The 6th ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival, organized by the Azerbaijan Animation Association, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Film Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, was held at the Nizami Cinema Center from September 6 to 10. A total of 64 diverse animated films for both children and adults were screened over the course of five days.
This year's theme of the festival was "Women's Rights". The revenue obtained from ticket sales will be donated to local young women directors. The organizers stated that they would announce the total amount to the public in the coming days.
This year, within the framework of the professional program of the festival, the development workshop and financial program "Women's Rights Through Animated Films" was implemented with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation featuring training sessions and one-on-one consultations with animation professionals — Swiss director Isabelle Favez, French producer Olivier Catherin for 5 women authors selected to the program. The selected animation projects were presented to the public at the "ANIMAFILM School: Pitching Competition" and evaluated by program judges — Ana Chubinidze, Tehzeeh Khurana, and Nazrin Aghamaliyeva. The revenue obtained from ticket sales will be donated to support the winners of this program.
The international jury at the 6th ANIMAFILM Festival included such professionals as Isabelle Favez (Switzerland), Ismayil Iman (Azerbaijan), Ana Chubinidze (Georgia), Oktai Iusibov (Azerbaijan, Finland), Olivier Catherin (France) and Tehzeeb Khurana (India).
The festival’s special guests were directors and animators from Europe and Asia: Masud Panahi (Azerbaijan, Germany), Kireet Khurana (India), Matthew Lyon (Canada) and Michaёl Dudok de Wit (Netherlands, United Kingdom).
The children's audience at the festival voted this year and selected the winner of the "Best Short Animated Film for Children".
Furthermore, the "Audience Award" contest was decided by electronic voting after the screenings.
One winner of the local competition of the festival — "Best Azerbaijani Short Animated Film" award (the prize was 500 US dollars) was announced by Orkhan Fikretoglu, the advisor to the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the other winner was announced by the Ambassador of France to Azerbaijan, Ann Bouillon. The ambassador stated that, the winner of this award will attend the Annecy International Animation Festival, the world's largest animation festival, with MIFA professional accreditation.
A short film made by TOTD Public Relations Organization about this year's festival was shown at the event.
In the end, the director of the festival, Chairman of the Azerbaijan Animation Association Rashid Aghamaliyev and the creative director of the festival Nazrin Aghamaliyeva announced the festival closed.
Winners and awards of international competitions:
"Best Animated Short Film - GRAND PRIX" – 1,000 USD – "The End of War", directed by Lei Chen, China.
“Best Animated Short Film for Children” – 500 USD – “Everywhere”, directed by Step Cheung, Kai Chung Ng, Hong Kong.
Local competition winners and prizes:
"Best Azerbaijani Short Animated Film" – 500 USD – "Stolen Spring", directed by Aleksandra Shirinova, Azerbaijan.
"Best Azerbaijani Short Animated Film" – trip to Annecy festival – “The Half - If We Die", director Ravan Muradov, Azerbaijan.
"Best Azerbaijani Student Short Animated Film" – 300 USD – "Empty Spaces", directed by Ayan Novruzlu, Azerbaijan, Great Britain.
Audience Award Winner:
"Empty Spaces", directed by Ayan Novruzlu, Azerbaijan, Great Britain.
"Women's Rights Through Animated Films" development workshop and funding program winners:
1st place: "Zuleykha Seyidmammadova" (Züleyxa Seyidməmmədova), director Mehriban Aliyeva, Azerbaijan.
2nd place: "Ring" (Üzük), directed by Leyla Novruzova, Azerbaijan.
The co-organizer of the festival is “PERI FILM” LLC.
The general sponsors of the festival are the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Cinema Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan, with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation as the main sponsor. Other sponsors include the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Republic of Azerbaijan and the TOTD Public Relations Organization.
This year the festival’s partners are the Azerbaijan Union of Film-makers, the Azerbaijan Creative Industries Federation, Shahmaran Metaceramica, Gender Hub Azerbaijan, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Embassy of France in Azerbaijan, the French Institute in Azerbaijan, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Tripsome, XPPen, Mr. Chemical, Bonaqua, and Dynamic Box.
The festival’s media partners are Skwigly Animation Magazine, Madaniyyat TV, Trend News Agency, Day.az, Milli.az, Azernews, the Akinchi, VarYox, KYNO platforms and CityLife.az.