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Iconic Zagreb Animator Borivoj Dovnikovic Passes at 92


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On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, the animation world misplaced the nice Croatian animator Borivoj Dovnikovic on the age of 92. One of many founders of the Zagreb College of Animation, Bordo, as he was higher identified by, was a lot beloved for his humorousness, childlike enthusiasm, and love of enjoyable, in addition to for his outstanding inventive expertise. He was additionally a treasured a part of ANIMAFEST, the Zagreb Animation Pageant.

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Born in Osijek, Croatia (then Yugoslavia) in 1930, Bordo grew up with Walt Disney and Hal Foster (Prince Valiant) as his idols. In 1945 he created his first caricature “Udarnik Ratko” (“Striker Ratko”). By 1949 he had moved to Zagreb to attend the Academy of Nice Arts the place he started to hone his pure expertise as an animator, director, cartoonist, illustrator, and caricature creator.

In 1950 he joined a bunch of cartoonists from the weekly humor journal Kerempuh to provide the primary Yugoslav inventive animated movie, Veilik Miting (The Massive Assembly). The movie is taken into account to mark the start of what started as Duga Movie Firm and later turned the legendary Zagreb Movie Studio. By 1961 Bordo had accomplished his first solo movie Doll (The Doll).

Bordo had a profound curiosity within the destiny of the “little man” in up to date society.  ANIMAFEST producer Paola Orlic remembers “A BIG factor that I revered a lot; you know the way he ended his emails that he was writing to me? With the letters SFSN which means Smrt Fasizmu Sloboda Narodu (Demise to fascists, Freedom to the Folks).”

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His movies visually make the most of loads of white or impartial backgrounds with simplified, cartoony characters.

One among my favourite movies is his 1971 The Liberator. A person is tethered to a ball and chain and clearly can’t go wherever. The “liberator” runs as much as the person, fingers him a flag and a medal after which runs on. The 59 second movie says a lot about leaders who promise the poor a greater life however in actuality, do nothing to free them or give them something to enhance their situations.

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The 1978 Studying to Stroll (Strolling College) (9 minutes) is the story of a person who has at all times walked the best way his mom taught him. 4 of his associates take turns making an attempt to show him their type of strolling satisfied that every one’s manner is the one solution to stroll. The little man has a tough time getting away from them, however ultimately he does and goes again to strolling the best way he has at all times walked.

Bordo was one of many founders of the tv collection Professor Balthazarwhich ran from 1967 to 1977. The present was one of the vital profitable initiatives to return out of the Zagreb College of Animation, with many famend Croatian animators engaged on it over its 10-year historical past. Watched by youngsters all through Jap Europe, Professor Balthazar is a kindly scientist who at all times solves his neighbor’s issues with assistance from his magic machine. In 2006 the Professor turned the official mascot of the Metropolis of Zagreb.

Bordo’s movies have gained quite a few awards each nationally and internationally. Krek (The Frog) gained the Silver Bear on the 1967 Berlin Movie Pageant. The movie is a few man who enlists within the military and brings his pet frog (krek) together with him. His sergeant desires conformity within the ranks and does all the things he can consider to do away with the frog.

Talking about Bordo’s movies, Daniel Suljic, Creative Director of the Zagreb Animation Pageant says, “Bordo left us his movies, easy, primarily based on gags (as Ronald Holloway said in his ‘Z . . . Is for Zagreb’ guide), however at all times deeply human, in love with the “small man.”

Along with his many different accomplishments, Bordo additionally wrote a guide, “Skola Crtanog Filma” (“College of Animated Movie”) printed in 1983, which impressed and taught many younger animators. Daniel Suljic informed me that “Manner earlier than YouTube tutorials, my, and plenty of different animators from totally different international locations (the guide was translated and printed in a number of international locations) major supply of information on animate was Bordo’s guide. After I first began doing it myself as a pupil in Vienna, I did loads of workouts primarily based on his directions from the guide and I do know that different individuals did the identical. He taught us stroll, simply because the title of one in all his finest movies, College of Strolling did.”

From 1994 to 2000 Bordo served as Secretary Basic of the Affiliation Internationale du Movie d’ animation (ASIFA). In 2011 he was honored with the ASIFA Lifetime Achievement Award for his unique inventive work and his distinctive contribution to the launching and growth of the artwork of animation in Croatia, in addition to the promotion of animated movie all through the world.

Bordo’s presence will probably be sorely missed on the ANIMAFEST Pageant. Suljic, the Pageant Creative Director, sums up Bardo’s significance to ANIMAFEST as, “He and his spouse Vesna Dovnikovic have been devoted guests of the pageant in Zagreb — the one he was concerned (with) from the start, commonly as a filmmaker with movies screened in competitors and profitable awards, within the group, and later as pageant director from 1985 to 1992. Lately, he didn’t miss any version, a minimum of to attend the opening session and the picnic, and was at all times prepared to inform tales concerning the beginnings of (the) Zagreb faculty of animation or the pageant and to satisfy outdated and new associates.”

He designed the pageant emblem, a stylized Z, in addition to posters for the pageant within the early years, which at all times featured Mandlek, a person in a bowler hat. Paola Orlic sums up many individuals’s emotions concerning the nice animator and buddy on this manner, noting “He was so humorous. We are going to really miss him loads. Possibly ANIMAFEST has Mandlek mascot however for me Bordo was at all times and can at all times be the one true image of ANIMAFEST Zagreb.” Bordo was the recipient of the ANIMAFEST Lifetime Achievement Award on the twenty seventh version of the pageant in 2017.

2022 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the pageant, and Bordo was slated to play an essential position within the festivities. Fortunately, he was interviewed proper after ANIMAFEST in June of final yr for the documentary Croatian Nationwide Tv is making to mark the celebration of fifty years of ANIMAFEST.

Like many people who knew the nice man, Suljic is discovering it laborious to consider that “Bordo is gone. We by no means thought that it’s attainable, and I nonetheless in some way hope that we are going to meet on the fiftieth anniversary of the pageant simply as we deliberate over the phone just lately.”

I can echo Daniel’s phrases and I will probably be on the anniversary celebration to lift a glass of William rakija to my buddy Bordo.

Margit Antauer, director of Animafest Zagreb from 1992 to 2006, referred to as Buba to her associates, is a long-time shut buddy of each Bordo and Vesna. Her phrases are a becoming tribute to her buddy’s life. “Borivoj Dovnikovic – Bordo was a type of uncommon individuals who, one would suppose will reside ceaselessly – as a result of Bordo by no means ever grew up for actual. In his coronary heart and in his thoughts, he was like an harmless little one, with a thousand questions on his lips, with that glowing shine in his eyes, with an limitless quest for the brand new worlds and unknown horizons, with an overdose of curiosity for individuals and life round him. A magician of small gestures, a grasp of simplicity, and nonetheless a clever man who taught me perceive and love animation! Way more than this, for me he’s and he’ll at all times be a real buddy collectively along with his beloved spouse and life companion Vesna, who was for a few years the pillar of his existence, his voice and his sight.

Friendship by no means dies! I’ll hold it remembering him and recalling quite a few unforgettable moments which Bordo, Vesna and I shared through the lengthy years of our amity!”

Borivoj Dovnikovic is survived by his beloved spouse of 49 years, Vesna Dovnikovic.

A commemorative celebration of Bordo’s life will probably be held on February 17 in Zagreb at Cinema Tuskanac.

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