanová will be shown among the Graduation Films in Competition. And last but not least, Annecy’s Mifa Pitches will give floor to the upcoming short film of Michaela Mihályi called Period Drama.
Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light, a stop-motion puppet animation feature film debut of director and illustrator Filip Pošivač, who stood behind the successful short Overboard!, tells a story of the eleven-year-old Tony, who has a unique feature he was born with - he glows. He spends his days at home in his blanket bunker under the guidance of his controlling parents and dreams about having a friend. Before Christmas, a peculiar girl named Shelly moves into his house and turns his world upside down. Together, they embark on an adventurous search for the origin of the mysterious tufts of darkness which suck the sunshine out of their house. Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light is a film about what it's like to be different, about friendship and imagination, and also about light and darkness.
The film is a coproduction of Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary with Pavla Janoušková Kubečková of nutprodukce and Jakub Viktorín of nutprodukcia being the main producers. Czech Television, Gábor Osváth from Filmfabriq, Kouzelná animace and Radio and Television Slovakia are the coproducers. The Czech Film Fund provided the support of EUR 622 00 and it was also supported by Slovak Audiovisual Fund, Creative Europe – MEDIA, Eurimages, Zlín Region and National Film Institute Hungary. As a feature film in the making, Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light was presented at various platforms including Cinekid Junior Co-production Market in 2018, Animarkt Stop Motion Forum 2020 and Cartoon Movie 2022.
The premiere of the film will take place in Annecy at the Contrechamp competition, which was first introduced in 2018, consists approximately of 10 feature films and complements the Official Feature Films competition.
Electra marks a return to Annecy for director Daria Kashcheeva, whose previous animated short Daughter was world-premiered at the festival in 2019 and awarded the Cristal for Graduation Film there, followed by festival screenings and shower of awards from all over the world, which culminated in the nomination for Academy Award in the Best Animated Short film category in 2020. Electra will be in Annecy presented at the Short Films in Competition section.
The film tells a story of Electra, who rethinks her 10th birthday, mixing memories with imagination and hidden dreams. Isolated in her fantasy world full of made-up busty dolls, plastic men’s body parts, juicy strawberries and dentist tools, she builds up her own relationships with her body and sexuality. Diving deeper and deeper into her childhood memories, she experiences again rebellion against her mother and mixed feelings for her father. Electra has to go through the most painful memories to let her suppressed feelings come out. In the end, she is ready to reveal what has really happened during her 10th birthday.
The main producers of Electra are once again Martin Vandas and Zuzana Křivková of MAUR film, a Czech production company with many years of experience in animation, with FAMU (CZ), Artichoke (SK) and Papy3D (FR) being the coproducers. The film received EUR 155 000 in support from the Czech Film Fund and it was supported also by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund, CNC, ARTE France, FILMTALENT Zlín and by the Pilsen Region. Sales and festivals are handled by Miyu Distribution.
Salvation Has No Name, a British-French-Czech short stop motion animation film by Joseph Wallace, which was co-produced by Michal Podhradský of Animation People on the Czech side and supported by the Czech Film Fund in the minority coproductions scheme with EUR 16 000, world-premiered at Edinburgh International Film Festival in 2022 and in Annecy, it will be presented at the Short Films in Competition section as well.
A naive circus troupe come together to tell a cinematic folktale of a disillusioned priest who falls in love with a desperate refugee, incurring the wrath of his contemptuous parish. When the refugee rejects her fate, the performers are forced to question the morality of their tale.
Producer Michal Podhradský and his Animation People also stand behind The Goose, directed by Jan Míka, which was selected to compete in the Short Films Young Audiences in Competition section. The story of a little boy who wants to become a famous football player and play in big stadiums, but first he has to win a match on his own backyard, was premiered at Premiers Plans Angers, followed by the screening in Clermont-Ferrand and BUFF Malmö.
The Goose is a coproduction of Czech Republic and France, with Autour de Minuit, Filmofon and ADV Studios being the coproducers. The film received support from the Czech Film Fund in amount of EUR 52 000.
In a world ruled by crows and discrimination, a young girl decides to fight for justice. That's a story of a short animated film Hadis by Nazrin Aghamaliyeva, which will be shown in the Perspectives Short Films in Competition program. The film is a co-production between Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and United States and was produced by Rashid Aghamaliyev.
Moreover, the highly competitive section Graduation Films in Competition features two short films from Prague's FAMU. Philippe Kastner's Dede is Dead about the loss of beloved pet and overcoming the grief will have its French premiere at the festival after its successful launch at Generation Kplus in Berlin earlier this year, where the children jury awarded the film with Special Mention. The second film to appear in this section is Carp Xmass by Anna Heribanová. A dark comedy about the twisted Christmas traditions has already screened at various festivals including Premieres Plans Angers, Anifilm or Animateka.
The Goose, Dede is Dead and Carp Xmass are also all part of the Czech Short Films 2023 collection promoting Czech shorts abroad.
Last but not least, Mifa, the Annecy’s film market, will give floor to the upcoming Czech-Slovak short film project Period Drama within the Mifa Pitches. The new short film of director Michaela Mihályi and producer Jakub Rálek of BFILM.cz explores in four chapters the topic of first menstruation, with plot points referencing the biological events that occur during the phases of the menstrual cycle. Menstruation connects the vignettes like a secret thread. Through the humorous gaze of a character, the film analyses menstruation's essential and often baffling presence in life. While commenting on adolescence, gender politics, sexuality, motherhood and Orlando Bloom, the main character takes us on a surreal trip that begins with her first period and continues as she, much like an egg, matures. Michaela Mihályi, together with Dávid Štumpf, stood also behind the successful animated short Sh_t Happens (2019), which was presented at Mifa Pitches in 2018 and as a completed film screened in Venice, Tallinn or Sundance.
Czech cinema has been well-represented in Annecy throughout the past quite well. Since its inception in 1960, more than 150 Czechoslovak and later Czech short and feature films were presented in Annecy. In 2021, three Czech features premiered in Annecy - My Sunny Maad, for which was director Michaela Pavlátová awarded the Jury in Prize and early this year also the French César, Even Mice Belong in Heaven, directed by Denisa Grimmová and Jan Bubeníček, and the long-awaited minority coproduction The Crossing by Florence Miailhe. Also, several Czech shorts premiered recently at the festival – At Spiral’s End by Eliška Kerbachová and minority coproductions Scale and Paolo’s Happiness in 2022 or Sisters by Andrea Szelesová in 2021.
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