Azerbaijan Animation Association is a non-governmental organization established on December 15, 2021, by a group of animation professionals. Although the union was officially registered on April 19, 2022, it has been operating since 2016.
Creation of the book “Azerbaijani animation” is underway. The book covers the history of animation as an art form in our country from the 1930s to the present day. Thirteen film theorists from Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, Czech Republic and Iran have worked together on the book.
On December 22, a conference on “Modern Azerbaijani Animation” was organized at the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts. Animation studio representatives, directors, producers, artists, and film experts discussed the current state of the national animation industry at the conference. Panelists included Rashid Aghamaliyev, Elchin Hami Akhundov, Sultan Abbasbeyli, Firangiz Gurbanova, Elchin Orujov, Agharahim Ibrahimov, and Mansur Shafiyev. The first ideas about founding ANIMAFILM festival were mentioned at this conference.
The first round table on “The Future of Azerbaijani Animation” was organized on January 5. Rashid Aghamaliyev presented the ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival project and suggested holding it in Baku. Representatives of “Azanfilm”, Birlik, Sultan, Gurama, Harmony of Chaos animation studios participated. Students of the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts, journalists, independent directors, child psychologists, lawyers and writers also attended the event.
We presented the ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival project at the Annecy International Animation Festival in France on June 11-16. Azerbaijan was represented at MIFA with the support of the CEE ANIMATION (Central and Eastern European Animation).
The 1st ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival was held on October 19-21. The theme of the festival was Azerbaijani animation. Festival included: the “ReAnimation” exhibition dedicated to the history of national animation, a puppet theater for children, a piano concert, a retrospective screening of the best Azerbaijani, Georgian and Iranian animation films with the participation of authors, and master classes for children by professionals from Russia, Czech Republic, Germany and Georgia. During three days, children and adults had the opportunity to watch films of a rich competition program consisting of more than 20 films from 17 countries. Twenty foreign and nearly 500 local guests participated in the 1st ANIMAFILM festival.
The Echo of the 1st ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival was organized in Prague, Czech Republic on March 23. On April 14, the organizers of ANIMAFILM festival met with the students of Landau school in Baku.
The program “50 years of Azerbaijani animation” was presented for the first time at the Animasyros International Animation Festival in Greece on September 20.
The 2nd ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival was organized on October 14-18. The main theme of the festival this year was Czech animation and the best Czech animated films for children and adults were screened. The festival featured a conference dedicated to the 50th anniversary of Azerbaijani animation, as well as animation workshops led by Greek and French professionals. A children’s jury was formed to evaluate the nomination in the category of “Best Short Animated Film Made by Children”. An open letter was addressed to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at the closing ceremony of the festival. The problems of our national animation were reflected in the letter signed by 300 people.
The program “50 years of Azerbaijani Animation” was presented at TOFUZI International Film Festival held in Batumi, Georgia on October 21-26. ANIMAFILM Festival Director Rashid Aghamaliyev participated as a jury member, and Elchin Hami Akhundov as a mentor in the festival.
The program “50 years of Azerbaijani animation” was presented at StopTrik International Animation Film Festival held in Lodz, Poland on November 10. ANIMAFILM Festival Director Rashid Aghamaliyev participated in the festival as a jury member.The organizers of the 2nd ANIMAFILM Festival held an event titled Echo of ANIMAFILM in Baku French Lycéehas with the support of the French Institute and Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan.
On January 20, the event “Animafilm in Shaki” was organized with the support of “Shaki Art Club”, and future cooperation was discussed with the head of Shaki City Executive Power.
The second “Future of Azerbaijani animation” round table was organized with the support of Nizami Cinema Center on January 21. Conference participants, including public and private animation studios, agreed that there is a great need to create an NGO in the animation field.
ANIMAFILM School was founded in March. The first lessons were held in face-to-face meeting format, but after the start of the COVID-19 quarantine, we continued via Zoom. During 2020, three stop motion animation courses were organized at the school. The school teachers include animators Nazrin Aghamaliyeva, Aydan Hasanova, Daria Kashcheeva, Firangiz Baghirova, Mahammad Zare, Elchin Akhundov and Firangiz Gurbanova.
A crowdfunding campaign was also launched in March on the Toxum.org platform to fund the 3rd ANIMAFILM festival. This successful campaign was supported by 30 people.
In May, ANIMAFILM Studio was established to produce animated films festival videos. In its first year, the studio produced a short animated film titled “Stay home, Tomato!” and the trailer of the 3rd ANIMAFILM festival.
The 3rd ANIMAFILM festival, held from October 4-18, included few in-person events due to COVID-19 and the escalation of the war in our country. The theme of the festival was “Children of Azerbaijan”. This time, children’s jury was formed, consisting of 31 children. Within the framework of the festival, there were 3 theater workshops, two-day puppet animation master classes, and online screenings of animation films.
The 3rd round table conference called “Future of Azerbaijani animation” was organized on January 31. Animation studio representatives, directors, producers, animation artists and animators, screenwriters, composers, animation teachers and CGI specialists participated in an online meeting. Rufat Hasanov, head of the Filmmaking Department of the Ministry of Culture, attended at the meeting and told the participants about the new cinema reforms. ANIMAFILM festival director Rashid Aghamaliyev informed the participants about the establishment of the Animation Association of Azerbaijan NGO.
A meeting was held regarding the establishment of the Animation Association of Azerbaijan NGO by the initiative of ANIMAFILM festival on April 8. Ramil Abbakirov, the Head of Creative Industries and Digital Development Department at the Ministry of Culture, spoke about the importance of non-governmental organizations and how they can benefit society and culture. R. Abbakirov also provided detailed information on the perspective of the animation industry.
The ANIMAFILM team was represented at Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France, which is the largest and oldest animation festival in the world from June 14 to 19. Rashid Aghamaliyev, Nazrin Aghamaliyeva, director Durna Safarova, and Fidan Akhundova, the winner of the 3rd ANIMAFILM festival, represented Azerbaijan at the Annecy festival.
The ANIMAFILM team was represented at ANIFILM International Animation Film Festival in the Czech Republic, which is the largest animation festival in Central Europe from June 22 to 27.
The 4th ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival was held in live format on September 3-7. About 200 different animated films for children and adults from 40 countries were screened for five days at the festival. The theme was “Disability”. Various workshops were held for young animation enthusiasts and promoted the development of Azerbaijani animation art, including the masterclasses by Masud Panahi and Olivier Catherin’s for film and animation producers, and a seminar for composers and sound directors led by Nick Phelps and Nancy Denney-Phelps. The children’s juries remained active this year as well.
By the initiative of ANIMAFILM festival and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, representatives of Azerbaijan participated in the Animation Film Project Pitching workshop in Tbilisi on November 8-12. Firangiz Baghirova and Leyli Salayeva’s project The Last Feather was the winner of the workshop, which earned them the right to participate in a one-month residency program in Fontevreau, France, in 2022. The workshop has been organized for the 7th time by the Georgian Animators Association (Saganima).
The echo of the 4th ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival was held in the Shaki “ASAN service” center with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Shaki City Executive Power on November 23-25. The most interesting local and foreign animated films for children and adults were presented at the ANIMAFILM in Shaki event for three days. During the event, the audience voted for the best films. A master class, Make a Santa Claus from Paper, was organized for the children by Elchin Hami Akhundov, an honored cultural worker of Azerbaijan and a famous animation director.
The ANIMAFILM School organized a stop-motion animation workshop for children on November 28 with the support of the Enteskedu platform.
On December 3, it was announced on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities that the total revenue from ticket sales during the 4th ANIMAFILM festival was 550 AZN. This amount was used for the treatment of three-year-old Raul, who lives in Sumgait city.
December 10 marked the end of a one-month intensive stop-motion animation course which was organized by ANIMAFILM School and AZOPCHU platform. Turkish animator Hasan Pastaci taught the basics of stop motion animation for children aged 8-16 living in the regions.
On February 6, ANIMAFILM Festival director Rashid Aghamaliyev presented an annual report entitled “Azerbaijani Animation in 2021. Results.”
On April 18-22, the program 50 years of Azerbaijani Animation was screened at International Animation Forum held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, with the support of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Culture. ANIMAFILM Director Rashid Aghamaliyev participated in the festival as a jury member. Our well-known director Elchin Hami Akhundov received an award for his Contribution to the Development of Animation at the closing ceremony of the forum.
Animation Association of Azerbaijan NGO was registered by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Azerbaijan on April 19, 2022. One of the primary goals of the association is to organize the ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival.
ANIMAFILM organizers Rashid Aghamaliyev and Nazrin Aghamaliyeva and director Javid Ahadov represented Azerbaijan at Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France from June 13-18. Javid Ahadov is an animator in the BIRLIK animation studio, which was founded by Firangiz Gurbanova. His participation in Annecy was possible by courtesy of BIRLIK studio, which won the Best Azerbaijani Short Animated Film award at the 4th ANIMAFILM festival.
On National Cinema Day, ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival director Rashid Aghamaliyev received the award of Azerbaijan Union of Filmmakers “for his services in the development of international relations of Azerbaijani animation” on August 2.
The 5th ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival was held at the Nizami Cinema Center from September 7 to 11, organized by the Azerbaijan Animation Association and the Peri Film company. 121 animated films were screened over five days at the festival. The motto of the festival was “One ticket = one tree”. Since the international event was dedicated to the theme of “Climate Change”, it was announced that all funds obtained from ticket sales will be donated to the Karabakh Revival Fund for the restoration of ecological balance in the territories freed from occupation. At the closing ceremony, Esra Aliyeva, a member of the children’s jury, announced the amount of funds collected from ticket sales and the number of trees to be planted: “4119 AZN = 412 trees.”
On September 23, Azerbaijan Animation Association became a member of the Azerbaijan Federation of Creative Industries. At the meeting held in connection with this, current issues regarding the development of national animation in Azerbaijan were discussed with the chairperson of the Federation, Vasif Eyvazzade, and ideas were exchanged for joint cooperation on specific projects.
On December 15, the website of “Azerbaijan Animation Association” public association www.anima.az started its activity.