New Leadership, New Look: Makeover for Germany’s Premier Animation Festival

Press Release, Stuttgart, 7 March 2024


The 31st Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS) will take place from April 23 to 28, 2024 for the first time under the direction of Heike Mozer and Annegret Richter. They unveiled the changes to come for this year’s festival edition yesterday at a joint press conference with the FMX – Film and Media Exchange and the co-production market Animation Production Days.


In addition to a clear structure and fixed time slots for the competition programmes, 2024 will also see a new Festival Centre as a location for filmmakers, audiences, and the press in the heart of the city. The new management duo proclaims “the festival of short distances” and has given the ITFS a makeover both visually and conceptually. This will be evident not only at the new Festival Centre, but also at the open-air venue at Schlossplatz as well as around the festival cinemas – all located within walking distance.


Behind the festival concept “Insights” are talks and panels, masterclasses, and workshops, primarily taking place in the Eugen-Bolz-Saal in the Festival Centre. There you’ll find the Filmmakers Lounge: a place to meet, relax briefly, and hold receptions, discussions, and presentations. The Filmmakers Talks will also be held here. Festival audiences can meet the filmmakers in person and learn more about their work.


Also new: The Festival of Animated Film, APD and FMX together announce the “Stuttgart Animated Week”. The three parallel events want to use their synergies and jointly fill this week at the end of April with life. The day before the grand opening of the festival on April 23, there will be a joint opening event for professionals and guests of honour.

Programmatically, there are overlaps between the three events: FMX focuses on, among other things, “Women in Animation,” a theme continued in the ITFS programme. There will be a masterclass with Ebele Okoye, who is dedicated to empowering women in animation in Africa. As part of the IN PERSONA series Špela Čadež will be a guest, a passionate advocate of the analogue impressing with puppet and cutout techniques. Michaela Pavlátová will be honoured with the international ASIFA Prize in Stuttgart. And Isabel Herguera will give insights into her work on the feature film SULTANA’S DREAM, created by and with women in India, screening on Friday.

The ITFS programme will present more than 500 films from 34 countries. “In the competitions, there is a tendency towards stop-motion, handmade, and very few films in 3D. By the way, there are no films made by AI,” emphasised Artistic Director Annegret Richter. Filmmakers are more concerned with questions like “Who am I? Where do I want to go? What is home?” Topics also include mental and physical health or self-reflection.


Another programme highlight is the new focus on German animation. “It is important to me personally to make German animation more visible at the festival and to involve the German industry more strongly. Some German short films are also featured in the International Competition, but we have additionally compiled two programmes with current films from Germany, showcasing the entire spectrum of German filmmaking,” said the Artistic Director.


This includes the world premiere of the series FRITZI UND SOPHIE before it airs on ARD and Kika in the autumn. We will show all eight episodes on the open-air screen and in theatres on festival friday. The story of the boundless friendship of two 12-year-old girls takes place in the politically turbulent summer and fall of 1989 and portrays a piece of German-German history for children, families, and all those who were around at the time. But it also serves as a prime example of the synergies among our three events of Stuttgart’s Animated Week: The film project FRITZI was at APD in 2015, and now we are celebrating the world premiere of this all-German series project at ITFS, with the creators presenting at FMX.


Last but not least, the Festival of Animated Film is rolling out the green carpet for Ireland in the Special Focus programme: “For over 20 years, an incredibly exciting, young and progressive animation film scene has developed there, which attracts a lot of international attention. Together with Animation Ireland, we look forward to bringing great guests and films to Stuttgart,” said Richter. The Special Focus on Ireland is supported by Zeitgeist Irland 24 – one of many partners enabling the festival.


The favourable Early Bird rates for the Combi Pass (ITFS and FMX) as well as the Festival Pass are still valid until March 15, 2024. From March 20 to April 1, the Festival of Animated Film is also offering a Spring Special: During this period, the offer for day tickets is “Buy 3, pay 2.” Single tickets will go on sale when the printed Festival Guide is published on April 3. All prices and more information can be found on our website.


We have compiled image material for the festival and film stills of the competition films for you to download in the following Flickr albums:


Instructions for download: Click on the desired photo, then click on the symbol in the lower right corner with the downward arrow and select the option “View all sizes.” Then you can download the photo in the size that suits you. When crediting the photographer, the images are royalty-free.