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Move over, SpongeBob

You can show the kids Sunday that animation is more than just SpongeBob and Shrek, with a few cartoon characters born once upon a time behind the Iron Curtain.

A matinee screening at the Aero Theatre showcases work from the Zagreb Film Studios of Croatia. It’s part of a weeklong Croatian film series sponsored by American Cinematheque.

Founded in 1953, Zagreb produced artistic and socially conscious feature films and documentaries as well as some 600 animated films. Zagreb gave animation artists free creative rein, with unconventional character designs and quick-paced plot lines. In 1961, Zagreb was the first non-American studio to win an Oscar for animation, with its film “Ersatz.”

On tap will be 12 shorts that require no subtitles or reading -- but contain plenty of jazzy ‘50s music. Most pieces feature typical cartoon gibberish, except for one English-dubbed episode of the 1960s series “Professor Balthazar,” which features a kind and socially responsible inventor.

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-- Brenda Rees

Aero Theatre, 1328 Montana Ave., Santa Monica. 3 p.m. Sunday. $9; $7, children. (323) 466-3456.


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