Animator Gene Deitch settled in Prague almost 60 years ago and directed Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons behind the Iron Curtain for the US market. The small number of other Americans who moved here in the communist period were one subject we discussed in the second half of an extensive interview. But I began by asking Deitch about the time the great folk singer and social activist Pete Seeger, a good friend of his, visited Czechoslovakia in 1964.
Gene Deitch, who turns 95 next month, is by some distance the US citizen longest resident in Prague. Deitch had run a successful animation studio in New York prior to the fateful meeting in 1959 with his future wife Zdenka that led him to settle in Prague soon after. From behind the Iron Curtain, he produced an Oscar-winning animated short, as well as directing Tom and Jerry and Popeye cartoons for the American market.
Czech animated films collected three awards at this year’s International
Animated Film Festival in Annecy in France. Daria Kashcheeva’s Daughter,
a short puppet film about a complicated relationship between a daughter and
her father, was voted the best film in the Graduation Short Films in
Competition. The film, produced by FAMU, also won the Junior Jury Award in
the same category.
Another FAMU project, Martin Smatana’s The Kite, which premiered at Berlinale in the Generation Kplus section, won the Young Audience Award. The annual festival in Annecy was established in 1960. This year it was attended by around 11,000 film professionals.
Michael Havas grew up in New Zealand but came to communist Czechoslovakia – the country his parents had escaped from – to study film. He has made over 50 documentaries in a career that has seen him work with director Jan Švankmajer and many more noteworthy figures. Indeed, I first came across him in connection with a letter protesting Brexit that he wrote to the UK prime minister and circulated to friends, including Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin of Monty Python and musician Peter Gabriel. But when we met I first asked Michael Havas about his family
The most famous Czech cartoon character, Krteček, or the Little Mole, has been the centre of legal disputes for some time. Now a court has ruled that the granddaughter of Krteček’s creator, the late Zdeněk Miler, can no longer grant licenses to produce Little Mole collectibles. Judges say that a contract Miler signed with his granddaughter shortly before his death was invalid.
The Prague Supreme Court has ruled that the granddaughter of the late
artist Zdeněk Miler, author of the famous Czech cartoon character Kreček
(Little Mole), does not own the rights to it nor can she grant licenses for
the production of Little Mole collectibles.
According to the ruling, the contract which Miler signed for his granddaughter shortly before his death is invalid. The verdict is legally binding.
The court upheld an appeal by Milena Fišerová, who was authorised to administer Miller’s copyrights in 2006 and who engaged in a drawn-out legal battle with Miller’s grand-daughter after his death in 2011.
The South Korean film “I'll just live in bando” directed by
Yongsun Lee took the main prize at the Anifilm festival in Trebon on
Saturday night. The winner of the children’s category was The
Breadwinner, a Canadian-Irish coproduction.
The 2018 festival of animated films screened over 500 movies, of that 129 in competition and attracted 30,000 visitors. Czech filmmaker Libuše Čihařová received a life award for her work, which includes the popular children’s series Bob a Bobek and Maxipes Fík.
The Anifilm festival of animated film gets underway in the town of Třebon
on Tuesday with the Czech premiere’s of Wes Anderson’s latest movie
Isle of Dogs. Guests at the annual event will include US director Chris
Landreth, who received an Oscar for his film Ryan, and animators from the
Libuše Čihařová, who co-created the classic Czech cartoons Bob and Bobek and Maxipes Fík, will receive a lifetime achievement award at Anifilm, which runs until Sunday.
With the Christmas season underway many of Prague’s museums and galleries are offering special events and programs, among them a museum dedicated to the seminal works of the great 20th century animator and film director Karel Zeman - behind films like Journey to the Beginning of Time and Baron Munchausen. The Karel Zeman Museum has plenty planned for each advent weekend, including a steampunk robot photographer ready to snap visitors’ pictures.
The granddaughter of the artist Zdeněk Miler, author of the famous Czech cartoon character Krteček, can no longer grant licenses for the production of Little Mole collectibles. In its ruling on Tuesday, the Prague Municipal Court upheld an appeal by Milena Fišerová, who was authorised to administer Miler’s copyrights in 2006.