On Saturday, the fifteenth jubilee VAFI & RAFI – International Children and Youth Animation Film Festival, organized by the association Film-creative studio VANIMA – officially ended in Varaždin. A record of 1,133 animated films from 92 countries were submitted to this year’s edition of the festival, and the selection commissions chose 162 of them for the official competitions, which were held in Ludbreg, Novi Marof and Ivanec for the first time in addition to Varaždin.

In the past week, more than 2,000 children and young people from Varaždin County watched 72 professional animated films selected for the RAFI section by Dubravka Kalinić Lebinec and Boško Picula. They decided that in the RAFI 0-6 category the first prize will go to the film “Mr. Chicken Goes to Mars” from Australia, then in the RAFI 7-10 category to the film “Pig” from Denmark, in the RAFI 11-14 category to the film “#DouDouChallenge” from France and in the RAFI 15-18 category to the film “Curiosity killed the cat” from Croatia.

After the RAFI part of the festival, screenings were held in Varaždin in the VAFI section in which 90 animated films by young authors competed. The expert VAFI jury watched all six official screenings and, at the closing of the festival, awarded prizes to the best animated films. This year’s expert jury consisted of Kata Gugić, animator and president of ASIFA Croatia, then Owen Chan, a freelancer from Hong Kong, Rastko Ćirić, an animator from Serbia, and Thomas Kunstler, an animator from Greece, and the award ceremony was held in Center for Youth and Independent culture P4. The jury decided that the first prizes will go to the films “Herald” by a kindergarten group from Estonia in the MINI category, “Space Tour” by the group of authors FKVK Zaprešić from Croatia in the MIDI category, and “Postman’s Shadow” from Slovenia in the MAXI category.

Members of the Blue VAFI jury consisting of Ana Dokler, editor of the medijskapismenost.hr portal, representative of the UNICEF Croatia Office, Marina Knežević Barišić, and Dubravka Novak, a long-time educator, awarded the first prize to the film “When I grow up I want to be…” from Spain. They believe that this film talks in an interesting and humorous way about a serious topic that is discussed in Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Through this article, children are guaranteed the right to freedom of expression on all topics that concern them in accordance with their developmental age. The film thematizes the issue of choosing a profession. It is about a girl who is under pressure from her family to continue the tradition and become a lawyer, but she has other desires that she decides to explore and stand up for them with determination. Through this, as well as all other films, you can see how important it is to provide children with the opportunity to talk about topics that are important to them through animation and storytelling.

After the closing ceremony, the attendees went to the GAJ cinema where they watched the winning films of the jubilee edition of the VAFI & RAFI festival, which this year was held under the auspices of the Croatian Audiovisual Center, the City of Varaždin and Varaždin County. The realization takes place with the help of co-organizers – 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. The organizers hereby thank all sponsors, co-organizers, but also numerous partners and media sponsors who have supported them all these years, and announce that the partner country of the next edition will be Denmark.

List of winners – VAFI section

List of winners – RAFI section