AniNation festival brings animation to life in Jerusalem

The AniNation Festival features innovative animated films from Israel and around the world.

 Courtesy photo from the film, Where is Anne Frank (photo credit: LENA GUBERMAN)
Courtesy photo from the film, Where is Anne Frank
(photo credit: LENA GUBERMAN)

AniNation, the sixth International Animation Festival-Jerusalem, runs from November 4-6 in person at the Jerusalem Cinematheque and will feature innovative animated films from Israel and around the world and special programs. It is an event much anticipated by Israeli animators and fans and while there are films that children will enjoy, it is not a children’s event. Several of the events are free and there are several low-cost ticket options. The full program and tickets are available at and there will be more than 40 events.

Two of the biggest cinematic events of the year in Israel were full-length animated films, Ari Folman’s Where is Anne Frank?, which opens the festival and which had its international premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, and Gidi Dar’s Legend of Destruction, the Ophir Award-winning movie about the destruction of the Second Temple, created with 1,500 paintings. Both of these films were produced with the support of the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund and were created at animation studios in the capital.

Several special events spotlight these two movies, which have won international acclaim both for their storytelling and for the high quality of their animation. AniNation will include a master class with Yoni Goodman, the animation director of Where is Anne Frank?. Michael Faust and David Polonsky, the animators who created the thousands of paintings used in Legend of Destruction, will also hold a meeting at the festival to talk about their work. There will be an exhibit of Faust and Polonsky’s artwork for Legend, showing the stages their drawings and paintings went through during the making of the film.

Israeli VR creators Assaf and Eyal Geva will present their film, The Secrets of Retropolis, about a reality adventure game set in a future completely populated by robots, and will give a masterclass on their VR work. There is also a free event showcasing VR creations.

Aspiring animators will be interested in pitching events, an employment fair and a “speed dating” event that matches animation screenwriters with directors and producers. There will be a panel on the secrets of dubbing with the creators of the Israeli version of Sponge Bob and many other events that teach animation techniques.

Where is Anne Frank?  (credit: LENA GUBERMAN)
Where is Anne Frank? (credit: LENA GUBERMAN)

Among the international films shown will be Belle, a feature film by Mamoru Hosoda, about a rural high-school girl who finds a way into another world where she is a famous singer; Cesar Cabral’s Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People, which is set in a post-apocalyptic desert inhabited by 80s pop stars; Aurel’s Josep, an homage to acclaimed illustrator Josep Bartoli, about concentration camps in France for refugees from the Franco regime; Yusuke Hiroka’s Poupelle of Chimney Town, about a young chimney sweep and a friendly monster who prove that stars are real in a town plagued by terrible pollution; Little Vampire by Joann Sfar, about a lonely vampire who goes to school to make friends; and Felix DuFour-Laperriere’s Archipelago, a collection of images that investigates the idea of invented islands.

The festival is sponsored by many organizations, including the Jerusalem Development Authority and the Jerusalem Film & Television Fund, Ceske Centrum, Hansen House, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem Cinematheque, the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, the Austrian Cultural Forum, the Animation Union Israel and the Gesher Multicultural Film Fund.