The 6th "Animafilm" International Animation Festival is taking place in Baku from September 6 to 10, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the Cinema Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Azerbaijan Animation Association, and "Peri Film" LLC.
The opening ceremony of the festival was held at the Nizami Cinema Center on September 6.
This year, the festival focused on "Women's rights" is supported by partners such as the Azerbaijan Union of Film-makers, the Azerbaijan Creative Industries Federation, the embassies of the Czech Republic and France in our country, the French Institute in Azerbaijan, the "Annecy" International Animation Film Festival, "Shahmaran Metaceramica," "Gender Hub Azerbaijan," and other institutions.
Representatives of the Ministry of Culture, film personalities, and film lovers from our country and abroad attended the opening event.
The festival began with the screening of its trailer. Deputy Minister of Culture Saadat Yusifova emphasized that under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev, special importance is attached to the development of the audiovisual sector as well as to all areas of culture. She also pointed out that the establishment of the Cinema Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan in 2022 by the decree of the head of state signifies the new development prospects of the national cinematography in response to modern challenges: “One of the main tasks ahead of us is to develop the rich national cinematic traditions and open up to the world. Moreover, considering the modern propaganda and promotion potential of cinematography and the role of cultural diplomacy as an integral part of culture, we aim to establish a stable, modern film industry in our country. Currently, we are in the process of developing a new cultural concept. The concept will encompass the creation of an enabling environment for the development of the film industry."
Stressing that animation is one of the independent branches within the film industry, the deputy minister pointed out that the goal is to industrialize this sector in our country, to make it commercially appealing, and to ensure its development through cooperation between the public and private sectors.
Giving information about the festival, Saadat Yusifova pointed out that a total of 174 films from 46 countries were submitted to the festival. The selection committee accepted 39 films from 13 countries for the competition program: "As every year, during the days of this year's festival, the audience will have the opportunity to get acquainted with numerous contemporary animation films presented from near and far countries, to exchange ideas with experts of the field, and to participate in master classes.
Concuding her speech, the deputy minister wished the festival success.
Later, Alberto Hernandez, the representative of the Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in Azerbaijan, Mrs. Pauline Eizema, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to our country, and the Oscar-winning Dutch filmmaker Michaël Dudok de Wit shared their views on the festival.
After the speeches, director Nazrin Aghamaliyeva's "Hadith" which narrates the story of the South Azerbaijani Hadis Najafi, who was killed by security forces during protests in Iran, "Air Mail" by Swiss director Isabelle Favez; “Father and Daughter” by Dutch director Michaël Dudok de Wit, Georgian director Ana Chubinidze's films "Parikhanim Sofiyeva" which portrays Parikhanim Sofiyeva, the first Muslim (Azerbaijani) female deputy democratically elected to the legislative body in the Muslim world; as well as the trailer of the animation film "Magic Carpet" by "Alove" animation studio, were screened.
At the conclusion, a video was presented to offer an overview of the first day of the 6th Animafilm International Animation Festival.
This year, the festival will present three main programs to the audience: competition, non-competition, and professional. Films will contend in two international and two national categories. The program includes 11 films competing in the "Best Short Animation Film" category, 10 films in the "Best Short Animation Film for Children" category, 8 films in the "Best Azerbaijani Short Film Animation" category, and 10 films in the "Best Azerbaijani Student Short Film" category.
Two juries will evaluate the films, and the winners will be announced at the closing ceremony of the festival.
The total prize fund of the festival amounts to 2300 USD. In addition, the winners will receive special ceramic figurines. As in previous years, the winner of the local category will receive the right to participate in the International Animation Film Festival "Annecy", which will be held this year in France. A special prize will be awarded for the workshop and financial program "Women's Rights through Animation" supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The fund of the prize will be generated from the ticket sales of the festival.
It's worth mentioning that as part of the festival, Nizami Cinema Center will host around 20 events and the screening of more than 60 animated films.
Funds raised through ticket sales at the festival will be donated to support our young female directors.