Prague 10 May 2010 - AniFest 2010 will shortly open its gates in TEPLICE. It will offer a rich program, from which we have culled some information for fans of special visual effects filmsand the Lithuanian Retrospective. What exactly is a special visual effects film, and what was its evolution in the context of Czech cinematography? The 100th anniversary of the birth of Karel Zeman, who through his work significantly pushed the boundaries of visual effects film, presents an opportunity to map this issue. To that end, the 9th Annual Anifest has invited a number of experts to whose seminars and workshops we cordially invite you.

    The Lithuanian Retrospective is the first of the Baltic harbingers, putting forth its objective as being to map and better get to know the animation work in this Baltic republic, the so-far least known and least explored. It encompasses 16 films dating from 1913 to the present, and representing 14 filmmakers.

    Film artist, visual effects specialist and painter, Jiří Štamfest from the Universal Production Partners studio will present the special technique of matte painting, by which never-before seen effects were achieved in legendary feature films like Invention of Destruction (Vynález zkázy, 1958) or Baron Munchausen (Baron Prášil,1962)

    One of the members of the international jury of AniFest, the visual effects Boris Masník will familiarize attendees with the technology of classic, non-computer, visual effects, that Czech filmmakers successfully employed in their film hits such as Lemonade Joe (Limonádový Joe1964), Girl on a Broomstick (Dívka na koštěti,1971), How to Drown Dr. Mráček (Jak utopit Dr. Mráčka, 1974) or What About Spinach? (Což takhle dát si špenát? ,1977) and also in series like Arabela (Arabela, 1979) and Octopus from the Second Floor (Chobotnice z II. patra,1986). Experienced visual effects artist Masník, in whose filmography we find, for example, the films Secret of the Steel City (Tajemství ocelového města, 1978) and the series Visitors (Návštěvníci, 1982), has rich experience with the current trends in computer effects and so the title of his second lecture will be Digital Effects from the Perspective of a Classic Effects Man ".

    Even the fans of current, big budget action films that display the most up to date technical magic will be happy at AniFest 2010,as visual effects professional Jakub Pistecký from the famous American studio, Industrial Light & Magic accepted our invitation to join us. Pistecký is of Czech origin, living since childhood with his parents in Canada and his credits include films like Transformers (2007), Iron Man (2008) and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

    The company AV MEDIA will make visitors‘ stay at AniFest 2010 more interesting in a special hall of the Teplice Conservatory where they will present current Stereoscopic Techniques and Technologies. Viewers here will see a series of stereoscopic films and can also participate in three special seminars with the titles: Production of 3D Stereoscopic Films, Optical Recording of Motion (used, for example, in the film Avatar) and The Basics of 3D Interactive Game Design.

    If one would like to understand the essence of visual effects film, it is definitely recommended that person see some visual effects films and that is why AniFest has prepared a number of special screenings. If we leave out Zeman‘s Masterpieces (complete filmography on 35 mm film), also screened will be the films of the pioneer of film effects, Georges Méliès, then further the famous King Kong (1933) by visual effects man Willis H. O´Brian, Jason and the Argonauts (1963) by his student Ray Harryhaus and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) by Terryh Gilliam. We will also see a representative work of the most modern film technology, in 3D, A Christmas Carol (2009) directed by Robert Zemeckis

    Scope of the Lithuanian Retrospective

    The Retrospective encompases16 films, dating from 1913 to the present. The initial year of the retrospective - 1913 relates to the first, "revolutionary" works begun in Lithuania and completed in Moscow by Vladislav Starevič (we're presenting the lesser-known works, despite the very interesting, in terms of animation, film Vánoce u obyvatel lesa (Christmas with Residents of the Forest)), and the last film of the retrospective, Synchronization (Synchronizace, dir. Rimas Sakalauskas) is, in contrast, a display of computer animation of the 21st Century.

    Represented Filmmakers

    The Retrospective will present 14 filmmakers overall. The classics, among which are Vladislav Starevič, Zenonas Tarakevičius, Antanas Janauskas, Ilja Bereznickas, Nijole Valadkevičiute, Zenonas Šteinys, Valentas Aškinis and the younger filmmakers, such as Jurate Leikaite, Danas Bereznickas, Antanas Skučas, Rasa Joni, Ieva Miškinyte, Meinardas Valkevičius and Rimas Sakalauskas.

    Selection Criteria - what is represented in the retrospective

    Period of Creation

    Lithuanian animation has gone through several evolutionary phases, whereas the breakthrough year was 1984, when an independent section of animated work was established at the Lithuanian film studios. Up until this time their animation work is generally referred to as amateur. However, post 1984 work is already within the professional realm.


    Unmistakable humor and perspective play a significant role in most of the films. The themes range from mythological and fairy tale themes through philosophical and psychological to social themes, that all intertwine together.

    Animation Techniques

    The techniques represented include puppet, drawn and paper cutout animation as well as films created using combined techniques even including Shadow Play Theater. During the selection process, our program directors were guided by their effort to cover the broadest scale of varied aspects with the exception of the "formal Disney type" animation, and with the objective of enabling the viewer to get an overall perspective regarding the directions in which Lithuanian animation has taken over the course of the past 100 years. Disney-style work is not represented intentionally (despite the fact that it also is present in Lithuania), because the objective was to find originality and invention in processes, not formal perfection. The fact that the Retrospective includes a number of debuting filmmakers was not planned. We feel that the debuting films, in addition to inventiveness and playfulness, are significant as well for their approach to the material and in the given case may even be considered as breakthrough works.

    Mini-Retrospective of Antanas Janauskas

    This lone filmmaker, characterized by his minimalism and laconic approach (something the Czech viewer might relate to), is represented here by three films from various time periods:

    Initiative (1970), Chair (1995) and Short Circuit (2003). As a filmmaker he holds several awards from international festivals (USA, Latvia), and his films Telegastrovision and Trumpas Sujungimas are listed on IMDb. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3671391/, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1536504/

    When the retrospective will be presented

    The Lithuanian Retrospective is scheduled as part of the Anifest program for May 19, from 2 p.m. at the Kino Květen-Dům kultury, and on May 21, from 4:30 p.m. (Estrádní sál - Dům kultury). The feature-length live-action documentary on the life and work of Vladislav Starevič, Bug Buster, that will be an unfettered part of the Retrospective will be screened on May 19th at 11 o'clock and May 22nd at 12:30 at the small hall of the Krušnohorské Theater (Malý sál Krušnohorského divadla).

    The Lithuanian Retrospective will have its first planned repeat presentation as part of the Echoes of Anifest program, June 7, from 6 p.m. at the Moravian Gallery in Brno (Moravska galerie v Brně).

    Program Guest

    A special guest of the program will be the most significant Lithuanian animator, Antanas Janauskas.

    Detailed information regarding the schedule for AniFest 2010, accreditation and the two-day international conference, Karel Zeman - Cinema of Miracles (May 17. - 18.) can be found on the festival website.

    For greater comfort of festival visitors and for the sake of expedience, this year's AniFest offers the opportunity of Online Accreditation. More at: http://www.anifest.cz/

    AntiFest wire

    AniFest is the largest international, specialized competition festival of animated film in the Czech Republic, with a 9-year tradition. Its mission is the expansion of Czech animation within the European and global contexts. The festival gives professionals, as well as the general public, the opportunity to see the best works, top personalities and the latest trends in domestic and global animation. AniFest carries on its activities year-round within the framework of the Institute of Animation, Echoes of AniFst, AniFest at Schools, and Little Schools of Animation.

    Magdalena Šebestová

    Press secretary