V. Starewicz’s Animation Laboratory and Animation Weekend

V. Starewicz’s Animation Laboratory and Animation Weekend

The project is part of the Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 program. It consists of two parts: a program of educational-creative animation workshops, and the festival "Animation Weekend", which took place in Kaunas for the first time on 2022-28 May 29. The project was inspired by Wladyslaw Starewicz, who is considered to be the pioneer of stop-motion puppet animation, and had created some of his most important films in Kaunas, and by the desire to present animation as a versatile medium that can interest both children and adults.

Educational-creative workshop "Starewicz’s Animation Laboratory" helps to learn about the history of animation: from the most popular cartoons currently shown on cinema and TV screens to the very origins of animation and the stop-motion technique, which was pioneered by Wladyslaw Starewicz, who had worked in Kaunas. Participants try their hand at creating animation in practice. With unique ladybug and stag beetle animation dolls inspired by Starewicz's films, children can try out the profession of an animator and create short films using the stop-motion animation technique.

The first Animation Weekend organised by Romuva invited people to embark on a journey to get to know the undiscovered animation. The belief that animation is only for children is rapidly fading, and this was clearly reflected in the program of this festival, where everyone could discover films for themselves – from children to adults, from film experts to "fresh" viewers.

The animated drama "The Swallows of Kabul" and the animated documentary "Flee" addressed social and political issues. The personality of the artist and activist Josep Bartolí was presented in the biographical story "Josep". The distinctive style of Japanese animation (anime) was introduced by the film "Belle", and "Inu-Oh", which has not yet been shown in Lithuania. The short film programs "CEE Animation Talents" and "New Wave Animation" helped to discover many different stories, their storytelling and animation styles in one screening. "Wolfwalkers" fascinated children and adults with its unique drawing style and story.

The festival included several special events. An exhibition of the Lithuanian stop-motion film "Matilda and the Spare Head" was set up in the lobby of the cinema. And after the screening of this story and the “French Short Films for Kids”, it was possible to get to know the creators of “Matilda and the Spare Head” better – to see the puppets and props used for the animation and to hear how they come to life in the film.

During the "Animation Weekend", the film "Absolute Denial" was screened for the first time in Lithuania. This hand-drawn animated sci-fi thriller explores our relationship with the ever-improving technology, the human ego, genius and limitations. The screening was followed by a discussion with Ryan Braund, the director, screenwriter and animator of the film.

There was a VR space in the lobby of the cinema, where the audience of the festival's films could enrich their knowledge of different types of animation. Here they could watch a short film in virtual reality – “Marco & Polo Go Round”, a comedic love story with a very surreal twist.

Festival partners: BLON Animation and Video Games Festival, French Institute in Lithuania, "Kaunas - European Capital of Culture 2022".

The project "Starewicz’s Animation Laboratory and Animation Weekend" is part of the "Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022" program.


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