Press release, Stuttgart, April 25, 2023


Germany’s major animation film festival, the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS), is celebrating its 30th edition: The festival was officially opened on Tuesday evening, 25 April 2023, in the Gloria 1 cinema of Innenstadtkinos Stuttgart. At the opening gala, Uwe Schmitz-Gielsdorf welcomed the creator of Triton and other Disney favourites, supervising animator Andreas Deja, State Secretary Arne Braun (Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts), and Stuttgart’s Lord Mayor Frank Nopper, who delivered their forward-looking greetings to the audience in the sold-out cinema hall.


State Secretary Arne Braun emphasised: “The Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film is an absolute stroke of luck for Baden-Württemberg – as a hub for animation, games and VFX that we want to cultivate, maintain and continue to develop with vigour. Together with the FMX and the Animation Production Days, it has enormous charisma in the wide world of animation and strengthens the creative industry in the State. The films at the Festival of Animated Film will again make people laugh and think; or move them to tears. Until Sunday, the State capital will be the worldwide centre of animated film.”


Uwe Schmitz-Gielsdorf, Managing Director of ITFS: ” To me, the art of animated film is a wonderful revelation, as serious as it is cheerful. For this, Stuttgart is the place to be!”


Special thanks are due to the long-standing Chairman of the Supervisory Board of FMF, Dr Walter Rogg (since 2006), who will retire in August 2023. Uwe Schmitz-Gielsdorf paid tribute to his committed and constructive way of bringing the four associates of FMF together over such a long time and thanked him on the big stage. In a personal statement, Andreas Hykade honoured artist Gil Alkabetz, who died in 2022, as an inspiring friend and teacher of many animation filmmakers.

The audience could watch the first section of the International Competition (IW) on the big screen: Eight animated shorts demonstrated the exuberant diversity of animated film, including “Ice Merchants”, an Oscar-nominated short film by João Gonzalez about a touching father-son relationship, Tal Kantor’s “Letter to a Pig”, telling the story of a Holocaust survivor with her unique technique, and “The Invention of Less” by Noah Erni, which shows in a humorous and entertaining way how the world could perhaps be saved with a little trick. On the podium, the filmmakers of IW 1 met for a round of talks and gave insights into their work. At the subsequent get-together in the festival café Café le Theatre, all guests were given space to network, talk, and celebrate!

For six days – from 25 to 30 April 2023 – one of the world’s largest festivals for animation will present 1002 animated films at the Innenstadtkinos and the Open-Air cinema on Schlossplatz, making Stuttgart the “Heart of Animation” (Andreas Hykade). Disney legend and character animator Andreas Deja will give an illustrated overview of his 30-year career at Disney as one of the greatest animators in the company’s 100-year history, e.g. on the development of famous characters such as Jafar (“Aladdin”), Scar (“The Lion King”) and King Triton (“The Little Mermaid”). He also brings along his short film “Mushka”, which will celebrate its European premiere at the ITFS. (Saturday, 29 April, Cinema, 15:30).