18th edition
October 6-15, 2023
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Animest.18: October 6-15, Join the Dance!

Animest.18: October 6 to 15, come Join the Dance!


Animest people, dust off your dancing shoes, get ready to meet world-changing animation creators, and show your appetite for the latest and most promising productions of the genre! Between October 6-15, 2023, the 18th edition of the Animest International Animation Film Festival returns to Bucharest cinema screens with an extensive playlist of surprising screenings, playful parties, magic masterclasses, and world-class workshops for animators eager to hone their skills.

Get your limited edition Animest.18 passes on the Eventbook platform, starting today. The Animest.18 project is co-financed by the Bucharest Municipality through its cultural center, ARCUB.

For our animation festival’s 18th birthday, here’s our heartfelt invite (and official theme): Join the Dance! The most ample animation film festival in Eastern Europe is celebrating dance through a dedicated thematic section and a pinch-me-moment meeting with French filmmaker, animator and dancer Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo, this edition’s special guest.

"The 18th edition of Animest will be dedicated to dance, an art that sometimes defies gravity, gets our blood pumping and makes us feel so good. In today's fast-paced world, we're tempted to rush past happy times, focusing on our next goal. We forget to enjoy and celebrate our accomplishments. Not this year! In October, for 10 days, we’ll waltz, bop, and wiggle our way through an ample retrospective bringing together on the silver screens dance-themed international animated masterpieces, from Norman McLaren’s 1980s films to the latest productions, as well as famous guests including Jean-Charles Mbotti Mbolo, a professional dancer whose latest work is dedicated to animation and who will travel to Bucharest to join us. Let's dance together in celebration of animated films,” urged Mihai Mitrică, director and main selector of the Bucharest International Animation Film Festival.

Join the Dance! – the dancing-in-your-seat-section

Dance Me to the End of Love 

Dancing Queen

Dancing with Myself

Die on the Dancefloor

Lose Yourself to Dance

Timeless music hits or thematic programs curated by festival director and selector Mihai Mitrică alongside French journalist and film historian Alexis Hunot, our repeat guest… And why not both?

Inspired by the energy and expressiveness of dance, the curators of our dedicated Dance section will regale you with innovative productions melding diverse styles and techniques to bring to life unique characters inhabiting exceptional worlds. The five thematic programs include multi-awarded films, from the Polish Tango (directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski), awarded with an Oscar in 1983, to The Burden (by Niki Lindroth von Bahr), a dark musical that won the Annecy Crystal in 2017, to Pas de deux (directed by Norman McLaren), the Oscar-nominated all-time best short film about dance.

Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo

Dancer, animator and multi-awarded filmmaker Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo has created successful choreographies as well as César Awards-nominated cinematographic productions. A graduate of the Animation Department at L’École Émile Cohl in Lyon, after his first success–his graduation piece, The Heart is a Metronome (2008)–and a collaboration with the ARTE TV program Karambolage, Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo directed The Sense of Touch, which brought him intentional renown and the 2014 Annecy Festival Crystal, among over 20 international awards and 60 official festival selections. In order to write and direct the short film, he learned sign language, working with acclaimed French actress Emmanuelle Laborit, who was born deaf.

In 2017, Jean-Charles choreographed his first stage show, Les Mots, "a solo for two performers," a continuation of his creative explorations of non-verbal communication. Make It Soul (2018) pays tribute to soul legends Solomon Burke and James Brown. It was nominated for the César Award for the Best Short Animation Film. In 2020, Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo co-developed the promo image for the Annecy International Film Festival, a role he reprised on his own in 2021, designing joyous (and dancing) characters celebrating modern Africa.

Don’t miss Jean-Charles’s masterclass at Animest.18, on October 11, at CNDB, the National Center for Dance in Bucharest!

Before the Silver Screen, We’re All Equal

Diversity, a key element in our coming-of-age edition’s visual identity, has defined Animest since our very beginning. Now older, wiser, and certainly bigger, Animest has contributed to shaping the cultural landscape, and remains the only Oscar-qualifying festival in Romania. Our careful selection of short and feature-length animated films, ever more varied, is aimed at audiences of all ages and reflects present-day societal concerns. Alongside our Bucharest screenings, multiple thematic programs have traveled Romania, the Republic of Moldova, and the online medium since 2005. This year, we were happy to introduce audiences in several smaller towns and villages to the magic of animation, through the Animest+ cinematographic caravan.

"I singled in on the idea of diversity that dance inspires. Although each character [on the poster] is different, the image brings everyone together in dancing groups. To me, dance is the expression of a positive feeling that’s worth experiencing on its own and that only grows stronger when shared. Through the poster’s composition and perspective, I captured the dynamic of this feeling,” explains artist Irina Șelaru, who authored this edition’s Join the Dance! poster.


The Animest Festival is a project of the Animest Association, co-financed by the MEDIA Program of the European Union and AFCN–the Administration of the National Cultural Fund.

The Animest.18 project is co-financed by the Bucharest Municipality through ARCUB. The project does not necessarily represent the official position of the Bucharest Municipality or of ARCUB.

Partner: CNDB–The National Center for Dance Bucharest




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