International Animation Day #AnimationDay
International Animation Day
A joyful menagerie from Michaela Pavlátová
ASIFA (Association Internationale du Film d’Animation) created the International Animation Day (IAD) in 2002. In 2022, it marks the 20th anniversary.
This holiday is held annually on the 28th of October which honors the birth of animation, by recognizing the first public performance of projected moving images: Emile Reynaud’s Theatre Optique in Paris, on the 28th October 1892.
The International Animation Day poster was designed this year by Michaela Pavlátová, animator and film director from the Czech Republic. The poster is vibrant, colorful, and playful – an image of life, of motion. “The inspiration for the poster was joy, a celebration of animation,” wrote Michaela. The variety of characters and motions are contained in the outline of a head, itself expressive and playful. “I like to draw people and animals… but there could also be other characters, other animals… But at the moment I drew the ones that are there – interesting, fun, crazy, diverse” she explained. This extended to how she also thought of the head, full of these characters and ideas: “And because I wanted the head to be sympathetic, playful and also a little bit provocative, I gave it a small protruding tongue.”
Michaela notes that her path to animation was quite straight, attending the Academy of Arts and Crafts (UMPRUM) in Prague after completing art high school. Originally, she wished to study illustration, but given the competition for openings, she thought of animation, entering the animation department “and very soon I fell in love with animation itself.” Undertaking animation can be demanding work, but she found that she had a right combination of “a certain amount of talent, discipline, strong will, enthusiasm, humility, diligence, patience,” that have continued to aid her in her career. After graduation she made a few animation shorts in the state studio Kratky Film Prague, a place rich in animation history. After a period of time working in San Francisco, she returned to the Czech Republic, directing live action films and creating animated shorts and an animated feature film (My Sunny Maad, 2021), and would like to make another. “An important part of my life is also teaching,” Michaela said; she is currently head of the department of animation at FAMU Prague.
Michaela notes that working in animation is a unique undertaking. “Who else would want to spend life in isolation in our dark studios… working for ages on films… And still, we love it, we are obsessed with our work. Frame by frame we create new life, new stories which can be real, funny, sad, obscure, touching, alarming, poetic, you name it.” Looking at animation broadly, she sees animation as “a distinct, unique art form with a long tradition that currently takes many forms… Animation is constantly getting a new face, new platforms and new possibilities” as it appears in expanding areas, such as games and virtual reality, as part of the mainstream and the indie art scene.
She sees the current state of animation in this range of approaches – both in form and content. “I hope that animation will continue to be so colorful, diverse and inspiring,” she says. And that creativity deserves recognition, embodies in her IAD poster: “The diverse yet strong community of crazy people creating new universes deserves to be celebrated!”
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