“SIMPLY SHORT”: Central Europe’s best short animated films, or Animation – Certainly not for kids…

The title “Simply short” will cover the selection of the most interesting short animated films by promising young filmmakers from Central and Eastern Europe to hit the cinemas on September 21, 2017. It represents the contemporary works from the last two years, including abstract experiment as well as the Happy End black comedy from last year’s Oscar nomination shortlist.

A collage of a total runtime of 69 minutes consists of 11 short films from 6 countries: beside two “domestic” representatives, from Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. The Czech films are the aforementioned Happy End by FAMU graduate, director, scriptwriter and cameramen, Jan Saska, as well as a visually creative film called “More I Know”.

With respect to the serious themes and focus on abstract art, the compilation is intended primarily for adults who wish to discover the works by Central Europe’s most talented students, graduates and junior artists. “Short independent animation presented by our selection is thriving in Central and Eastern Europe, making it an equal partner for the rest of the world. Our countries boast a multitude of legendary artists and emerging talents with a promise of successful career. In this case, the situation differs greatly from feature works or series. In the short film area, we are doing brilliantly,” says Maroš Brojo, the President of the Slovak animation festival in Žilina and the project curator who also served as a jury member for film nominations.

The films were selected by a jury of festival dramaturgs from all of the countries involved (i.e. the Visegrad Four, Slovenia and Croatia). They looked primarily at the visual part, precision of the specific animation technique utilised as well as the content value.

The curator, Maroš Brojo, comments on the selection: “Probably the most noteworthy film is the highly successful Happy End by Jan Saska, one of the most valued recent domestic films which went as far as the 10-short animated film Oscar shortlist. In an extremely funny way, the film captures the mentality of rural Central Europe and creatively plays with the motif of refusing responsibility by throwing the hot potato elsewhere. A captivating, visually attractive view of the forms of people’s attractiveness is provided by the Hungarian film Noise of Licking with a slightly dendrophile undertone by Nadja Andrasev. Besides other awards, the film was rightfully awarded the Cinéfondation prize at the prestigious Cannes Festival. Cowboyland is a Slovak western grotesque comedy telling a story of incompetent authorities as well as the robbers themselves. Naturally, it is an innocent civilian who pays for all the faults in the end of the film, to start the whole cycle all over again,“ reveals Maroš Brojo.

It is great that a compilation of short films which are usually available just at festival screenings arrives in standard distribution. Although festivals are a fantastic opportunity they are for the fans, really. So I am glad that the short film discipline is coming back to cinemas where everyone can go and see it,” believes Jan Saska, the author of Happy End which won the Anifilm student film category last year.

The compilation is backed up by the Association of Czech Animation which is one of the founding members of the Central European creative platform, the Visegrad Animation Forum (VAF). It aims to encourage the animation discipline in the Central and Eastern European region and create opportunities for producer, studios, TV stations and film distributors to meet. The films from the “Simply short” compilation were made thanks to cooperation initiated within VAF and to funding from the State Cinematography Fund.

Author Description

Marta Obršálová