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 »  Home  »  Culture And Arts  »  Borivoj Dovniković Croatian master of animated film: Learning to Walk
Borivoj Dovniković Croatian master of animated film: Learning to Walk
By Prof.Dr. Darko Zubrinic | Published  01/29/2010 | Entertainment , Culture And Arts | Unrated
Be yourself...

Borivoj Dovniković, distinguished Croatian master of animated film, Zagreb. He made his first film in 1950. In 2010 Mr. Dovniković received a recognition from ASIFA Croatia for lifelong achivement.


Learning To Walk (Škola Hodanja), Zagreb Film 1978, dir. Borivoj Dovniković.
Duration 8 min.

Borivoj Dovniković was born in 1930 in the city of Osijek, Croatia. He is recipient of numerous awards at international festivals of animated films. Retrospectives of his films have been shown in about fifty cities throughout the world.  He was a member of international juries and selection committees at twenty five festivals, and participated on various forums dealing with animated films, from the USA and Canada to Korea, China and Japan.

Mr. Dovniković had participated in organizing the World Festival of Animated Films since its beginning in 1972 till 1992.

From 1977 to 1982 he was a member of Executive committee of ASIFA:

Association Internationale du Film d'Animation
(International Animated Film Association)

In the period from 1994 to 2000 Borivoj Dovniković was Secretary General of ASIFA.

He is also the author of the monograph Škola crtanog filma published in Zagreb in 1983, which was translated into several languages.

Regarding the Zagreb School of Animated Film, we also mention a monograph issued in Great Britain:

Holloway, Ronald: "Z" is for Zagreb, London, The Tantivy Press, London 1972

Zagreb 1972
1st World Festival of Animated Films

Zagreb 1974
2nd World Festival of Animated Films

Zagreb 1984
6th World Festival of Animated Films

Zagreb 1986
7th World Festival of Animated Films

Zagreb 1988
8th World Festival of Animated Films

Zagreb 1990
9th World Festival of Animated Films

Zagreb 2002
15th World Festival of Animated Films

An interview with Borivoj Dovniković, describing his work on animated films and the history of the Zagreb School of Animated Film. In Croatian.

Lost Classics from Zagreb Film DVD & Contest
by amid
January 25, 2008 2:03 pm

Zagreb Films

Last year saw the release of lots of rare animation (Popeye, Lantz cartoons, Oswald, etc.) but perhaps none so rare as a dvd that came out last winter: "Lost Classics from Zagreb Film", a collection of many of the studio’s most experimental and distinctive early shorts, almost none of which have ever been released before. (Full disclosure: I was an unpaid consultant on the set and the dvd follows very closely the lineup of films that I’d suggested.)

There are no words to describe how happy I become when I watch these films. The Zagreb filmmakers were willing to try just about anything, and their films are packed with tons of inventive visual ideas. Sometimes the risks they took paid off handsomely, sometimes they flopped. One can’t help but admire their fearlessness though. They managed to create these films with limited resources, limited budgets and next to no animation training. The animators were self-taught and as a result their timing and the way things move can be utterly bizzare. Concepts like squash-and-stretch were foreign to a lot of these artist so they figured out graphic solutions of their own and came up with some wildly eccentric styles of movement in the process. Thematically, the films tackle a broad range of subject matter from alienation to militarization, topics that were hardly common fare in animated shorts of the time.

There is a downside to the dvd: The prints, which come directly from Zagreb Films, are unrestored and in fairly poor shape. This is doubly a shame because color and design are such an integral part of these films. Nevertheless, these films have never been available on any home video format, and not having any major studio support behind them, don't hold your breath for a restored edition of these films anytime soon. This dvd is the only way you're going to be able to see the following films:

Opening Night (1957)
Alone (1958)
The Great Jewel Robbery (1959)
The Inspector Returns Home (1959)
At the Photographers (1959)
La Peau de Chagrin (1960)
A Man and his Shadow (1960)
The Boy and the Ball (1960)
Perpetuum & Mobile, Ltd. (1961)
Boomerang (1962)
Typhus (1963)

The distributor, Rembrandt Films, also recently released Dušan Vukotić on DVD, a collection of the works of Zagreb's most famous director. Owning this and the "Lost Classics" dvd will give anybody a solid collection of the studio's early work. The films on the Vukotić dvd are:

Playful Robot (1956)
Cowboy Jimmy (1957)
Concerto for a Machine Gun (1958)
Revenger (1958)
The Great Fear (1958)
Piccolo (1959)
My Tail is My Ticket (1959)
The Game (1963)
A Stain on His Conscience (1968)
Ars Gratia Artis (1969)

UPDATE: Thanks to all who entered. The contest is now over. The correct answer was Dušan Vukotić's 1961 short Surogat (also known as Ersatz and The Substitute). The two winners are Scotty Arsenault and Gail Veillette.

And here are a few frame grabs from the animated shorts on the "Lost Classics from Zagreb Film" set:

Zagreb Films

Zagreb Films

Zagreb Films

Zagreb Films

Zagreb Films

Zagreb Films

Zagreb Films

01/25/08  3:41pm
Alexander Rannie says:

The first film produced outside of the US to win the Animated Short Oscar was "Surogat" (also known as "Ersatz" or "The Substitute"), 1961, directed by Dusan Vukotic.

01/25/08  4:55pm

Oh, shoot! This set has some of my favorite Zagreb Films shorts (including ERSATZ and COW ON THE MOON)! I am SO getting this!

01/25/08  4:59pm
gimpyeyes says:

Thanks for sharing Amid. Just ordered one of the DVD's hope it has the short with the guy fishing that you posted a while ago.

01/25/08  5:08pm

Thanks for sharing, Amid!

01/25/08  5:12pm
amid says:

Gimpyeyes: The short with the guy fishing is Dušan Vukotić's Surogat (also known as Ersatz and The Substitute). That is on Volume 1: The Classic Collection. I don't believe it's on either of these two new dvds.

01/26/08  11:37am

Wow… those stills look absolutely phenomenal.

01/26/08  1:56pm
OM says:

…Man, as much as I love this Sovblock style, I still can't help recalling that one episode of The Simpsons where Krusty was forced to use a substitute cartoon for Itchy and Scratchy that came from 1950's Soviet propagandists - Worker and Parasite!

"What the hell was that all about?" - Krusty

On a side note, there's one screen grab that would make one really fun decal sheet!

01/26/08  5:44pm
Blasko says:

Wow! There hasn't been a new DVD classics release from the Rembrandt Film folks in quite some time. I'm glad to see that you and Jerry are doing some important work with this company. I’m happy to support it, and I hope it continues!

01/26/08  5:58pm
Alex says:

Those things are gorgeous!

01/27/08  2:11pm
Chris Sobieniak says:

Of course it should be noted these films came from what was once Yugoslavia, which wasn't operated by the Soviets despite its location close to the rest of the Soviet Bloc. And as usual, people often think of that clever Simpsons gag whenever a mention of anything 'animated' coming out of Eastern Europe happens, and I wouldn’t blame people for getting the idea from that. Of course I like to think the style of the characters in that "Worker & Parasite" bit awfully reminded me of "Ersatz" and other Zagreb Film productions of that period.

01/27/08  10:02pm

I tend to think of "Worker & Parasite" as being all the more clever a gag because it's clearly an animation-industry injoke more than something they expected their typical prime-time audience to get. The animators knew these cartoons, and they relished the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reference them.


01/28/08  3:42pm
doug holverson says:

"Worker & Parasite" thread reminds me of the English redubbed Eastern Block cartoons played on "The House with the Magic Window" in Ames, Iowa, and I suppose other markets. What were the origins of these?

01/28/08  7:18pm

Thank you very much Zagreb animated films are my personal favorites. I love how they broke the rules without even knowing it and what came from out of it.

01/30/08  2:56am

I am very glad you introduced this dvd, Amid. It is nice to see animators around the world remember Zagreb's Animation school.

I am an animator from Zagreb - too young to participate this golden era, but I had the opportunity to talk with Dušan Vukotić couple times - he was a humble animator who never understood all this noise after winning Oscar, without even enough funds to travel to USA and accept the Award. Great, great man.


Formated for CROWN by prof.dr. Darko Žubrinić
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