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Libuše Čihařová Through the Eyes of Her Students
Libuše Čihařová, this year’s winner of Anifilm’s Lifetime Achievement Award, trained a number of promising filmmakers during her years at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU). We asked several of her graduates what she was like as a teacher and how she influenced their work. Many of the students whose films Mrs. Čihařová supervised at FAMU later became successful authors – for example, Kateřina Karhánková whose film Fruits of Clouds won a Special Mention a last year’s Anifilm.
While I was still studying at my secondary school in Brno, a lot of people tried to talk me out of applying to FAMU. But when I found out that one of the teachers was the woman who animated or directed fairy tales such as Nils and the Wild Geese, Maxipes Fík, or Krtek, I knew I had to get there and learn from her. These were my favourite childhood fairy tales, and I loved them very much.
By some miracle, I got accepted and had the honour of getting to know Mrs. Čihařová.
Libuše Čihařová is not just a legend of animation but also a wonderful person. I’m eternally grateful for everything she taught me, and I’m very glad I had the privilege of getting to know her.
Martina Mrázová (Vybíralová)
Thanks to her positive attitude and immense support, I was able to graduate from FAMU even with two kids. She taught me patience and perseverance.
Mrs. Čihařová emanated elegance. When she entered the lecture room, girls would start tidying their hair still ruffled from bed, and boys would stop swearing and being coarse. That made it all the more endearing when I learnt that Mrs. Čihařová loves dark comedy, if it’s any good. I liked her conspiratorial smile when she was joking or cheering up students who were feeling low. She was one of those teachers who don’t see teaching merely as a way of making some extra money but make all the effort to understand their students’ ideas, no matter how stupid they might be sometimes, so that they won’t crush their creative ambitions. And for that I’m very grateful to her.
I often think back on the conversations we used to have with Mrs. Čihařová at FAMU. I would like to thank her for always being open to all the new ideas I came to discuss with her. She was often even thrilled by them, which meant very much to me. I would also like to thank her for all the years we spent together and congratulate her on receiving the very much deserved Lifetime Achievement Award!
Libuše Čihařová is an inspiration to me both in my professional and personal life. She supervised most of the films I made during my studies at FAMU. She was always very understanding and gave me a lot of support, which helped me find the right way, even when I got lost while working on my projects. I’d like to thank her for that very much. She shared with me her experience with working in a team and with animating for children, which definitely enriched me and I think also influenced my current work. I’m very thankful to fate for allowing me to know her.
I studied under Mrs. Libuše Čihařová at FAMU. She was very nice and king from the moment we first met. She shared her rich work and life experience with us students both enthusiastically and casually, and she always tried to support everyone in developing their creative ideas. I often consulted my work with her during my studies and, in fact, I still do when I visit her with my son František in her little flat in Žižkov. To me, her friendship is a precious gift, and I treasure it dearly.
I’m really proud that Libuška Čihařová taught me how to animate and that I could make several films under her supervision. She was always very supportive and passionate about animated film. I’ve never seen her impose her own view on any topic or rendition on anyone. She never looked down on any of her students and perceived them as artists and authors and as her equals. Libuška is one of the teachers who are able to become friends with their students. She first offered me to set aside formalities and call her first name in my second year. Wide-eyed and embarrassed, I politely refused. She was 74. By the way, just to give you an idea what a vivacious and remarkable lady she is, three years ago, she travelled around Brazil, and last year, she took a trip to Canada. How many people like that do you know? I will never stop admiring her for her experience, kindness, erudition, and vitality.