01 Press release

International Animated Film Festival
EFFE (Europe for Festival Festival For Europe) 2019/2021
19th edition | Conversano (BA), 23 – 28 August 2021

The only Apulian event on international auteur animation returns to Conversano with an impressive program and the presence of the Oscar winner Aleksandr Petrov.

The nineteenth edition of Imaginaria, a festival dedicated to auteur animation cinema, which will be held from 23 to 28 August in various places in the historic center of the city of art of Conversano, promises once again to be an edition of particular cultural importance. . A unique opportunity to admire visionary, surreal, dreamlike, irreverent, abstract works on an exclusive basis, but also to explore contemporary themes for one of the most anticipated and popular film events of the Apulian summer. There will also be collateral events, exhibitions, workshops for children, animated readings, masterclasses, meetings with the author and international guests.

The prestigious presence of Oscar winner Aleksandr Petrov at the next edition of” Imaginaria “confirms what Apulia Film Commission, in line with regional strategies, is doing in this increasingly growing audiovisual sector – comments Simonetta Dellomonaco, president of Apulia Film Commission-. Animation cinema, as well as the entire digital and virtual reality supply chain, today represents an important frontier at national and international level, not only for distribution and dissemination, but also for production. In Puglia there are production companies of animation cinema that have reached leading quality levels, it is no coincidence that this format has been included in our Film Fund, which can represent a great opportunity for the development of the film industry. In this “Imaginaria”, with its long experience and the ability to intercept excellence on the international scene, it represents a strategic and essential element, not only for the knowledge and dissemination of this specific film format, but also to become an event linked to the industry sector, as we intend to do with all the other festivals of the Apulia Film Commission network ”.

The program includes the screening of 150 films from among those in competition, out of competition and selected special programs, with particular care by the selection and programming manager Maria Pia Santillo. The selection for the competition saw the participation in the Call of over 3000 films from all over the world. The works are all regional, national and international premieres.
The competitive section is divided into three categories: one dedicated to independent films (29 selected works), one dedicated to films for children (30 works in selection), another to student films (39 works selected from all the most important schools of international art and animation).

For the International Short Film category, the international jury is composed of Virginia Mori, illustrator and director of animated films, Aneta Orozek artistic director of the Kaboom Festival in Amsterdam and Carolina López Caballero artistic director of Animac, the most famous animation festival in Catalonia.
For the Student Short Film category, the Jury is made up of 13 students of the first year of the MA in Illustration of the prestigious ISIA of Urbino where they study, among other subjects, also Animation with Magda Guidi and Mara Cerri. For the Short Film for Kids category, the Jury is made up of 10 children who attended the fifth grade of primary schools in Conversano.

“Special Imaginaria Award 2021” to Aleksandr Petrov.
World famous artist, Oscar winner Aleksandr Petrov will be present at Imaginaria to receive Honorary Citizenship and the Festival’s Special Award. Petrov uses to define the technique with which he creates his works “the shortest way from the heart to the animated work”. It is a rather complex technique thanks to which this artist has been able to masterfully combine pictorial talent, creativity and narrative sensitivity: distributed the oil colors on a glass plate, Petrov paints his stories with his fingers, using the brush only in cases exceptional. For a minute of film it is necessary to paint about a thousand “pictures”; each of them comes to life from the changes made in the previous one in a constant becoming of shapes, colors, shadows and lights. In front of the viewer’s gaze, intense scenes change into one another almost by magic, merging into a film composition of extraordinary beauty. Petrov attended art courses at VGIK (Russian National School of Film and Television) and was a pupil of the great artist Yuri Norstein. After making his first films in Russia, he worked in Canada on the transposition of the novel The Old Man and the Sea which received various awards including an Oscar in 1999.
Aleksandr Petrov will receive the special prize of the festival and accompanying him will be the curator Eugenia Gaglianone, expert in the language, literature and history of Russian and Soviet cinema.
Phimography: Marathon (1988, directed and animated with Mikhail Tumelja), The cow (1989, based on Andrej Platonov), The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1999, based on Fyodor Dostoevsky), Mermaid (1997, based on Aleksandr Pushkin), The old man and the sea (1999, based on the novel of the same name by Ernest Hemingway), Winter Days (2003, collective animated film), My Love (Moja ljubov ‘) (2006, based on Ivan Šmelëv).

Over the years, the city of Urbino has seen the formation of numerous internationally acclaimed animated filmmakers. It all originated at the Art School “School of the Book” where, in 1951, the animated drawing section was born. This tradition, then consolidated over the years, has been preserved and handed down from generation to generation by various authors who in more recent times have also begun to be formed at the ISIA Urbino (Higher Institute for Artistic Industries), considered the most important state institution in Italy for graphic and editorial design. The ISIA training course consists of a three-year degree course in Graphic Design and Visual Communication and three master’s degree courses in Communication, Design and Publishing, Photography of Cultural Heritage and Illustration. Among the teachings of the MA in Illustration we also find the Short Animated course I held by Magda Guidi and II held by Mara Cerri, both with years of experience as illustrators and directors of animated films.
The focus is especially centered on animation made by hand, using traditional techniques: techniques that have made the style of many authors included in the so-called “Neopictoric Current” unmistakable, many of whom come from ISIA and the Urbino School of Books. .
Imaginaria dedicates a focus to the Short Animated course with a program that includes both the very short study exercises of the first year and the diploma shorts of the second year, showing how – through a well-structured educational and artistic path – the student is educated to observation and analysis of visual facts and the elaboration of a gaze intended as a form of thought and as a writing with multiple narrative possibilities.


“At the table! it is our entrée to the festival, our invitation to “banquet de le vande laute” as Virgil wrote in The Aeneid. A special program on the joyful and convivial aspect of food, here metaphorically associated with the pleasure of watching a cinematographic work: laden tables, opulence and lust with some merciless twist that takes us back to unforgettable scenes of Italian comedy, to high-protein painting and vehement by Enrico Robusti or at that sumptuous banquet which was destroyed in “Le Margheritine” by Věra Chytilová. Of tête-à-tête that offer a polychromatic and iridescent, sometimes grotesque, portrait of food and being together at symposium. ” – Maria Pia Santillo.

“In Conversano there is no sea. So why not imagine it, I said to myself. Thus was born the idea of ​​PLAYA IMAGINARIA: playing a little with the name of the festival and with the title of a summer hit from the 80s. Combining words, connecting many references settled in my mind: the Italian summer immortalized by Claude Nori and Luigi Ghirri; “Sun & Sea” – the winning performance installation of the 58th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art; the summer memories of my childhood and above all a handful of short animated works that I had accumulated over the years, hoping – one day – to curate a special program that focused on summer beaches. The heat of the controra, the bathing rituals, the weather that in summer seems a mirage for the eyes and the limbs: “the daily experience feeds on the imagination, continuously crossing and forming a single mythological substance” wrote Teo Hernandez . Perhaps, there is no more explanatory phrase for PLAYA IMAGINARIA: it will be a program halfway between a site-specific installation and the illusion of an immersive and all-encompassing experience. It will be as if there were the sea in Conversano ”-  (by Maria Pia Santillo).

“Collage! is a selection of short works on the border between animated and experimental cinema: from the experiments of Stan VanDerBeek, Barbara Hammer and Xander Marro to the recent music videos of Winston Hacking, Ugo Vittu and Peter The Moon passing through the dream-alchemical synthesis by Virgilio Villoresi with Vivì Ponti and the imaginative animations by Lawrence Jordan made with collages of Victorian engravings. In the collage everything seems to lead us back to a phrase from Ovid’s “The Metamorphoses”: “inspiration pushes me to tell about changed forms, in new bodies”. Hence the refutation of the tertium non datur, the immersion in the realm of free-form symbolism, of playful combinatorial creativity. An opportunity to discover, to the rhythm of collage, the “theaters of the mind” – to quote Lawrence Jordan – of these brilliant filmmakers. ” – (by Maria Pia Santillo)

SPECIAL PROGRAMS – Children and Families
Czech Courts in collaboration with NFA – Národní filmový Archiv Prague
Imaginaria dedicates a special program for children and families to twentieth-century Czech animation cinema with short works by Ludvík Kadleček and Hermina Týrlová, two of the leading exponents of twentieth-century Czech animation. Týrlová, often referred to as the mother of Czech animation, has produced over 60 animated short films for children over the course of her career using puppets and stop motion animation techniques; Kadleček, leading figure of the Zlìn animation studio and set designer of many short films directed by Týrlová, made his debut with the film “Why is the giraffe crying? (Proč Pláče Zirafa, 1960), the first example of the use of a folding book in animated cinema and has also worked with techniques such as claymation and stop motion. The program sees the collaboration of the Národní filmový archiv (NFA) – the Czech National Film Archive – one of the 10 oldest and largest film archives in the world, whose mission is to preserve film heritage, promote public understanding and facilitate the development of the Czech audiovisual industry and film culture.

Imaginaria also winks at digital 3D animation by dedicating a special program for children and families to ESMA, a school of applied arts present in Montpellier, Montreal, Toulouse, Lyon and Nantes, with more than 25 years of experience and recognized in international level for the quality and richness of his artistic teaching. Six graduation shorts are on the program: six ordinary stories transformed into adventures with a comic rhythm thanks to the use of unexpected narrative and stylistic expedients.

Our planet is teeming with life and we have a duty to protect it. But can this safeguard exist or be effective even when we ignore the role and functioning of most of the species, or rather, of those that most frighten us? This program of 4 short films shows with sweetness and tenderness the universe of some of these “unloved” animals to which stories and legends or simply prejudices have unfortunately given a bad name.

CALAMITY – A childhood of Martha Jane Cannary
On the last evening there will be an out-of-competition screening and a regional preview of the feature film “Calamity – A Childhood by Martha Jane Cannary” directed by French director Rémi Chayé. The film is the fictionalized childhood story of Calamity Jane, a historic character who became legend for being the first female gunfighter and famous for wearing men’s clothes, becoming one of the first representatives of women’s rights. Calamity is a film for everyone, a story with a typical western setting made up of splendid unspoiled landscapes, horseback riding and gold hunting, all accompanied by the bluegrass of the evocative soundtrack, and with a very important theme: the fight for the women’s emancipation and for equal rights. The film received 1 nomination for the European Film Awards, 1 nomination for Cesar, 2 nominations for Lumiere Awards.

FLEE by Jonas Poher Rasmussen
Grand Prize at Sundance’s World Cinema Documentary and Cristallo for Best Feature Film at Annecy International Animated Film Festival, “Flee” (2021) directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, internationally co-produced and based on a true story, documents the story of Amin Nawabi , a successful university researcher, grappling with a painful secret kept under wraps for 20 years about his past as a refugee and refugee. The masterful idea of ​​using animation to tell such a painfully current story makes this film a unicuum in the panorama of animated feature films of all time.

The Imaginaria festival will open its doors on 23 August with a special inaugural evening during which the program and the exhibitions set up in the exhibition spaces of the San Giuseppe Complex will be presented. The evening will end in the churchyard of the Basilica-Cathedral of Conversano with an evocative live event with Mop Mop and video mapping curated by the Collettivo Mira.
Alongside the competitive sections, some special programs are planned for both children and families and for a more heterogeneous audience with real gems of classic and contemporary animated cinema.
On the “education and training” front, the festival will offer various workshops including that of animation cinema for children curated by the MUTA collective and there will be animated readings curated by Semi di Carta, the Ciurma di Taranto bookshop and the “La Puglia tells ”of Bari.

Of particular importance are the exhibitions that will be presented in the San Giuseppe Complex and in particular the one-man show dedicated to Virginia Mori and Jimmy Liao, the most famous author of illustrated books in Asia.
Virginia Mori, born in 1981, lives and works between Pesaro and Milan. You studied animation and design at the Urbino State Institute of Art. During this time she has nurtured and honed her peculiar artistic imagination of her. Her favorite mediums are pencil, ink and ballpoint pen on paper. In 2008 you won the “SRG idee suisse” award at the “Call for project of Annecy” during the International Animation Festival in Annecy, France. This allowed her to produce her first short film, “The game of silence”, which won nominations and awards in international events, starting her career as an illustrator and director of animated short films. At the same time he worked as a freelancer for a series of clients and galleries such as Withstand (Milan), for which he created the illustrations for the video “The Walt Grace submarine test, January 1967” by John Mayer, director Virgilio Villoresi and the famous cartoon book “Vento”, Blu Gallery (Bologna), Fendi (Rome), Valentino (Milan), Galleria Disastro (Milan) and 25Films (Paris), Club Sensible Gallery (Paris), Pelledoca publisher (Milan), Penguin Random House (Spain), EL Editions, Vogue Arts, Feltrinelli publisher, Bollati and Boringhieri.
Jimmy Liao was born in Taipei in Taiwan in 1958 and is the most famous author of illustrated books in Asia.
He graduated in Figurative Arts, and since then has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer and designer, devoting himself more to the illustration of magazines and books. Since 1998 he has published over 50 titles, translated into 15 languages, which have sold more than 5 million copies worldwide. His stories have become films, plays, theme parks, hotels, subway stops. China Airlines created a plane covered with his illustrations. The short film from his book, “A Fish That Smile at Me”, received the Special Prize of the Youth Section at the Berlin Film Festival in 2006. It was nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2014 and 2016. With Terre di mezzo Editore, Jimmy Liao has published “L’arcobaleno del tempo” (2018), a moving and extraordinary book on the power of love and the magic of cinema; and “Incontri disincontri” (2017), a magical book with two protagonists, who live close together, but seem destined never to meet, until one day something happens. In addition, in 2020, always for Terre di mezzo, “Cats like us (I miss you, where are you?)” And “Libero come un fish” were released. The original edition of “The rainbow of time” received the Cinema category Mention at the Bologna Ragazzi Award 2020 and will have a space dedicated to Imaginaria inside the cloister of San Giuseppe.

The opening of the Festival, created using traditional animation techniques, is curated by the animator and illustrator Benedetta Fasson, while the illustration of the impressive poster is created by the Conversano artist Vito Savino. Benedetta Fasson is a freelance illustrator from Verona, she studied Decoration at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and graduated from the illustration course at the ISIA in Urbino.
Vito Savino, a graduate of the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, is a multifaceted artist, particularly prone to contamination, research and experimentation, in his paintings he mixes languages ​​and situations in absolute freedom, giving life to an interior journey and nomadism cultural. He has created the illustration for the poster of the Imaginaria festival since 2012.
These two artists, one using animated language, the other that of drawing and illustration, tried to give a visual and imaginative representation of both the beautiful village of Conversano and the innovative and creative spirit of the Festival.

The awards are made by the well-known Polignano artist Peppino Campanella.
Each work is unique, created by hand in every part, thanks to skill, flair and artistic sense. The works created by Campanella represent masterpieces of art and design that are not only intended to illuminate, but also to create atmospheres, evoke sea, sky and … wonder. The atelier-laboratory is located in an old oil mill, with a spectacular terrace overlooking the sea: one of the most evocative landscapes of Polignano a Mare. Here art is alive and constantly evolving, just like nature.