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Fresh Blood of Polish Animation (written by Mariusz Frukacz)

July 28, 2010 Leave a comment

To all those who would like to have a read something about the shape of contemporary Polish animation but do not really read in Polish, I present a piece of text written in English. Its author is Mariusz Frukacz, Polish film critic and promoter of animated film in Poland and abroad. The article has recently been published in Asifa Magazine (vol. 22 no. 2, Winter Issue 2009) and is one of the most interesting insight in the context of Polish new animation I have come across to date.

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Fresh blood of Polish animation.

It has been quite a while now since Polish animated film was in as good shape as it is today. The year of 2008 seems to have been very generous. Polish animation finally got proper attention and bigger money. A lot of time was spent on revising its 60 year history, honoured authors, and distinguished film titles. However, I decided to have a closer look at what is happening here and now; I want to answer a question about the nature of the present moment in Polish animation. Above all I concentrated on those who are part of today’s Polish animated film industry, namely on animators of our young generation.

Since 1989 – a landmark in Polish history – throughout the next 15 years, there have not been many debuts in Polish animation. No one doubts, I guess, the reasons for the situation.  Production crisis – not only in animation but in the whole cinematography industry – limited possibilities for professional development, hence young authors graduating from four major Polish schools teaching animation were ignored by the animation market. Out of necessity they had to start looking for alternative occupations and engaged with television, advertisement and graphics… Undoubtedly the 1990s was the lost time for Polish animation; it was the time of a lost generation of young animators who did not have a chance to professionally develop their creative skills. The beginning of the 21st century and changes implemented in the production funding system, including the foundation of Polish Film Institute, gave Polish animators new perspectives. The dynamics of the processes is best visible through a prism of the competition at Polish National Festival of Author’s Animated Films OFAFA held in Cracow, which has reflected the state of Polish animation for many years. In 2002 the professionals’ competition presented only 2 out of 18 films in the competition made by animators born in the 70s and the 80s. Only one debut was shown to the festival audience – Cathedral by Tomek Baginski, nominated for the Academy Award half a year later. Five years passed by, eight debuts were competed at the festival and as many as 14 competition films were produced by authors born in the 70s and the 80s. In 2008 young animators’ productions amounted to 85 per cent of all professional animated films in the competition. If we added to it students’ works and amateurs’ films, we would come to a conclusion that some fresh blood has finally rushed into Polish animation veins. Read more…

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