Animated Dreams is the oldest and biggest festival of animated films in Estonia. In addition to showcasing the work of Estonian directors, it is designed to promote and popularize animation culture from around the globe.
A unique festival, Animated Dreams was launched in 1999 and has gone on to become one of the most respected and competitive animation festivals in the world.
The festival comprises a competition programme of animated shorts, a programme of full-length animated films and a range of special programmes. The competition programme is judged by a three-member international jury. Over the years this jury has included renowned directors, producers, historians and curators working in the field of animation.
The Grand Prix presented to the winner is the NAIL of Heino Pars, named after one of the most influential Estonian puppeteers and film directors.
Animated Dreams has found its home in a number of Tallinn’s cinemas over the years, but it now has two main bases: Kino Sõprus and Kino Artis. Several films from the festival are also shown in other towns and cities in Estonia as part of the Black Nights Film Festival (BNFF).
During the first two years of BNFF, animated films were presented as something of a ‘warm-up act’ to the feature films that followed them. These programmes were put together with the help of well-known Swiss animation specialist Otto Alder.
The year 2001 saw a marked change in approach: in parallel with the 70th anniversary of Estonian animation, the first ever competition programme for animated shorts was launched and an international jury was introduced. The organizer of the festival at the time was Heilika Pikkov. Over the years the festival team has often been assisted in putting programmes together by Estonian animation directors and studios.
Since its inception, the festival has generated a broad range of contacts with other festivals, studios and cultural institutions. Since 2005, Animated Dreams has been a member of the Nordic and Baltic animation festival network ANOBA, of which it was also one of the founding members.
In 2007, the festival helped to organize an international puppet-film themed colloquium entitled ‘The Soul of Voodoo’ to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Nukufilm studio. The event attracted more people working in the field of animation all over the world to the Estonian capital than ever before.
In 2011, Animated Dreams made yet another major advance with the launch of AnimaCampus Tallinn, an international networking and training event for young animated film professionals. This creative coming together took place over five days alongside the festival itself and gave the participants the chance to learn from leading lights in the field and to join a network of international contacts.