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October 4-13, 2024
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SYAA, Animest’s Program for Female Animators, Wraps Up Third Edition

A recent highlight for the Animest team was the successful completion of the third edition of the Sisterhood of Young Animation Auteurs (SYAA) intensive training program dedicated to female-identifying filmmakers in Central and Eastern Europe. For seven days, 11 animators from Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, and Ukraine reunited in Bucharest to take part in mentoring and best practices sessions with seasoned international experts in the field, going through key stages in the development and promotion of their animation film projects.


SYAA encourages and promotes female talent by bringing new voices in the industry together with established professionals in European animation. One of SYAA’s main objectives is, in fact, fostering a community of women that is able to act as a support system against gender discrimination in the industry.

So, what happened during the third edition of SYAA? Between August 19-25, the selected creators participated in lectures, presentations, practical workshops, 1:1 meetings, screenings, and networking events, all meant to help them develop their own animated short film projects. They also learned how to develop their artistic portfolios, what tools to use to flesh out their ideas, what an independent artistic career entails, as well as how they might even start their own animation studio.

After a call for applications launched in April 2023, 38 submissions arrived from Romania, the Republic of Moldova, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, and Slovakia. They were reviewed by the project organizers at Animest alongside Polish producer Katarzyna Gromadzka and Romanian screenwriter Raluca Mănescu, the two leaders of the third edition of SYAA.

Following the selection process, 11 creators in total were given the chance to participate in the sessions facilitated by Katarzyna Gromadzka (producer, Poland), Raluca Mănescu (screenwriter, Romania), Waltraud Grausgruber (Tricky Women festival director, Austria), Matea Milic (festival producer of Animafest Zagreb, Croatia), Daria Kashcheeva (animator/director, the Czech Republic), Moe Honan (producer and voice director, Ireland), Theodor Pârvu (lawyer, Romania), and Damian Groves film (director, UK/Romania).

Here are the 11 members of the SYAA 2023 cohort, as well as their new projects in development:

  • Ioana Nicoară, The Garden–Romania

  • Dora Pejić Bach, The SpellSlovenia

  • Sofiya Kruglikova, Inner Monster–Slovenia

  • Liana Chiriță, Stejărel (Little Oak Tree)–Romania

  • Kata Gugić, Night Bloom–Croatia

  • Michaela Rezova, Desire to Win–The Czech Republic 

  • Alina Gheorghe, Statuia (The Statue)–Romania 

  • Patricia Ortiz Martinez, The Mo(u)rning–The Czech Republic

  • Ana Maria Iuteș, Garden and a Void–Romania

  • Maria Ioana Sărățeanu, It's Ok Not To Be Ok–Romania

The 11th participant was admitted through a partnership established with the LINOLEUM Contemporary Animation and Media Arts Festival in Kyiv, following the presentation of the project at the Annecy International Film Festival, France in June 2023:

  • Iryna Harkevets, Illogical Adult World–Ukraine

The participation of the 11th member was also made possible with the help of Eurimages.

The selection decision took into account the quality of the film projects that the artists submitted, the originality of the scripts and the coherence of their animation technique, relevant previous experience, the applicants’ foundational film production knowledge and personal motivation, as well as their compatibility with the training program developed by the organizers and the team formed together with the other participants and trainers.

We are extremely proud of SYAAA and its fantastic alumnae! Read more about the Sisterhood of Young Animation Auteurs on the dedicated website: http://syaa.animest.ro/.


Sisterhood of Young Animation Auteurs is a project initiated by the Animest Association, organized in collaboration with the Animation Festival Network and co-financed by AFCN–the Administration of the National Cultural Fund and the Creative Europe MEDIA Program of the European Union.

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