“My Animated Childood” is a documentary on the animated cartoon series that were created in Socialist Eastern Europe. Its the coming-of-age story of the getting out of a child's dream together with growing out of the Socialist dream told through the stories of the makers of these cartoons and the people who experienced them.

"If you want to bring up your children in a humane way show them Soviet cartoons."

 

Pope John Paul II

 

 

“Growing up is losing some illusions, in order to acquire others.”

 

Virginia Woolf

 

Communism as a regime had it's fair share of atrocities to be accounted for. But how was to actually grow up in a communist society?

 

Animated films played certainly an important role. "My Animated Childhood" goes in the search of the creative minds behind those cartoons.

 

Starting from their voices we discover what it was like to be a child in these times and what it was to be an artist creating under the weight of an ideology. Through their stories we’ll be brought through a voyage in history from the political and historical developments behind the Iron Curtain to the present day. A journey that will reflect the dynamically growing gap between ideals and reality.

 

 

The makers of these animated film have the common biographical trait of having lived on their skin the horrors of the second world war. Coming out of it, they did not only try to infuse  their creations with the hope for a better society but they also strongly identified with the ideals of socialist regimes. But what has come of those? Following the narration we discover that, what often started as a collective artistic project was, through the years, disrupted by the reality: the reality o living under a regime first, and capitalism later. Testiomony to this are the stories of how some of the artist had to pay their opposition with prison, and how what started as a collective endeavor ended in legal wars for copyrights.

 

The ideals were lost but what was left were these cartoons, often works of art. They projected a very different world view of what the western cartoons were doing. They were not about competition or violence. They focused on cooperation, friendship and harmony. After the Iron Curtain fell, they got a life for themselves and continued to be distributed all over the world.

 

Each country had their own very famous series broadcasted to all the eastern block and beyond. Today countless comments populate the youtube uploads of these cartoons. People from countries as diverse as Syria, Iraq, Mozambique, Turkmenistan  identify themselves in these films.

 

Today families all over the world gathered in front of the TV-screens to watch a Czechoslovak or Polish cartoon. So to say, the ideals of a small group of makers from the collective Socialist animation studios have influenced and inspired children through the barriers of generations and borders.

 

 

 

 

The documentary will mostly focus on the creations from:

 

Poland 

 

Bolek & Lolek: shown in 90 countries.

 

 

Miś Uszatek - „Teddy Floppy-ear”: shown in 22 countries.

 

 

 

Czechoslovakia

 

Pat and Mat - „The Neighbours": shown in western Europe.

 

 

 

Krtek - „The Mole": shown in 60 countries.

 

 

 

 

East-Germany 

Das Sandmännchen: shown in ca. 20 countries.