08 Oct 2023

Animest.18: Haruki Murakami Stories, Dystopian Worlds, and Award-Winning Films

The 18th edition of the Animest International Animation Film Festival is starting in just a few days! From Friday October 6, this year’s coolest, freshest, and most acclaimed animated productions will grace Bucharest cinema screens for ten whole days, so you – and your whole family – can enjoy hundreds of short and feature-length films produced in the past few years. The cherry on top? Several of these unique productions will be presented by their creators themselves, our special guests at Animest. Are you excited yet? Our magical adventure in the world of limitless imagination will start with Chicken For Linda!, winner of the Annecy Crystal, a family story that will be screened during the Opening Gala on Friday, October 6, at Luceafărul Hall (formerly known as Cinema PRO).

Grab your tickets for the Animest.18 screenings and events here and swoon alongside the Animest.18 official festival trailer here! 

Are you a Haruki Murakami fan? Then the Romanian premiere of Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (directed by Pierre Földes) will be right up your alley: a lost cat, a giant talkative toad, and a tsunami help an unambitious salesman, his frustrated wife, and a schizophrenic accountant save Tokyo from an earthquake – and find meaning in their lives. The film, inspired by Murakami’s short stories, won an Annecy Jury Distinction in 2022. Catch it on Saturday, October 7, at 8.30 PM, at Cinema Elvire Popesco, or on Saturday October 14, at 9 PM, at the Eforie Cinematheque.

Another Annecy winner, No Dogs or Italians Allowed (directed by Alain Ughetto) attracted the Jury Award and the Gan Foundation Award for Distribution in 2022. This feature film follows in the footsteps of Luigi Ughetto, the director’s grandfather, who, according to family lore, was an Italian who crossed the Alps to start a new life in France, changing his family's destiny forever. Journey with the Ughettos at Cinema Elvire Popesco on Sunday, October 8 and 15, respectively, at 6.30 PM.

White Plastic Sky, directed by Tibor Bánóczki and Sarolta Szabó, the multi-award winning writer and director duo known for their mysterious bizarre worlds, bring us the story of a young couple living in a barren, post-apocalyptic Budapest in the year 2123, struggling for food and their very lives under a plastic dome. When they turn 50, these future humans are implanted with a special seed that transforms them into trees, thus becoming a source of oxygen and food for the rest of the community. But what happens when you want to break the rules? This special film premiered at the Berlinale this year, and will be screened in Bucharest on Friday and Saturday, October 13 (at 7 PM) and 14 (at 3 PM), at the Eforie Cinematheque.

Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds (directed by Benoît Chieux) won this year's Audience Award at Annecy, after irrevocably charming viewers of all ages with a fantastical story in which two sisters, sisters, Juliette and Carmen, discover a secret passage to the world of their favorite book, The Kingdom of the Winds. Transformed into cats and separated from each other, they will have to find their way back and confront the mysterious Sirocco, the master of winds and storms. The publication Variety described this film as “a truly spectacular psychedelic excursion in the vein of head-trip classics The Fantastic Planet and The Yellow Submarine. [...] Chieux’s hand-drawn curio [...] takes the mesmerizing dream logic of such projects and applies it to an Alice in Wonderland-style plot.” Get your tickets to enjoy this magical journey on Saturday October 7, at 6.30 PM, at Cinema Elvire Popesco, or on Saturday October 14, at 7 PM, at the Eforie Cinematheque.

Director and producer Jean-Christophe Roger, winner of a Primetime Emmy for the Primal series, joined forces with Julien Chheng to create Ernest and Célestine: A Trip to Gibberitia. Ernest and Célestine, bear and mouse best buddies, return to Ernest's hometown, where the most talented musicians in the world live. Imagine their shock as they learn that music has been banned there for years! Together with their new friends and a mysterious masked criminal, our heroes fight to bring joy back to the land of bears. This production, nominated for the 2023 César Awards, is perfect for audiences of all ages. Enjoy it at Eforie Cinematheque, Saturday on October 7, at 7 PM, or Sunday October 15, at 1 PM.

Claé and Bruó, two secret agents working for enemy kingdoms, are dispatched to the Enchanted Forest. Lost, they finally discover they're on the same mission: to save the mysterious Perlimps from the terrible Giants surrounding the Forest. The film is directed by Alê Abreu, nominated for an Oscar for The Boy and the World, which won Best Feature at Animest 2014. His new film, Perlimps, premiered internationally at Annecy and will be screened at Animest in the first weekend of the festival: on Saturday, October 7, at 8.30 PM at the Cervantes Institute, and on Sunday October 8, at 1 PM, at Eforie Cinematheque.

Another Animest.18 special treat: on Japan Day at Animest – Sunday, October 8 – follow the story of Kaoru Tono, who heard a rumor: the laws of space and time mean nothing to the Urashima Tunnel. If you find it, walk through and you'll find your heart's desire on the other side… in exchange for years of your life. Watch Tomohisa Taguchi's latest fantasy anime, The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes, at 7 PM on October 8, at the Eforie cinematheque.

Browse the full festival schedule and buy tickets and festival passes on the Eventbook platform, here.


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.

Institutional partners: The French Institute and the Embassy of France, Instituto Cervantes, The Austrian Cultural Forum, Goethe-Institut, The Embassy of Japan, Japan Foundation, Liszt Institute – The Hungarian Cultural Centre, The Czech Centre, The National Film Centre of Latvia, IZANAGI – Japanese Film Festival, CNDB – The National Centre for Dance Bucharest, UNATC – the I.L. Caragiale National University of Theatre and Film, the Animation Festival Network.

Partners: Groupama, Aqua Carpatica, Sâmburești, BMW, TVPaint, MyAirBridge, Kafune, Crama de Piatra, Arthub, Home.

Main media partner: Radio Guerrilla.

Media partners:  Radio România Cultural, Itsy Bitsy FM, IQads, Zile și Nopți, Elle, Vice, Scena9, Observator Cultural, Agerpres, Ziarul Metropolis, Mindcraft Stories,, LiterNet, MovieNews, Cinefan, Cinefilia,, SuntPă, AIVImedia.hub, Munteanu.

Monitoring partner: mediaTRUST.