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The award comes as the Royal College of Art Animation programme prepares to celebrate 30 years. Head of Programme Joan Ashworth is in Zagreb for the festival this week to receive the award, and to sit on the Animafest grand jury. As part of the festival programme and to mark the award, the Royal College of Art will present a special retrospective programme of 29 films made by Animation alumni as far back as 1987. 

The 'historic trawl' through the RCA Animation archives will include Strangers in Paradise (1987) by Andy Staveley, Moebius Strip (1992) by Joe King, Surge (1997) by Jan Otto Ertesvåg, Dog (2001) by Suzie Templeton, Post Mark Lick (2002) by Sonia Bridge, Velocity (2012) by Karolina Glusiec and The Age of Curious (2013) by Luca Toth.

Head of Animation, Joan Ashworth said: ‘As a festival, Zagreb tends to have more of a focus on artistic integrity, and is less commercial. I think we have been named Best School because the course has really matured. We’ve found a way of getting the best out of our students, and unfolding what’s inside. And, last year was a particularly strong year.'

The World Festival of Animated Film in Zagreb is one of Europe's most established animation festivals, with a focus on ‘auteur’ film. This year's festival takes the theme of 'Puppet Film Masters', prompted by an Animafest survey of the leading puppet filmmakers globally.  

Ashworth is among 150 renowned international guests convened for this year's festival, including animatronics and special effects expert Adam Wright, filmmaker Ivana Bošnjak, editor at Arte Creative Mari-Hélène Girod and Chinese multimedia artist Lei Lei.

For the first time the festival will run throughout Croatia, with 19 chosen animated films screened across independent theatres in Čakovec, Daruvar, Gospić, Koprivnica, Korčula, Novska, Pazin, Poreč, Pula, Rovinj, Samobor, Sisak, Split, Velika Gorica, Osijek and Zabok. 

The Animafest Zagreb 2014 runs from 3–8 June 2014.