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Anima film festival kicks off on 25 February as a special hybrid event
After an enforced online version in 2021, Brussels’ famous international animation film festival Anima returns for a hybrid edition, screening a total of 248 films from 25 February to 6 March.
Destined for adults as well as children, the diverse and rich programme will be screened in cinemas in Brussels (Flagey, Palace and Cinematek) as well as Flanders and Wallonia and on the streaming platform Anima Online.
Opening the festival on 25 February is a premiere of The Summit of the Gods by Patrick Imbert at Flagey (pictured). Inspired by real events and the hit Manga by Jiro Taniguchi and Baku Yumemakura, it shows the thrilling ascension of Mount Everest in the Himalayas, combining grandiose landscapes with sublime music and delightful and precise drawing.
The 41st edition invites audiences to reflect on global issues and concerns, also offering daily opportunities for discussions with the festival’s invited guests. One of its many focuses is inclusion, from challenging preconceptions to broadening horizons and talking about minorities.
Also falling under the spotlight are contemporary filmmakers from the Czech Republic. My Sunny Maad (My Afghan Family) is one example by Michaela Pavlatova (pictured). It recounts how a young woman of Czech origin decides to leave everything and settle in Kabul after falling in love with an Afghan.
A collaboration between French and Belgian film schools promotes future talent, and naturally the national scene is showcased in a special programme This is Belgian. It includes the film Câline by Margot Reumont, an engaging story of a young woman who is overwhelmed by childhood souvenirs when she tries to tidy up her old bedroom.
Two films approach the theme of exile in a very human way. La Traversée by Florence Miailhe (pictured) follows two lost children on a journey from childhood to adolescence as they overcome numerous trials before reaching their destination. FLEE, by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, is a Danish feature that is triple nominated for the 2022 Oscars. It’s the true story of a man who fled Afghanistan as a child.
New for this year’s edition is a Queer Stories evening on 4 March, celebrating love in the LGBTQ community with a screening of FLEE (pictured), a short film programme and a live performance by Mademoiselle Cabaret.
With around 1,500 films submitted to the well-respected festival, Anima’s co-director Karin Vandenrydt admits that it was difficult to make the final selection. “Short films are becoming longer and longer, around 25 mins, so we created a new online category for them. You have to adapt your programme to what is going on.”
Festival-goers will also have the opportunity to live the festival experience at home, thanks to the Anima Online streaming platform. In addition to presenting all the short film programmes, there’s exclusive content such as interviews with directors and videoconferences within the framework of the professional meeting-place Futuranima. An All-In Pass at €18 provides access to the entire Anima Online online catalogue, which is accessible worldwide.
Photo (main image): Crytozoo by Dash Shaw