„Twisted Dreams of History. Subversiveness and Deformation in Animated Film from V4 Countries” will take place on September 11th -13th in Polish city Bielska-Biała located on the borderland between Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. The event that is widely and freely open for the public will be attended by the group of sixteen scholars from Poland, Hungary, Russia, Czech Republic, China and Italy invited to ponder over animated film in the context of the subjects that have always been swept under the rug of the mainstream culture.
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In the course of 20th and 21st century, the medium of animated film has become specialized in portraying the dissident realm of intimate obsessions, obscure perversions and mighty rebellions–motives which have always functioned as stirring wheels of censorship and propaganda as well as sponsorship and media interest. Tragic history of the region, its political transformations full of suspense and sudden switches as well as outstanding scholar traditions bring another perspective onto animation art from Visegrad countries. Their social structures and models of identification are rooted in fragile compromises between the state of dependency and fight for liberation, technological and economic modernizations versus centralized stagnation, avant-garde art and progressive intellectual movements as opposed to conservative approach towards art, lifestyle, civil society, science and humanities. The concept of Visegrad as „another European conjunction” would not exist without geographical and discursive references to Western European cultural traditions.
This most fascinating cultural pattern of art entangled with politics has become a starting point for deliberations that will be conducted in Bielsko-Biała. Throughout the years artistic animated film, the so-called ‘little cinema’, has deeply influenced the culture of Central-East Europe. While live-action cinematography in Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia has faced several ups-and-downs, animation from Visegrad countries has always glittered on the cinema screens or tv sets all the way from Ottawa to Hiroshima. Animation filmmaking education centres such as FAMU in Prague, VŠMU in Bratislava, MOME in Budapest or Film School in Lodz up until now bring attention of most ambitious young filmmakers from all around the world eager to develop individual stylistics under supervision of acclaimed masters. Surprisingly Animated Film Studies in the region are not yet broadly developed. The conference in Bielsko-Biała aims to become a stable platform for film scholars interested in Visegrad animation who wish to define main research questions and look for satisfying threads and leads in concepts and theories developed in the frames of Film and Cultural Studies. Monograph volume on the subject of Visegrad animation will be published after the conference.
Three-days conference consists in five panel discussions (Friday, Saturday), a summative round table (Sunday) and animated film screenings (whole weekend). Panel ‘Imagining Politics’ opens with a lecture of Prof. Marcin Giżycki (Rhode Island School of Design; Katowice School of Technology, Animator Festival Artistic Director) who will critically reflect on traditions of Polish politically involved animation, subject which will appear again in Wiola Sowa’s (filmmaker; Pedagogical University) speech focused on feminist discourse. Two Hungarian scholars will demonstrate manners of conceptualizing history in animation from wide, comparative perspective (Brigitta Ivanyi-Bitter, Ph.D., MOME, Budapest) as well as from close-up on Hungarian cinematography (Anna Ida Orosz, Ph.D. Candidate, ELTE, Budapest).
Authorial animation will be discussed by the examples of artwork of Zdzisław Kudła, long-time director of Animated Film Studio in Bielsko-Biała (the oldest and still active Polishstudio) in a speech of Michał Bobrowski, (Ph.D., Jagiellonian University, Krakow), films of Alexander Sroczyński, somehow forgotten master of absurd animation, will be discussed by Denis Viren (Ph.D., State Institute for Art Studies, Moscow) while intellectual and artistic influences of Polish painter Zdzisław Beksińskion animation will become a subject of speech delivered by Maciej Stasiowski (Ph.D. Candidate, Jagiellonian University, Krakow). Unquestionable impact on worldwide animation of Czech surrealist Jan Švankamjer will be presented from double perspective by Bogusław Zmudziński (Ph.D., AGH University of Science and Technology, Krakow) and Jiří Neděla (MA, Pedagogical Faculty of Palacký University, Olomouc). Intermedia character of animation and intertextuality imprinted in it will be discussed by filmmakers who are also active as teachers such as Robert Sowa (Ph.D., Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow) and Guo Chunning (Ph.D. Candidate, Renmin University, Beijing) as well as researcher Olga Bobrowska (Ph.D. Candidate, Jagiellonian University, Krakow). On special ‘Italian Connection’ panel relations between Italy and Visegrad region will be exposed in the lectures of dr hab. Stefan Bielański, prof. UP (Pedagogical University) and Giuseppe Sedia (FIPRESCI) while male/female filmmaking dichotomy and its consequences on the shape of contemporary Italian animation will be introduced by Prof.Paola Bristot (Academy of Fine Arts, Bologna) and Andrea Martignoni, world-class sound-designer and a teacher on IULM University, Milano.
Conference disputes will be accompanied by film screenings. On Thursday (Sept. 10th) you’re welcome to attend Animation Warm-Up and admire works of young Visegrad artists presented in a special collection released by Visegrad Animation Forum in 2015.Friday (Sept. 11th) brings Twisted Dreams of Primanima, selection of most intriguing films from Hungarian festival Primanima run by conference’s speaker Anna Ida Orosz. Saturday screening (Sept. 12th) is dedicated to the presentation of best competition films from five editions of Slovenian/Polish festival of stop motion animation Stop Trik IFF, the selection will be introduced by festival directors Olga and Michal Bobrowscy. Sunday (Sept. 13th) brings a special screening of artistic cut-out films from Animated Film Studio in Bielsko-Białaand later on mural way urban walk. After fascinating discussions and exciting film screenings you are welcome to enjoy a bit of entertainment during Animated Nights with music videos from Croatian Supertoon Festival (Friday, Cafe Aquarium at Gallery BWA) and StopTrik IFF (Saturday, Cafe&Bar Celna 10)