The Jury Members of The First Animafilm Baku International Animation Festival Have Been Announced


We are announcing the Jury Members of Animafilm, The 1st Baku International Animation Festival!

Leading professionals from Azerbaijan, Russia, Israel, Egypt, Georgia, Iran, and Slovakia have been selected as juries at The First ANIMAFILM Baku International Animation Festival.

Two jury panels (animated films and screenplay juries) will select the winner from the presented nominations, according to the criteria for supporting talents and efforts to enhance the appreciation of animation art.

Moreover, the audience can contribute to the evaluation of animation films by participating in the public vote.

“The Audience Award” will be presented to the winner approved by the majority vote.

“The Golden Boat” special prize will be awarded for the contribution to the development of Azerbaijani Animation. The name of the renowned animation director still must be kept secret.

Jury Members will also be actively engaged in Non-Competitive and Professional Sections of the Festival. Acclaimed Azerbaijani director, Elchin Hami Akhundov will teach a master class on paper dolls to children. Russian animation director, Djahangir Suleymanov will present his movies and will speak about the secrets of directing animated films. Ketevan Djanelidze and Mohamed Gazala will present the retrospectives of Georgian and Egyptian animation schools.

Animafilm presents short biographies of the members of two Jury Panels.

Animated Films category

Elchin Hami Akhundov – Azerbaijan

Graduated from the Azim Azimzada School of Art and Lviv Polygraphic Institute, the artist-director Elchin Axundov made significant contribution to the creation and development of the Azerbaijani animation industry. He is the director of ten animation films and the art director of 30 animation films. "Jirtdan-wrestler" (1981), “Baby Hedgehog and the Apple” (1977), “A Man Comes to the Forest” (1980), “Dispute of Fruits” (1994), “Javanshir” (2002), “Snail’s house” (2011) and etc. Starting from 1988, in companionship with his college Firengiz Qurbanova Elchin Hami Akhundov arranged three animation courses. In 2002-2004, he was a director of many animation films, holding a position of the director of the animation studio “Azanfilm”. Movies such as “Basat and Cyclops” (2003), “The Little Crow, but Someone’s Nestle” (2005), “A Mouse and a Cat” (2008), “The Brave Plane” (2009), “Caterpillar’s Dream” (2010), “A Small House” (2012) are among his outstanding works. Currently, he is a director of the children animation studio “Qurama”. He has been actively supporting the talented people in the realm of animation in Azerbaijan for several decades. Moreover, he is the author of several children books – series of books “Do it Yourself” (“The Cloth Peddler”, “If Not That One, Then This One”), book series called “Your First Book” (“Learn and Work Step by Step”, “Ecological Alphabet”) etc. Elchin Hami Akhundov is also the senior consultant of the book “Azerbaijani Animation” (2018).

Jahangir Suleymanov – The Russian Federation.

He was born on January 27th, 1970 in Baku and and raised in a creative family. From the year 1988 till 1989, he enrolled in a course for animators of the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) at the movie studio “Azerbaijanfilm” led by Elchin Hami Akhundov. In 1992, he continued his education in Saint-Petersburg. In 2002-2003, he worked as the director and art director of the series “300 Stories About Petersburgians” based on the novels of Danial Harms. Since 2003, he is the director of TV series “Smeshariki” (known as “Kikoriki”), “Pin-code”, “Tima and Toma”, “The Fixies”. Between the years 2013-2015, he collaborated with the First Russian Charity Series “Flying Animals”. Since 2017, he is the director of the series “The Pirate School” and the leading director of the animation series “Cosmic Academy”.

Ketevan Janelidze – Georgia

Ketevan Janelizde graduated from the Film Studies department of Georgian State University of Theatre and Film (1997) and recieved her Ph.D. from Arts history in 2006. From 2010, she is the head of Georgian Animation Film Makers Guild. K. Janelidze published numerous articles about history of Georgian film and animation. She is the author of books, Georgian Film History (2012) and Georgian Animated Film-Catalog (2018). From 2011, K. Janelidze works as producer in Tbilisi based GFM Studio. She also teaches film and animation at different universities.

Mohamed Gazala - Egypt

Mohamed Ghazala is assistant professor of animation and the chair of the department of the Visual & Digital Production of Effat University (Saudi Arabia). He is the Vice President of the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA), and the founder of its first chapter in Africa and in the Arab world. He served on a number of international Animation festival juries including: Stuttgart (Germany), Castelli Animati (Italy), SICAF (Korea), AnimaAfrik (Ghana), etc. He has been working also as a visiting lecturer at several fine arts & film institutes such as: Jilin animation institute (China), Cologne's Academy of Media Arts (Germany), Durban Art & Animation center (South Africa) and others. M. Ghazala directed and co-directed many awarded films, such as "Carnival" (2001), "Crazy Works" (2002), "HM HM" (2005), "Sayari Yetu" (2006), including the first Yemen's animated film "Salma" in 2006, and "Honyan's Shoe" (2009) which won the Animation Prize at The African Movie Academy Awards (The African Oscar AMAA) in Lagos/Nigeria 2010. His mission in the last few years is to promote Egyptian, Arab and African Animation through lectures in international academies or cinematic programs in festivals. In 2011, he published his first book under the title "Animation in the Arab World". His second book with title "Animation in Africa" was published in Egypt in 2013.

Andrej Chovanec – Slovakiya

Andrej Chovanec studies for his doctorate at the Department of the Theatre and Film Studies at Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. For his PhD thesis, he is evaluating the hermeneutical understanding of dialogical principle of the film industry. He regularly writes reviews for website Film & Spiritualita. In 2014, he participated in a production team at the Colours of Sergei Parajanov the film festival in Olomouc, Czech Republic. In 2017, he participated in a three-months long fellowship as lecturer of Czechoslovak cinema and hermeneutics history at St. Petersburg State University of Film and Television. Besides art, he likes archery and hiking in the mountains of his homeland Slovakia. A. Hovanets is one of the authors of the book “Azerbaijani animation” (2018).

Screenplay Jury

Yefim Abramov - İsrail

Yefim Abramov was born in Baku, Azerbaijan. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the State Institute of Cinematography and worked at the “Azebaijanfilm” studio from 1980-1990. He was the screenwriter and co-director of “Elderly, Elderly” (1982) and “Trouble-Maker” (1987) as well as codirected, with Elkhan Gasimov, for “Anecdote” (1989). Abramov made contributions to several short films for the “Mozalan” satirical cinema magazine as well as writing scripts for the animated movies “New Year’s Story” (1986) and “Dreams, Dreams” (1988) which would go on to win the award for “Best Screenplay” at the International Film Festival in Gabrovo, Bulgaria. Moreover, he was the screenwriter for “Night’s Pray”, filmed in Page move-protected Latvia. In 2014 he co-wrote, with David Kon, the script for a Russian-Israeli film series named “Under the Skies of Verona” for a total of 8 films. In 2010 Abramov wrote and directed “A Letter to a Friend” and afterwards would write a script for another film series titled “The Departure Ticket” (Russian 1, TV channel) for a total of 4 films. He also co-wrote the script for the movie “Secret” with well-known screenwriter Ramiz Fataliyev. Currently, Yefim Abramov resides in Israel.

Sevinj Azimova – Azerbaijan

Sevinj Azimova got her bachelor’s degree in Film Studies at Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts. In 2007, she obtained her master’s Degree from the same institute. Currently, she is a PhD student at the Institute of Architecture and Art of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. The topic of her PhD thesis is “The Tendencies within Development of the Azerbaijani Animation”. Since her student days, she has been publishing articles for numerous cultural newspapers and websites as “Kino+", "Alma", "Daily Telegraph", "". She is the author of several poetry books (“The Flight Distance”, “Forbidden Hours” “Don’t You have a Wife?” “Bread-colored Hands”). Also, she is the author of several novels such as “The Town” and “The Fortune-Teller”. Moreover, she wrote a number of children’s books: “Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who's the Fairest of Them All?“, „In a Red dress“. In 2015, based on the play “Make a wish”, the spectacle „Arzu and Murad“ was put on show at The Young Spectator's Theatre. She is also one of the authors of the book “Azerbaijani Animation”.

Leila Novruzi – Iran

Leila Novruzi was born in Ardabil, Iran. She is a filmmaker, writer, poet, journalist and an actress. She has been the film director of movies as “I’m Ismet” (documentary), “Dark Road” (feature film). Her articles have been published in the “” and “” websites and in “Mehr” and “Hemsheri” Iranian newspapers. She won several awards at the festivals, Istanbul Silk Way Film Festival (2016), Tabriz Film Festival (2017), Isfahan Short Story Festival (2015), the Poetry Festival of the Persian-speaking world (2014). Currently, she continues her professional career in Turkey. She is one of the authors of the book “The Azerbaijani Animation”.

Aygun Aslanova – Azerbaijan

She got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in film studies from Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts. For almost 15 years, her articles and reviews have been published at the websites “”, “” and “”. Currently, she is working on her PhD thesis “Reflection of the Social Environment in Modern Azerbaijan Cinema”. She owns a film blog called, “Notebook of Three Witches”. She is one of the authors of the book “The Azerbaijani Animation”.

Kamala Rovshan – Azerbaijan

She got her bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Baku State University. Currently, she is a freelancer social media expert. She is a vlogger and she has voiced fairytales for children on her YouTube Channel. In 2018, she voiced fairytales for children with vision impairment, in a social project initiated by Nar Mobile. Currently, she continues her education in PR and Advertisement at the Erciyes University, Turkey.