Marcell Jankovics

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Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts 2009
Area of Work: Art – Philosophy
Date: 25 November 2009
Place of Ceremony: Academic Hall
Host Institution: University of Liège
Host Country: Liége, Belgium

Marcell Jankovics has written, designed and directed several hundred animated short films: singles and series. The first full-length animated film produced in Hungary – Johnny Corncob (János vitéz) – is associated with his name. He was the leading director of the series Gustavus, Hungarian Folktales and Legends from the Hungarian History. Besides directing, he was the writer, storyboard and graphic designer, and part animator of his three full-length animated films: Johnny Corncob, Son of the White Mare, and Song of the Miraculous Hind, as well as of his independent short films. Since 1989 he has been working on the animated adaptation of the drama The Tragedy of Man of the greatest Hungarian dramatist, Imre Madách (the play written in the 19th century was translated into 90 languages and was put on stage around the world at the major theatres of the time). The production will be finished at the end of this year (2009).

He is also involved as animator, animation director, graphic designer, scriptwriter, storyboard designer or simply as an adviser in the films of others. In 1997, as a graphic designer, he worked in the pre-production creative team of the feature-length Disney production entitled The Emperor’s New Groove at Burbank Studio, Los Angeles, USA.

As a young man, Marcell drew comic strips that were always inspired by the work of such notable authors as Oscar Wilde, Ray Bradbury or Stanislaw Lem. He has designed posters, emblems and symbols, and illustrated books, even of the ones he wrote himself. Exhibitions of his art work are held in many towns of Hungary.

Following on from his childhood interest and his productions of tales and legends, in the 1970s he began to write articles, studies and books in the field of cultural history. Some of his main themes are symbolism, fairy tales, comparative mythology, archeo- and ethnoastronomy, religious and popular beliefs, sacred art and recently cultural policy and strategy.

Jankovics has published fifteen books and over a hundred articles to date. The digital Hungarian edition of five of five books (The Mythology of the Tree, Book of the Sun, Where Doesn’t the Bird fly yet, Symbol-Calendar, Deep is the Well of the Past) is available on the Internet (www.neumann-haz.hu). One book and four studies of his have also been translated into other languages (English and Italian).

Marcell is a renowned authority. He speaks at conferences and in cultural societies, gives lectures at universities, academies and schools, takes part in national programme-planning, and addresses audiences on festive occasions.

Brief Biography

Marcell Jankovics was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1941. In 1960, one year after leaving high school, he joined the Pannonia Film studio, where he began as an apprentice, but was soon appointed to assistant animator and then to animator. Since 1963 he has made animated films independently. In 1964 he was chosen to be a member of the directing triumvirate of the worldwide popular animated series Gustavus. Since 1965 he has worked as a film director. In 1995 he became Art Director of Pannonia Film studio, and was then its Managing Director from 1996–2007.

Since 1988 he has regularly made television programmes and given talks on the radio on film-related subjects. He is the co-founder the DUNA TV (1992), a Hungarian-speaking channel with English subtitles covering half of the world. He was the co-author of the New Hungarian Encyclopaedia (1993–1997), and participated in the Hungarian pavilion of the EXPO 2000 in Hannover. From 1998–2000 he was the President of the National Cultural Fund of Hungary. He is a member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts, the President of the Hungarian Cultural Society (since 1998) and president of the St Stephen Foundation (since 2006).