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Animation film extravaganza Anima looks to the future for 2024 edition

Anima Science Fiction Classics world of tomorrow Bitter Films
17:23 19/02/2024

Belgium’s annual celebration of home-grown and international animation roars into the future with a fantastic line-up of sci-fi films from 23 February to 3 March.

Anima - destined for adults as well as children - opens its 43rd edition with the futuristic Mars Express (pictured below), an animated neo-noir French fiction film directed by Jérémie Périn.

Mars Express

The innovative focus then continues with short and feature-length science fiction films plus a retrospective of the genre at Cinematek: eight iconic features largely from the early 2000s, originating from Europe, the US and Japan.

Other thematic elements include Science Fiction Scavengers, gathering some remarkable contemporary shorts, and Fantastic Planet, a classic film restored for its 50th anniversary.

Le voyage dans la lune (c) star film

For the first time, the festival spreads out to to nearby Marni Theatre from its traditional Flagey base in Ixelles. It also travels to smaller venues in the capital as well as cinemas all over Wallonia and Flanders to share programme highlights.

In total, 80 films are screening in the international competition, 24 in the national section and some 66 films are shown outside the competitions.


Another new feature for the event is the interactive Digital Playground area. All ages can experiment with fun installations that mix video games and experiences with animated film techniques, such as surfing through cyberspace on a skateboard or playing ball with a toaster.

Fox and Rabbit save the forest

For young spectators, films are categorised by age; the language and subtitles for each film is also clearly marked. The KIDS programme opens on 24 February with a premiere of the comedy Linda Wants Chicken! (6+), pictured, plus Fox and Hare Save the Forest (5+) and Léo, the story of Leonardo da Vinci (7+).

Otherwise, the adult programme encompasses 16 feature films, including 11 premieres. Among them are the virtuoso Deep Sea and for jazz fans in particular, the festival closes on 3 March with Blue Giant. It recounts young student Dai’s journey learning to play the saxophone.

Cabaret Mademoiselles

The line-up of shorts includes the traditional Best Of Shorts and C'est du Belge, along with special programmes such as the return of LGBTQIa+ Queer Stories on 24 February, animated by live performances from Cabaret Mademoiselle artists (pictured). More than a compilation, it’s a celebration of queer pride.

National archive film centre Cinematek also hosts a special evening dedicated to the Belgian master of animation Raoul Servais on 1 March. After his death last year, this is a timely exploration of his imaginative and multi-facetted work.


Additional activities range from a guided bike tour on 2 March and concerts to kids’ workshops and plenty of meet-and-greet sessions with animation talents.

As ever, a big draw is the famous Animated Night (pictured) on 2 March. Audiences will need to get comfy and settle back for a three-programme marathon!

23 February to 3 March
Flagey, Marni Theatre, Cinematek and venues across Belgium

Photos: (main image) Science fiction classics World of tomorrow ©Bitter Films; Mars Express; Le voyage dans la lune ©star film; Digital Playground; Fox and Hare Save the Forest; Cabaret Mademoiselles; Animation Night

Written by The Bulletin