ITFS Dives into Its First Hybrid Animation Fest for 2021

From May 4 to 9, the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS), one of the globe’s premiere festivals for animated film, will take place both onsite at various venues around Stuttgart, Germany, and with an extensive program online at

The organizers of ITFS are starting the year 2021 with confidence. When the 2020 edition had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, a quick rethink was called for. Thus, ITFS 2020 was one of the first film festivals to launch as a purely online edition with — and reached new target audiences, too. Positive feedback to the new format, both in terms of quality and quantity, has shown that online is an important channel for giving filmmakers a platform and offering fans all over the world the chance to participate in ITFS without the need for travel.

“For ITFS 2021, we hope to return to the actual and important core with personal, direct encounters. However, with the new experience gained in 2020, we have planned an expansion for the 28th ITFS with a first-time hybrid version,” said Dieter Krauß, Commercial Managing Director of ITFS.

Artistic Managing Director Prof. Ulrich Wegenast noted, “The surveys on last year’s online edition of ITFS clearly showed that both industry and audience would like to see a continuation of the online section with its media centre and streaming opportunities.”

Whether film fans, families or professionals, ITFS offers both onsite and digital options for every target audience, the choice is up to visitors. This is also reflected in the different types of tickets that will be available at from mid-February. For the public, there are the festival passes: HYBRID, ONSITE or ONLINE+. For the industry, ITFS offers HYBRID and ONLINE PRO accreditation.

The planned onsite events are dependent on the development of the pandemic. As of now, cinema screenings and events such as workshops and presentations are planned to take place at Innenstadtkinos, on Schlossplatz and at other venues. Part of the GameZone, including the games exhibition “Wonderwomen – Women in Games & Animation” at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart and GameZone Kids at Jugendhaus Mitte are also to take place onsite with supplementary online activities in the free section of In addition, most of the ITFS 2020 competition entries that could only be shown online last year are to be screened in cinemas in 2021.

For all those who cannot be onsite or prefer to access the ITFS program from home: Free live streaming is planned on the already established platform, to bring the Festival atmosphere on Schlossplatz to the web. Opportunities for families, children and film enthusiasts complete the OnlineFestival Free program.

With the fee-based ONLINE+ access, live streams or on-demand viewing of current competition films and a supporting program will be available. Personal filmmaker statements provide insights into the ideas and stories behind the films.

ONLINE PRO at offers professionals, in addition to onsite school and studio presentations, the opportunity to participate online in live workshops and presentations by renowned studios. The fee-based access includes the entire ONLINE+ film program.

Among the year’s onsite and online programming highlights:

“Creating*Diversity” is the motto for ITFS 2021, underlining that artistic media such as animation and games not only represent aesthetic and social diversity, but create it, too, from conception to production and distribution.

With “Copines!”, ITFS 2021 will also focus on France as a partner country which has developed a diverse and successful animation scene, especially in the last 30 years. Selected filmmakers, studios and universities will present themselves and celebrate rande nation of animated film at ITFS.

“Wonderwomen – Women in Games & Animation” takes up a relevant topic that was already examined 25 years ago at ITFS with a program by curator Jayne Pilling (founder of the British Animation Awards), and thus enables a discourse on how the situation for women in animated film has changed since then, what new artistic positions have emerged and what role women play in the games industry. The 2021 curators are Waltraud Grausgruber, Gerben Schermer, Stephan Schwingeler and Judith Ackermann.

Running concurrently with ITFS, sister event FMX (May 4-6) will present an all-online edition this year. Themed “Reimagine Tomorrow,” organizers have already slated a keynote by Florian Gellinger on the evolution of RISE Visual Effects Studios (Dragon Rider, Stowaway), a special focus on Over the Moon with director Glen Keane, short film spotlight on Mila with Cinzia Agnelini (Head of Story & Director, Cinesite) and an examination of the creature effects in Monster Hunter. Tickets go on sale February 15 at

ITFS 2021
ITFS 2021


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