A Conversation with Anca Damian

Moderated by Richard Pena

Sunday, January 29, 2023
FIAF Skyroom

In English • 60 min

Enjoy a unique opportunity to hear from one of today’s leading animation artists, award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker Anca Damian.

Known for her inventive mixing of animation techniques and creative storytelling that never shy away from difficult narratives, Damian has produced an expansive body of work. Whether she’s relaying the story of a little dog (Marona’s Fantastic Tale), a Polish immigrant (The Magic Mountain), or putting her own spin on Robinson Crusoe (The Island), her films are truly original—as will be our conversation with her!

Anca Damian is this year’s Festival Guest of Honor, and she will speak about two of her works that are part of the festival, her new film, The Island, and the AR companion piece, In Search of Paradise, as well as about current projects and career highlights.

The conversation and Q&A will be moderated by Richard Pena, Columbia University professor and former Director of Programming at New York Film Festival and Film at Lincoln Center.


Feature Film

The Island

NY Premiere
Sun, Jan 29 at 1:45pm
FIAF Florence Gould Hall, Level A
Ages 10 & up • In English • 84 min

Before the talk, join us at 1:45pm for Anca Damian’s new feature film The Island (L’Île), a musical fable based on Robinson Crusoe with the magic of The Little Prince and the humor of Monty Python. Follow Robinson and Friday in their quest to find freedom in a surreal world populated by outcasts and mermaids. The Island overflows with mixed media animation, along with comedic observations of a world that doesn’t quite “go round.”

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AR Exhibition

In Search of Paradise

Sat, Jan 28–Sun, Jan 29
FIAF Tinker Auditorium, Level A

Throughout the festival, stop by the Festival Lounge in our Tinker Auditorium to experience some of the major themes of Anca Damian’s film The Island, such as migration, ecology, alienation, and tech addiction, in its augmented reality companion, In Search of Paradise.

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Anca Damian

Anca Damian is a Romanian film director, writer, and producer. Known for her inventive mixing of animation techniques, and creative storytelling, Damian has produced an expansive body of work without ever shying away from controversial narratives.

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    • Crulic: The Path to Beyond (2011), her second animated feature, about a Romanian citizen who died in a Polish prison while on a hunger strike, premiered at Locarno Film Festival and went on to win 35 awards, including the Crystal Award at the 2012 Annecy International Animation Film Festival.

      Other directorial credits in animation include The Magic Mountain (2015), for which she received the 2016 Audentia Award for Best Female Director from Eurimages, and The Call (2018), selections at the Toronto and Sundance Film Festivals. Marona’s Fantastic Tale (2019) premiered at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and went on to screen at many others, including Rotterdam IFF as well as Tokyo IFF. It received prizes at Los Angeles’s Animation is Film, Bucheon IAF, and Tokyo Anime Award. In New York, it premiered at Animation First 2020. Damian recently finished The Island which premiered at Rotterdam IFF in Big Screen Competition and in the Competition at Annecy International Animation Film Festival and is currently working on her next feature, Starseed.