Helena Bulaja

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Helena Bulaja
HelenaBulaja.jpg
Helena Bulaja in her film "Mechanical Figures" (2006)
Born Helena Madunić
(1971-12-06) 6 December 1971 (age 42)
Split, Croatia
Occupation Director, multimedia artist, animator, designer, producer, screenwriter
Years active 1995–present

Helena Bulaja (pronounced [buˈlaja]; born 6 December 1971) is a Croatian multimedia artist, film director, scriptwriter, designer and film producer.

Career[edit]

Helena Bulaja was born in Split, Croatia. She was educated in art history and comparative literature at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb.

She is active in digital art, design, art and film since 1994. In the early days of her career she worked as art director, designer and illustrator in several Croatian computer magazines (Computerworld Croatia, Net, Vidi), and in 1995 she started her digital artist career. In 1990s her interactive art projects, mostly occupied with metaphors, tele-presence and relation of the real world and cyber-space, were featured in magazines such as Hotwired, and presented at Ars Electronica arts and technology festival's Net Art selection in Linz, Austria in 1997.[1]

The cartoon Regoch (2006) by Helena Bulaja, from Croatian Tales of Long Ago.

In 2000 Helena Bulaja started one of the most successful Croatian multimedia projects, animated and interactive adaptation of fairytales from the book Priče iz davnine (Croatian Tales of Long Ago) written by Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, famous Croatian writer for children ("the Slavic Tolkien"), and based on the Slavic mythology. It was praised by the Croatian and international media as "the most important Croatian cultural project for the 21st century".[2] The project was critically acclaimed, presented at more than 30 international conferences and festivals dedicated to the interactive media, animation and film, and won several awards, including FlashForward Festival 2002 in San Francisco (category story), best multimedia award at Lucca Comics and Games in 2004, at International Family Film Festival in 2007 in Hollywood,[3] and Zagreb City Award. The interactive animated project Croatian Tales of Long Ago was a new step in exploring the relation of the digital media and classical literature. Also, it was unique in the way it was created: by eight independent teams authors from all around the world (Australia, Germany, France, USA, Canada, England, Scotland...), whose work was coordinated on the Internet. Some of the animators, directors, musicians and other authors that contributed to the project are Nathan Jurevicius, Christian Biegai, Alistair Keddie, Laurence Arcadias, Ellen McAuslan, Mirek and Paulina Nisenbaum, Sabina Hahn, Edgar Beals, Katrin Rothe, Brenda Hutchinson, Leon Lučev, Sabina Hahn, Erik Adigard and many others. Each of eight teams transferred one of the eight fairy tales from the original Brlić's book to the digital media, with the complete artistic and creative freedom. Helena Bulaja was the originator, editor-in-chief, manager, director and designer of the project, and she also directed and authored the animated film Regoch.[4]

Experimental interactive animated documentary Mechanical Figures, inspired by Nikola Tesla (2006-2009)

With an international team of authors, since 2006 Helena Bulaja is developing her new project, experimental interactive documentary Mechanical Figures, inspired by the world famous Serbian-American scientist and inventor Nikola Tesla. The film will be released in different media: as a linear theatric and TV documentary, a series of short films, as well as an interactive film for the Web and mobile devices such as iPhone and iPad. In the film, stories and thoughts about Tesla and creativity are told by some of the most intriguing and inspiring artists, thinkers, writers and scientists, like the film director Terry Gilliam, musician and artist Laurie Anderson, performance artist Marina Abramović, writer Christopher Priest, new media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, actor Andy Serkis, scientist and president of Kyoto University Hiroshi Matsumoto and others. The project is also questioning film as an art form in the time of technological development and the new media, and it leads the viewer through the process of creation, following the Tesla's legacy around the world from Zagreb, through London, Paris, Budapest, New York, to Tokyo and New Zealand, capturing the present, past and the future of technological and social development initiated by some of Tesla's inventions. The project won MEDIA support for development, as first Croatian documentary film project.[citation needed]

Recently Helena Bulaja started the development of a new animated project for TV and interactive media, The Cat Time Stories, that also won MEDIA development support as first Croatian animation project, based on short stories about cats and people written by Croatian writer Nada Horvat. The project was selected and presented at Cartoon Forum in September 2010 in Sopron, Hungary.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Helena Bulaja was born and raised in Split, Croatia. She lives in Zagreb, Croatia.

Works[edit]

Animated Films[edit]

Documentary films[edit]

Multimedia[edit]

Awards, nominations and honours[edit]

  • Croatian Tales of Long Ago
    • FlashForward Festival 2002 San Francisco, award in category story
    • Net Festival 2002, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil award in category story
    • Golden Award of Montreux 2003, Switzerland (CD-ROM "Croatian Tales, Part One")
    • Lucca Comics and Games 2004, Lucca, Italy (the best multimedia work)
    • International Family Film Festival 2007, Hollywood, USA (best foreign short animation for "Regoch")
    • Kiklop Award, Pula Book Fair 2008, in two categories: best design and best children's book (for deluxe book edition of "Stribor's Forest")
    • Zagreb City Award 2003
    • Festival international du film d'animation 2002, Annecy, France ("Quest" by Nathan Jurevicius and "Stribor's Forest" by Alistair Keddie were in competition for the best short film for the Internet)
    • Ottawa International Animation Festival 2002, Canada (interactive cartoon "How Quest Sought the Truth" by Nathan Jurevicius was a finalist in the Internet Film competition)
    • Ars Electronica 2002, Linz, Austria (the project "Croatian Tales" was in Net Projects competition)
    • FilmFest Hamburg 2002, Germany (Flash Award competition finalists in two categories: "Yagor" by Mirek Nisenbaum in the category "linear", and "Jaglenac & Rutvica" by Ellen McAuslan in the category "interactive")
    • FlashintheCan 2002, Toronto, Canada ("How Quest Sought the Truth" was a finalist in the category "Cartoon")
    • FlashintheCan festival 2003, Toronto, Canada (the project was a finalist in the category "Story")
    • SXSW Interactive 2003, Austin, Texas (the project was nominated for the best Web site in category "animation")
    • Festival Videoformes 2003, Clermont-Ferrand, France (the Web pages of the project were a finalist of the New Media competition)
    • Festival SICAF 2003, Seoul, Korea (the animated films "Stribor's Forest" and "How Quest Sought the Truth" were finalists of the Internet film competition)
    • Future Film Festival 2004, Bologna, Italy (the interactive animated film "How Quest Sought the Truth" was in competition of "Future Web Festival" - films for the Internet)
    • Anti Film Fest 2004, Prague, Czech Republic (the cartoon "Fisherman Plunk and His Wife" by Laurence Arcadias was in the competition of the festival)
    • Imagimer 2005, Saint-Cast-le-Guildo, Brittany, France (the cartoon "Fisherman Plunk" by Laurence Arcadias was selected for the festival competition)
    • Euroshorts 2006, Warsaw, Poland (the cartoon "Regoch" by Helena Bulaja was in festival competition, experimental category)
    • Reel Women Int. Film Festival 2007, Los Angeles, USA (the cartoon "Regoch" by Helena Bulaja in festival competition, shorts category)
    • International Aarhus Festival of Independent Arts 2007, Aarhus, Denmark (the cartoon "Regoch" by Helena Bulaja in program "d'Arte")
    • Imagining Ourselves Online Film Festival, San Francisco, USA ("Regoch" voted second by the audience)
    • 11th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film 2002 (project special presentation)
    • International Festival of Animated Film Kraków 2002, Poland (project presentation & screening)
    • 15th Animafest 2002, Zagreb (project special presentation)
    • "Dust or Magic" Conference 2003, Bologna book fair, Italy (project presentation)
    • Festival EDIT-VES 2003, "The European Festival of Visual Effects", Frankfurt, Germany (project presentation as a part of the program "The Art of Storytelling in the Digital Age")
    • "Dust or Magic" Conference 2004, Oxford, UK (project presentation)
    • Festival CartoonClub 2004, Rimini, Italy (project presentation and screening)
    • Festival Fiabesque 2005/2006, Peccioli, Italy (project presentation and screening)
    • Interfilm 2007, Berlin ("Regoch" was screened in a special program)
    • Magma Short Film Festival 2007, Rotorua, New Zealand (screening of "Stribor's Forest", "Quest" and "Regoch")
    • Once Upon an Island storytelling festival, Waiheke Island, New Zealand (special screening)
    • 5th "Fete de l'animation" festival 2009, Lille, France (special project presentation)
  • Mechanical Figures
    • 2 Staff's picks at Vimeo.com
    • Video pick of the week at Imagine Science Film Festival, New York (short film "Bug's Assembly")
    • featured at Streaming Festival, The Hague, Netherlands
    • screening at Comicon festival, Naples, Italy
    • featured in the book "Secrets of Digital Animation" by Steven Withrow
    • pitched and presented at several pitching forums ("Dragon Forum", Poland; "Asian Side of the Docs", Hong Kong, "Ex Oriente", Czech Republic; "The Pixel Lab", UK)

References[edit]

External links[edit]