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ANIMAFILM:Young director shares amazing story behind festival

05 February 2020 [18:45] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Laman Ismayilova

When it comes to animation, it is equally enjoyable for both kids and adults.

In Azerbaijan, this visual art of making a motion picture arises interest in native and foreign viewers thanks to the country's first International Animation Festival (ANIMAFILM).

The large-scale event receives worldwide recognition for its contribution to this art form.

Since 2018, the festival introduces a variety of works expanding the scope of animation. The festival, headed by film director Rashid Aghamaliyev brings together talented artists and their films to display their talents.

In his interview with Azernews, Rashid Aghamaliyev shared the amazing story behind the festival.

Like all of us, Aghamaliyev showed a great interest in animation from a very young age. His childhood passion revived after a major obstacle.

"My interest in animation revived a couple of years ago when I was in the hospital after a heart surgery.  So, I started watching cartoons out of boredom," he said.

However, his childhood passion has grown into large-scale festival, one of its kind in Azerbaijan.

Looking back, one can see how far the festival has come since its establishment.  Last year, the festival aroused great interest among spectators.

"Our main goal is to contribute to the development of national animation. We have created a platform for professionals working in this field, as well as for ordinary viewers. We hold this festival for the second year in a row, show dozens of interesting cartoons and bring together animation professionals from abroad...” said Aghamaliyev.

Last year, the festival was attended by animation professionals from France and Greece. Moreover, the festival organizers created ANIMAFILM School, where they are teaching children and adults animation.

"ANIMAFILM School will operate year-round. The first lesson was held in December last year and aroused great interest in both children and adults. Permanent lessons will begin from the end of February, classes will be free and anyone can sign up for them. It is enough to inform us by email: [email protected]," the festival's director said.

The 2nd ANIMAFILM Baku International Animation Festival started its work with a large conference devoted to Azerbaijani animation - its past and present. The history of Azerbaijani animation was also highlighted in a book.

The total number of authors was 13 people, including Honored Art Worker Aydin Kazimzade, film historian and writer Sevinj Azimova, Aygun Aslanova, Aliya Dadasheva, Kamala Rzayeva, Andrey Hovanec, Dadash Mammadov, Leyla Novruzi, Elchin Orujev, Gennady Tischenko and Rashid Aghamaliyev himself.

"As I graduated from the film studies department, I always wanted to write a historical work about the Azerbaijani cinema. I had plenty of time in the hospital and I began to study the history of Azerbaijani animation and found that nothing had been written about it yet. So the idea of ??the book was born. However, very soon I understood that I couldn’t finish it all by myself. So, I asked for help from other film experts, both Azerbaijani and my friends from the Czech Republic, Iran, Turkey and Russia. And we started working on the book in a large team. As a result, we got a 400 pages publication, which tells about the history of Azerbaijani animation from the 30s of the last century to the present days," he said.

"In a word, this book has become an international project. The book “Azerbaijani Animation” is not an encyclopedia or a catalog, but a publication written in a popular scientific style that will be interesting to both professionals and a wide range of readers, including children. The book is published in Azerbaijani and Russian. Thanks to the research of Azerbaijani and European film experts, the reader will learn a lot about the development of this art form in Azerbaijan. The book first published unique materials provided by Azerbaijani film directors and artists," he added.

Now, the preparations for the 3rd AN?M?F?LM festival are underway. The festival will take place in Baku on October 14-18. The theme of the festival will be French animation. The event is supported by the Azerbaijan Union of Film-makers, the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan, French Institute, the French Embassy and the Czech Embassy in Azerbaijan. 

Speaking about his favorite films, the film director noted the works of Yuri Norstein (Tale of Tales), Michaël Dudok de Wit ( The Red Turtle), and Jirí Trnka (The Hand).

“I am also inspired by a lot of young film directors who send their works to the festival. While selecting films for the festival, I have to watch 500-600 works a year. That's why I become very picky... But several films are sure to remain in my memory and most often they win at international festivals. The film "Daughter" by Daria Kashcheeva, who is the winner of our festival, proves that", said Aghamaliyev.

As for himself, the film director prefers deep thoughtful films. He is also a big fan of stop-motion technique which breathes life into motionless objects.

"I really like animation, I want animation industry to be established in our country and I hope to make my contribution to the development of this beautiful art form in Azerbaijan. I believe that animation and art in general can bring many wonderful moments to our lives," he concluded.


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