Priit Pärn (b. 26. VII 1946) is a director of animated films, a cartoonist, graphic artist and children’s author.
Pärn was born in Tallinn, educated in Tapa, and from 1965 to 1970 studied biology at the State University of Tartu. He worked at the Tartu Institute of Zoology and Botany, in the Tallinn Botanical Gardens, and as an artist and producer for Joonisfilm and Eesti Joonisfilm on animation at the Tallinnfilm studios. He has worked as a lecturer in film schools in Finland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and England, and briefly in Australia and Canada. From 1994 to 2007 he was artistic director in the department of animation at the Turku Academy of Art, from 2006 to 2016 as director of the animation department of the Estonian Academy of Arts, and later visiting professor. In 2020 he was elected Professor of Liberal Arts at the University of Tartu. He is a member of the Estonian Artists’ Union (from 1984), the Estonian Cinema Union (from 1979) and the European Film Academy (from 2008); from 1988 to 1993 he was on the board of the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA).
One of the most significant of contemporary animators, his first cartoon appeared in 1964 in Spordileht. Pärn has created animated films for both children and adults, such as Eine murul (‘Lunch on the Lawn’, 1987), 1895 (1995), Elu ilma Gabriella Ferrita (‘Life Without Gabriella Ferri’, 2008, with Olga Pärn). With his idiosyncratic artistic style, Pärn, who deals with various social, historical and cultural issues, has a characteristic multi-layered, occasionally absurd sense of humour. He has been active in graphic art and illustrated books. For children he has written the books Kilplased (‘The Gothamites’, 1976), Kas maakera on ümmargune? (‘Is the World Round?’, 1979), Tagurpidi (‘Backwards’, 1982) and Naljapildiaabits (‘The ABC Book of Cartoons’, 1985), of which Tagurpidi has achieved a certain cult status. The oafish and senseless Gothamites have also appeared in a more recent book, Kilplased globaliseeruvad (‘The Gothamites Go Global’, 2019).
Priit Pärn became a Merited Artist of the ESSR in 1986. Among other awards he has received the Oskar Luts prize for humour (1989), the Estonial National Culture Award (1996, 2015), the Audio-visual Art Endowment annual award on several occasions, the Kristjan Raud art prize, the lifetime achievement award of the ASIFA (2002), the Estonial National Lifetime Achievement Award for Culture (2019) and the Order of the White Star, III class (1999), in addition to numerous awards and prizes for his films.
A. K. (Translated by C. M.)
Books in Estonian
Kilplased globaliseeruvad. Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2019, 61 lk.
Toomas Kall, Priit Pärn, Siin triumfikaare all / Milline kaunis paik: pildiraamat. Tallinn: Kunst, 1977, 48+48 lk. [Tirelraamat.]
Naljapildiaabits. Tallinn: Kunst, 1983, 29 lk.
Kilplased. Tallinn: Kunst, 1977, 52 lk.
Kas maakera on ümmargune?. Tallinn: Perioodika, 1980, 22 lk.
Tagurpidi. Tallinn: Kunst, 1980, 49 lk. [2. trükk: 2005.]