Festivals Have a Crucial Role to Play in Film Education – Interview with Kreet Paljas

Kreet Paljas is a cultural manager, the founder, and co-organiser of Estonian Week, Baltic Sea Film Festival, Finnish Film Days. She has been promoting Hungarian and Estonian animated films since 2003. She is currently the programme director of Anilogue International Animation Festival.

What’s the difference between being an artistic director of your own festival and being a jury member at a different festival?

Anilogue is a very audience-friendly festival, so when I consider films for its program, I have to keep in mind what the cinema-goers in Budapest would be happy to watch. I visit as many festivals as possible and watch more than two thousand films during the preselection period to pick films for the program. Yet my work is not only about finding the right films. There are about 300 short films at the festival each year, all of which need to be arranged into compilations to fit the cinema format. Getting the compilations right takes a lot of effort, and I only know for sure that I succeeded when I hear the laughs and sighs of the audience at the show. When I am on jury duty at another festival, I have the pleasure to be just one of the spectators with the bonus of being able to make someone happy with an award.

As an animation expert and lover, what’s your favorite type of animation? 

I'm always looking forward to seeing films that surprise me somehow. My all-time favorites are an eclectic bunch with Theodore Ushev's Tower Bawher, Mamoru Hosoda's Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Max Hattler's Collision, Špela Čadež's Nighthawk and Priit Pärn's The Triangle.

Anilogue started as a small, friendly screening event in 2003 which quickly became an international festival. What do you think has changed in the past 15 years regarding animation festivals? 

The most obvious change is that the number of films that are sent to festivals has exploded over the past few years.But more importantly, it has become easier to share films with festivals. When Anilogue started, filmmakers mailed their work on Beta SP, VHS tapes, followed by DVDs, which were expensive to make and send. Now that films can be submitted digitally, there is no inherent cost attached to sending them (unless the festival or its submission platform charges for entries) and filmmakers, professional and amateur alike, can more freely circulate their work. At the age of digital submissions, the new norm is to count yearly submissions in thousands, not hundreds. This puts a lot of pressure on festivals to watch and judge all the works they receive. Yet, at the same time, the diversity of works in this increasingly large pool of films enables programmers to put together compilations that reflect the presence of these new voices.

What do you think is the role of an (animation) film festival today?

I believe that the most important task of festivals today is to help audiences to orientate among the vast number of films available, and to provide new points of access by highlighting authors, themes, techniques. Beyond simply screening selected films, festivals have a crucial role to play in film education too, and they do so by involving filmmakers in their activities. Festivals, especially short film festivals, are important providers of alternative distribution platform to films that do not fit the traditional theatrical distribution format. Last but not least, festivals serve as meeting points to the film industry.

A 15. Anilogue arculata, melyet Ducki Tomek készített

Tomek Ducki will be your partner this year in the Primanima jury. You collaborated with him at Anilogue for many years as the festival’s poster designer. What was it like to work with him?

Tomek has made the design for Anilogue for three years so far, every year inspiring the team with a twist on what the festival is. We at Anilogue have followed his work since his graduation from MOME with Life Line, and when looking for an artist who is fluent in both graphic design and animation, he was the person to invite on board. I am very much looking forward to working with him again!

No items found.