Tuesday, 23 October 2007


Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication
Programme: Foundation Degree CVA
Project Title: 2nd induvidual Essay
Date of Issue: 12th of February 2007
Level/Year: Level 1, Year 1, Term 2- 3
Unit Title: Contextual Studies
Unit Code: CVA 105
Project Leader: Freddie Gaffney
Author: Anja Tolar

London, May 2007

The Socialization of the Bull
AKA the socialization of Slovenian Animation

“ This ?! This is the story written by a life, story about ambition, naivety, selfishness, revenge, little lies, milk, soup cubes and after all…love!”

Milan Eric, Zvonko Coh

Short PROFILE of Media Product:

Name: “The Socialization of the Bull"

Type: All evening film

Sort: Animation

Technique: 2D, pencil drawn

Genre: comedy

Year: 1998

Length: 78min

Medium: cinema

Language: Slovenian, English subtitles

Premiers: 20th of May 1999 (Slovenia, Kolosej, Ljubljana ) Ottawa 2000 International animation Festival

Country: Slovenia

Studio: E-motion film

Editors:Čoh, Erič

Script: Čoh,Erič,Štandeker,Vujanović

Voices: Grubar, Niko Goršič, Violeta Tomšič, Aleš Valič, Gojmir Lešnjak, Jurij Souček, Maja Sever, Janez Škof, Brane Završan, Zvonko Coh

In spite of having a highly developed broadcasting system in my home country Slovenia, the national TV, cinemas and Ministry of culture have not paid much attention to animation for a long time. The policy of National TV has been mostly limited to the synchronisation of foreign products. Despite all that a few talented, self- financed individualists have still succeeded in launching their short animation projects, which were shown at animation festivals all over the World. Although different influences could be felt in their work (Walt Disney, Czech and the Zagreb school,..), are all of them mostly self-thought. Thanks to two young enthusiasts among them- Milan Eric and Zvonko Coh, who spent almost 13 years behind their light boxes, creating more than 50,000 hand drawn frames, Slovenia has got its first animated all evening film since it became independent.
During my most recent visit home I noticed some differences: Film Fund funds 2-3 animation projects annually and even TV has realised a few short animated children films. But we still do not have an institution which would provide professional circumstances for the study of film animation.There is no such thing as animation as an independent course, not even the subject. It is optional and integrated into other subjects such as Illustration and Video.The realisation of projects lies upon the shoulders of the initiative of individuals. Some work done is of a high quality, but the effort of it's producers rarely pays off due to a lack of commercial advertising of their own work.The only rare chance to represent their work are in animation festivals.
Slovenian film production has always been relatively modest in its output, but over the last 10 years, an exciting and accomplished group of new producers and directors have emerged. Thanks in part to the creation of the Slovenian Film Fund in 1995; Slovenian cinema has become increasingly popular within its own market, catching the attention of a new domestic audience as well as attracting filmgoers and awards abroad. In 2001, Slovenia celebrated the 10th anniversary of its independence and the Canadian Film Institute, in collaboration with the Embassy of Slovenia, presented the collection of debut films by promising young directors whose films tell fascinating, daring and amusing tales of a society in transition.This was the first time when a bizarre animated tale of hair-loss, evolution and a bull “The Socialization of the Bull” was shown to the international public. (18)

Professor Raisin is a world famous geneticist seeking a formula to stimulate hair-growth and restore his head of hair. With the help of his less well-known brother, Bruno and his attractive assistant Marta, Raisin intends to accelerate evolution starting with a single cell of his hair. Meanwhile, far away, on the edge of the Andromeda constellation, the King Father has been forced to banish his son, the Prince. Having been caught smoking a cigar, an act that could lead to the “anti-evolution” of the King Father’s entire planet, the Prince is transformed into a bull and sent to Earth where he must learn to fend for himself. The prince-bull finds himself in Professor Raisin’s lab, where the tales of evolution and anti-evolution collide and intervene. (15)
When researching the narrative sight of “The Bull” and its influences I noticed a slight similarity with our first all evening STOP MOTION animated film Zvezdica zaspanka (Crt Skodlar 1965) …The motive of sending someone to the new world, full of different traps, where this protagonist has to prove and not only change itself but also the world around. I can see a great similarity with the hidden idea of Slovenianship- the desire after independency, which was in post-war Yugoslavia just an unimaginable dream, but in the 90s when we The Bull was made- already a goal in the pocket. So The Bull in this context could also be seen as a symbol for Slovenia itself. A little country, for centuries dependent on others, suddenly gets independence and is sent on a try out into a Big World of western policy. From this point of view I could assume that the motif of an unsocializated bull could mean a slight PARODY on our political circumstances.


Talking about the genre in animation, not only that animation itself could be considerd as a genre on its own, but there exists a few different theories about how we can divide it into different groups. Some theorists in our media field make a distinction between commercial-industrial and artistic experimental animation. The first one is done with a stong emphasis on popularity and a wide distribution of a mass production and in most cases loses quality. It builds on a simple understandable narration and popularity of its characters.
»With the intention of distribution of an animated series a cheap technique of imitated animation (also: reduced animation) developed…, where the mass production of its same like pale heroes got its own place.« (Rakezić, 1998)
Meanwhile more complex, artistic experimental animation stays in the domain of closed circles and there are rare opportunities to see it on a big screen .For this reason few animation festivals were formed on our ground (Biennale of Slovenian Animation in Isola, Animateka in Ljubljana and Film festival in Portorose).
When working with different animation mediums myself, I noticed that even technique (whether it is 3D CG, 2D drawn or CG or stop motion) affects the narration in some ways and so we could talk about different genres according to the technique used. 2D drawn animation is much more adjustable and allows us some extreme exaggeration and playing with different colour, shapes, which subconsciously plays on our emotions, which could never be reached in the same way in computer generated space. This makes gap between reality and imagination bigger , while 3 dimensional animation with its access into the third spatial dimension and its tensions towards the realistic imaginery leaves less and less space for imagination. The viewer implies his spatial sense into the visual space and quickly becomes an actor himself. (Kren,1998)
Beside all that the usage of analogue or digital media itself also causes a difference in perception. The impression of 24 image analytic sequence of the film tape is very different than 25 (PAL Standards) or even 30 (USA NTSC standards) layered (synthetic) video image. Today the cathode ray tube is slowly getting replaced by LCD and plasma screens which also affects the visual field and so it is in the perception of animation. (Zelena, 2006)
The Socialization of the Bull was a very daring and highly risky attempt to regain the popularity of classical traditional animation as it once had been. But did the work pay off?
“Film with a very complicated structure, not at all characheristic for a drawn animation, … , evoked broad professional interest. Considering subtle pencil variations of a grey scale and few colourful details accents is the author’s handwriting very organic and influential.” (Strnad, 2000)

Searching for information about an audience’s opinion I encountered this interesting recension of one of our important film critics: “There is no manipulation, lies or other concerns of contemporary Hollywood animation production and luckily also no “Slovenian film complex”, it is simply an interesting, intelligent product that has no intention of digging after any deeper global truths (which might be the viewer’s first impression)…But it could also be its failure. The film’s intention to entertain the viewer does not succeed as it’s simply not humourous enough. But the most painful loss of the product is definitely in its script, which fundamentally decreases the worth of ten years efforts of its creators. The film is worthy of your attention, but do not expect to get much more out of it.”
This hand-drawn adult comedy caused an absolute boom in cinemas all over the country when it was first represented to the home public, sadly left small impact on future animation production and international audiences due to a lack of further advertising, the undeveloped art market in Slovenia and an uneducated public for this kind of an artistic expression.
Easier accesibility and availability of digital media today raised the interest and production of individual animated shorts, but for anything bigger than that the obedience of national and other institutions is needed, which at this point still isn not favourable disposed enough to this kind of artistic attempts. My opinion is that a higher level of visual public education could also contribute to better production of animation, this is why I think it is crucial to intigrate animated film into the youth's educational system. So once they become adults they are able to criticaly evaluate and distinguish this kind of product of art, not only as marked »for children«.

Postmodernism is also a time when marginal arts got a different, more valuable place. Maybe the future will support the emergence of new creations of a few brave individuals who still fight for its existence.
Although some might be concerned about the future of classical animation in the times of blossoming computer generated production, the first one still has its own fans and kept its popularity among viewers, which could be seen on the rich visit of home and international festivals.There are still some small production companies, who are opened for fresh and innovative experimental approaches and praised although they haven not jumped on a commercially popular animation band wagon.


01. The Catalogue of 2nd Slovenian Animation Festival. (2000). Information taken on 25.5.2007, from http://www.cksp-izola.si/festival/2festival.htm.
02. The Catalogue of 3rd Slovenian Animation Festival. (2003). Information taken on 25.5.2007. from
03. Borčič, M., Umetnostna vzgoja, Osnove filmske umetnosti; priročnik za učitelje. (Fine Art. The Essences of Film Art; The Manual for Lecturers), Ljubljana1981, Mladinska knjiga.
04. Erzetič, B. 3D in navidezna resničnost.( Seeming Reality), Klik, The magazine for Creative Computer Sciences (75), Ljubljana 2005,p. 22-24.
05. Film Fund of Republic of Slovenia, The Socialization of the Bull? Information taken on 25.5.2007. from
06. Film Fund. Kastelic, D., The 6th Festival of Slovenian Film. (2003)., Information taken on 25.5.2007. from
07. Kren, S., Teorija animiranega znaka.(The Theory of Animated Sign, The Bachelor Degree) Diplomsko delo, Maribor1998, University of Maribor, The Faculty of Pedagogy.
08. Misak, Kako nastaja animirani film?(The Creation of Animated Film), 2004. Information taken on 25.5.2007. from
09. Nemanič I. Filmsko gradivo Slovenskega filmskega arhiva pri Arhivu Republike Slovenije, Dokumentarni, igrani in animirani film.(Film Material from Slovenian Film Archives, Documentary, feature and animated Film), Ljubljana 1998Archive of Republic of Slovenia.
10. Animateka. Radešček, B. (2004). Slovenski klasični animirani film. information taken on 25.5.2007. from
11. Animateka. (2004). Radešček, B. (2004). Slovenski klasični animirani film. Information taken on 25.5.2007. from
12. Rakezić, S. Strip in animirani film – zgodovina neke povezave. V I. Prassel, Strip, animacija, film: součinkovanje v umetnosti. (Strip and Animated Film) Ljubljana1998, Slovenska kinoteka.
13.SloCartoon. The page of Cartoon Fans, information taken on 25.5.2007. from
14. Strnad, I. (2000). Slovenski animirani film.(Slovenian Animated Film. Archives,), XXIII (2), p.107-116
15. The contents of the Solcialization of the Bull, Infromation taken on 25.5.2007, from
16. The description of the film, Information taken on 25.5.2007, from
17. The description of the film, Information taken on 25.5.2007, from
18.Ottawa International Animation Festival, Information taken on 25.5.2007, from
19. Zelena, G., Izsek iz filmske animacije, seminarska naloga 2006.( A Cut from Film Animation, Essay 2006.), Information taken on 25.5.2007, from
15. The Interview with Milan Eric, my Lecturer on Academy of Fine Arts and Design of Ljubljana and the creator of The Socialization of the Bull, Ljubljana, London 2007, contact no. 00386 31 210 284.
NOTE: Due to the limited availability of Slovenian literature within the UK it has been necessary to source the bulk of my essay from the internet.

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