Press release, Stuttgart, March 02, 2023

The Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS), which will take place from April 25 to 30, 2023, is now offering a glimpse of the supporting programme for the 30th edition: From “Best of Programmes” to the country focus on South Africa and the latest topics such as “AI – Artificial Intelligence” – in addition to the numerous competition films, the supporting programme offers multifaceted and exciting insights for professionals and the interested public. Such as the inspiring lecture “A Winter’s Journey” (Alex Helfrecht) with Monika Folkierska-Żukowska, top-class studio presentations by Triggerfish Animation Studios (South Africa) or Those Eyes (Denmark) and JOB, JORIS & MARIEKE (Netherlands). In the impressive retrospectives, the festival will present a film programme by Izabela Plucińska (Germany, Poland) and by outstanding young talent Sander Joon (Estonia). Gil Alkabetz, a great filmmaker and loyal ally of the ITFS, will be honoured with a Tribute.

Accreditations and festival passes are now available at


Country focus South Africa

African animated films have recently received increased international attention and recognition, and the industry beyond already established studios like Triggerfish Animation is beginning to gain a foothold in the global market. Animation is a perfect medium to bring Africa’s stories, design, art, and music to the world, to encourage and inspire artists and filmmakers. The rapid digital development, the streaming revolution allow the distribution of content like never before. Artists on the African continent have as much talent and potential as on any other continent, but they often lack opportunities to become part of the global digital creative industry to tell their own stories there.

With two short film programmes curated by Kaydee de Villiers (curator, Cape Town International Animation Festival), studio presentations of, among others, Triggerfish by Stuart Forrest and Cabblow Studios by Kabelo Maka, a workshop talk with filmmaker and producer Lesego Vorster and Ross Lelliot (Creative at The Hidden Hand Studios), Leroy Le Roux (Thaba Ye) and Mogau Kekana (Thaba Ye) on “The Establishing of Authentic African Aesthetics on an International Stage through the lens of Hidden Hand”, school presentations by The Animation School and the Triggerfish Academy, work-in-progress presentations, film talks and workshops, a delegation of South African animation talents and animation professionals will celebrate the festival in this year’s country focus on South Africa.

The collaboration between Triggerfish, the Cape Town International Animation Festival, the ITFS, the Animation Production Days (APD) and FMX is supported by Employment and Skills Development in Africa (E4D), a programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.



Topic: Artificial Intelligence

This year, the ITFS is dedicated to the exciting question of what role artificial intelligence can play in and for animation. Two film programmes offer an insight into the artistic engagement with self-learning machines and the possibilities for art but also the abysses that could result. In the International Competition, Nikita Diakur, in his film “Backflip” (France/Germany, 01/2022), has his self-learning avatar work on a sports exercise in a highly amusing way.



In the lecture “A Winter’s Journey” by Alex Hefrecht (Germany/France/Poland, original title: WINTERREISE / status: in production) Monika Folkierska-Żukowska (VFX and animation producer, Breakthru Productions sp. z o.o.) gives the audience insights into the status and making of the animated feature film. Painted by the animation artists behind the Oscar-nominated “Loving Vincent”, “A Winter’s Journey” is a romantic and epic story that blends live action with CG and painted animation. The world of the film is the first that has been created using PlayStation Dreams, developed by multiple BAFTA award-winning games studio Media Molecule. The film is an adaptation of Franz Schubert’s timeless masterpiece “Winterreise”, the most performed classical song cycle in the world.



Work Shows, Tributes & Best of Programmes

The ITFS brings together established filmmakers with emerging talents: In the Work Shows, the festival will present a film programme by Izabela Plucińska (Germany, Poland) and Sander Joon (Estonia), who won the Young Animation Award at ITFS 2019 for “Sounds Good” (Estonia, 06/2018). Gil Alkabetz, a loyal ally of the ITFS, will be honoured with a Tribute curated by Christina Schindler, complemented by a previously unreleased film as well as films he created in workshops with Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF students and a film by his students in his honour.

The Friends (Förderverein) of the ITFS are delighted with the task of organising four Best of – animation programmes. In the exciting film programme “Was aufs Ohr” (“get an earful”), one learns how complex sound design is and how crucial for an emotional and almost immersive film experience. Another programme takes an in-depth look into the festival. It is about specials and little secrets of the ITFS and will reveal which was the shortest film ever shown, which filmmaker’s works were screened most, or which film was the first ever to be shown in competition. A film journey well worth taking. Another highlight is that the outstanding animation artists of the Baden-Württemberg region from various festival years will be presented in not one but two film programmes. It is astonishing to see the unbelievable diversity and extraordinary quality of the respective filmmakers’ highly unique artistic and narrative attitudes towards creation; they are highly regarded not only in the region, but internationally too.


Studio Presentation & School Presentation

Alongside an exciting mix of presentations by internationally renowned and upcoming talented studios like Triggerfish Animation Studios (South Africa) or Those Eyes (Denmark) and JOB, JORIS & MARIEKE (Netherlands), again selected higher education institutes will present their work to the industry and the public. Among them: Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF; Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Turin; Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg: The Animation School, Johannesburg; Triggerfish Academy, Cape Town.


Tickets now available at the Early Bird rate

Whether for film fans, families, or professionals – the ITFS offers events and programmes for every target audience. This is also reflected in the different types of tickets, which are now available in the ticket shop at For the public, there is the Festival Pass, which grants access to almost all events during the festival. For the industry, the ITFS offers accreditation. Until 15 March 2023, the Festival Pass as well as the industry accreditation are available at the reduced Early Bird rate.