published: 13.10.2012, 13:42 | updated: 13.10.2012 13:44:39
Prague - Czech artist, animated film director and scriptwriter Bretislav Pojar died all of a sudden on Friday aged 89 years, producer Michal Podhradsky, Pojar´s student and colleague, told CTK today.
"He (Pojar) felt well. We managed to celebrate his 89th birthday with a number of his students this week," Podhradsky said.
Pojar won fame at home with his popular animated series about two bears and the stories based on The Garden book by artist Jiri Trnka.
Pojar was born in Susice, west Bohemia, on October 7, 1923 . After the Nazis closed Czech universities in 1942, he was sent to forced labour to the AFIT studio in Prague that was to become the German Reich´s competitor to the U.S. Walt Disney studio.
Soon after the war, the AFIT changed into the Bratri v triku studio of animated films headed by Trnka. Pojar ranked among Trnka´s prominent animators. In 1946, he and Trnka left to the newly established Studio of Puppet Films.
Pojar directed his animated debut, the fairy tale Gingerbread House (Pernikova chaloupka), in 1951.
In 1960, he won the Grand Prix at the International Animation Film Festival in Annecy, France, for his film The Lion and the Song (Lev a pisnicka).
Pojar´s later films were also awarded at Czech and international festivals, including the prestigious film events in Berlin and Cannes.
In 1990, he was appointed professor and became the first head of the animated film department at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague where he was teaching until recently.
In the mid-1960s, Pojar began his long collaboration with the Canadian National Film Board.
From 1967 he worked for the U.N. and a number of his films were created in co-production with partners in Europe as well as Canada and India. He, for instance, participated in The Bear (L'Ours, 1988) film directed by Frenchman Jean-Jacques Annaud.
In the Czech Republic, Pojar recently directed one episode in the collaborative animated feature film Fimfarum 2, based on original fairy tales by Jan Werich, which was released in 2006.
Pojar received the Crystal Globe award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to World Cinema from the hands of Hollywood star Renee Zellweger at the opening of the International Film Festival Karlovy Vary, west Bohemia, in 2007.
A year later, President Vaclav Klaus presented Pojar with the medal for merit, 2nd degree.
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