Ersatz is Dušan Vukotić’s animated film from 1961. In 1962 it won the Academy Award for best animated film and was the first animated film from outside of the United States of America to do so. Ersatz won numerous major awards at festivals in Belgrade, Bergamo, Cork, San Francisco, Oberhausen and others, gaining truly important international acknowledgements. This explains why it is also known by titles in various languages such as The Substitute, Cypporar, Der Ersatz, Le Succēdanē, Surrogatto and others. Ersatz is the most awarded film ever produced in Croatia. This ten-minute cartoon for adults made by director and animator Dušan Vukotić and screenwriter Rudolf Sremec was produced at the modest premises of Zagreb Film on Vlaška street in Zagreb. It is a simple story about an unusual triangular fatty who comes to the beach and inflates everything he needs. He even inflates his own female partner, but in the end everything disappears as easily as it appeared, as it all deflates. The Substitute or Ersatz was created at the beginning of the 1960s when quick replacements for desired objects began to appear. It is as if the film predicted the time during which the boundary between reality and virtual replacements for reality disappeared. The film was animated in a modern way, with a smaller number of frames per second, while the characters were geometrical and reduced to Cézanne’s formula for viewing the world (“deal with nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere and the cone”). In Vukotić’s case, it was a two-dimensional world of circles, triangles and squares. In this way, the animation of Ersatz was very far from that of the hitherto dominant Disney; it was something completely new. The film’s music was also very modern: nervous jazz by Zagreb composer and conductor Tomislav Simović. Ersatz is in many ways a remarkable film in the tradition of the Zagreb School of Animated Film. With its animation and ironic view of the world it made a great impact on numerous film-makers and students of animated film.

Production team


Director: Dušan Vukotić
Writer: Rudolf Sremec
Director’s assistant: Zdravko Pavičić
Chief animator: Dušan Vukotić
Animators: Leo Fabiani, Rudolf Mudrovčić
Background artist: Zvonko Lončarić
Music: Tomislav Simović
Editing: Tea Brunšmid
Sound recordist: Mladen Prebil
Camera: Zlatko Sačer


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