Czech Stop Motion Director Bretislav Pojar Dies

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Bretislav Pojar

Bretislav Pojar

Renown Czech direc­tor and writer Bretislav Pojar passed away sud­denly on Fri­day pro­ducer Michal Podhrad­sky announced ear­lier today. Pojar’s body of work pro­duced at Krátký Film Praha (the Czech ani­mated film stu­dio) was cel­e­brated by both his fel­low coun­try­men as well as the world at large.

His pass­ing was entirely unex­pected; Pojar seemed in excel­lent health, and even cel­e­brated his 89th birth­day with col­leagues ear­lier this week Podhrad­sky commented.

Born in Susice, West Bohemia, on Octo­ber 7, 1923, Pojar was removed from Uni­ver­sity and sent to forced labor to the AFIT Stu­dio in Prague by the Nazis in 1942. AFIT Stu­dio was to become the Ger­man Reich’s com­peti­tor to the U.S. Walt Dis­ney studio.

After the war, AFIT Stu­dios became Stu­dio Bratři v Triku, headed by Jiri Trnka. There, Pojar directed his ani­mated debut, the fairy tale Pernikova Chaloupka (The Gin­ger­bread House), in 1951. Pojar really came to wide atten­tion with his pop­u­lar ani­mated series about two bears and the sto­ries based on The Gar­den book by artist Jiri Trnka.

In 1960, he won the Grand Prix at the Inter­na­tional Ani­ma­tion Film Fes­ti­val in Annecy, France, for his film Lev a Pis­nicka (The Lion and the Song).

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.

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