The World Animation Festival is an annual and itinerant initiative by Casa da Animação, with a week of activities that marks and is associated with the international celebration of World Animation Day, on October 28th. This year, for the first time, the World Animation Festival of Animation will be divided between Castelo Branco and Vila Velha de Ródão, with the production company Oeste Filmes as its anchor, located in Gavião de Ródão, in that district, and where it is developing a hub dedicated to animation cinema. “We always have a concern giant with decentralization, doing it in places that are not the most obvious. […] It makes sense to us that it is always in a city in the interior of the country so that new audiences are created, new habits of watching animated films and we believe that it is in these locations that what we do makes the most difference”, explained Regina Machado, in the week last.The program of activities, between today and Sunday, includes several film sessions, workshops for seniors and schools, exhibitions, ‘masterclasses’ with several guests, including Canadian theorist and director Pierre Hébert and director Will Anderson, which will present the feature film “A cat called dom”. Also highlighted is a retrospective of the cinema of Jean-Charles Mbotti Malolo, a magic lantern show by director Abi Feijó, set to live music by violinist Samuel Martins Coelho, and the attribution of the National Animation Award. The World Animation Festival has already taken place, for example, in Portalegre, Caldas da Rainha and Montemor-o-Novo, but Casa da Animação plans to continue for a while in Castelo Branco and Vila Velha de Ródão, to “give stability to the event, grow more, get more sponsors, projection and audience”, explained Regina Machado. Looking back at what 2023 was like for Portuguese animation cinema, the director of Casa da Animação recalled the unprecedented nomination of “Ice Merchants ”, by João Gonzalez, for the Oscars, the sum of international awards, the unprecedented premiere of nationally produced feature films and the celebrations of the centenary of the first Portuguese animated film. “We are in our best year, from now it will continue; and gaining respect from the public was very important and that the public realizes that animated cinema is not just for children and that it takes us out there in a way that almost no other format takes us. Having the public on our side and focusing attention on animated cinema was our biggest victory”, he said. The entire program for the World Animation Festival, including complementary activities in ten cities across the country, is at fma2023.casadaanimacao.pt.