The World Animation Festival, which starts on Monday, is an annual and itinerant initiative by Casa da Animação, with a week of activities that marks and is associated with the international celebration of World Animation Day on October 28th.

This year, for the first time, the World Animation Festival will be divided between Castelo Branco and Vila Velha de Ródão, anchored by the production company Oeste Filmes, located in Gavião de Ródão, which happens to be the district which is developing a dedicated hub to the animated cinema.

“We always have a huge concern with decentralisation, doing these events in places that are not the most obvious.(…) It makes sense to us that it should always be in a city in the interior of the country so that new audiences can be created, new habits of watching animation cinema and we believe that it is in these locations that what we do makes the most difference”, explained Regina Machado, the director of Casa da Animação to Lusa.

The program of activities, between the 23rd and 29th of October, includes several film sessions, workshops for seniors and schools, 'masterclasses' exhibitions with several guests, including Canadian theorist and director Pierre Hébert and director Will Anderson, who will present the feature film “A cat called dom”.

Also noteworthy is a retrospective of Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo's cinema, a magic lantern show by director Abi Feijó, set to live music by violinist Samuel Martins Coelho, and the award ceremony of the National Animation Prize.

The World Animation Festival has already taken place in Portalegre, Caldas da Rainha and Montemor-o-Novo, but Casa da Animação plans to remain in Castelo Branco and Vila Velha de Ródão for a while, to “give stability to the event, help it to grow more, get more sponsors, projection and audience”, explained Regina Machado.

In a retrospective of what 2023 was like for Portuguese animation cinema, the director of Casa da Animação recalled the unprecedented nomination of “Ice Merchants”, by João Gonzalez, for the Oscars, the sum of international awards, the unprecedented debut of a feature film -nationally produced films and celebrations of the centenary of the first Portuguese animated film.

“We are in our best year, from now on it will continue and gaining respect from the public was very important and the public realises that animated cinema is not just for children and that it takes us out there as almost no other format takes us. Having the public on our side and focusing attention on animated cinema was our biggest victory,” she said.

The entire program for the World Animation Festival, including complementary activities in ten cities across the country can be seen here: