At the beginning of the week, the screenings of animated films officially started as part of the jubilee 15th VAFI & RAFI – International Children and Youth Animation Film Festival. The first part of the festival is dedicated to professional films from the RAFI section, which have been watched by more than 2,000 children and young people. Which films were awarded by young viewers will be announced at the closing of the festival on Saturday at 5 p.m. In addition to the screenings in Varaždin, cinemas in Ludbreg, Novi Marof and Ivanec are included in the festival program for the first time.

In the middle of the week, participants of the VAFI section, young animators with their mentors, arrived to Varaždin, more than 70 of them from various parts of the world, from the USA, Hong Kong and Taiwan to Ukraine, Slovakia, Italy, Serbia… And while children enjoy screenings and art experimental workshops, those a little older participate in a symposium dedicated to film and media literacy. Mentors and interested students of the University of the North had the opportunity to learn more about the Days of Media Literacy project from Ana Dokler, the editor of the portal, and news related to film literacy was presented in front of the Croatian Audiovisual Center by advisor Ingrid Padjen Đurić. The first day of the symposium was certainly marked by the festival’s ambassador, Oscar winner Josh Staub, with his masterclass. The gathering continued at the Center for Youth and Independent Culture P4 with the opening of his exhibition, where he presented his thirty years of work on many famous animated films such as “Bolt”, “Tangled”, “Frozen”, “Leo” and many others.

The program continues today and tomorrow with workshops, a program of symposium and official VAFI screenings, while tonight at the GAJ cinema at 8:30 p.m. the domestic feature-length animated film “The Cricket and the Ant” will be shown. The entire program is free, say the organizers, and they invite everyone to join the screenings, because 90 films are going to be shown.

The members of two juries decide which films will win awards. The expert VAFI jury consists of local animator and president of ASIFA Croatia Kata Gugić, then Owen Chan, freelancer from Hong Kong, animator from Serbia Rastko Ćirić and Thomas Kunstler, animator from Greece. On the other hand, Blue VAFI jury members Marina Knežević Barišić from the UNICEF Croatia Office, the editor of the portal Ana Dokler and long-time educator Dubravka Novak will decide which children’s and young people’s films promote children’s rights the most with their message.

The patrons of the Festival are the Croatian Audiovisual Center, the City of Varaždin and the County of Varaždin, and the realization takes place with the help of co-organizers – the Center for Youth and Independent Culture P4, POU Varaždin and cinema GAJ, Center for Culture and Information “Dragutin Novak” Ludbreg, POU Novi Marof, POU “Đuro Arnold” Ivanec, ASIFA Croatia and the Croatian Film Association. All contents of the VAFI & RAFI festival are free, and you can follow all information related to the festival on the official website or on the official Facebook page.