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.