Nedeljko Dragić was born in Paklenica, near Novska, in 1936. He has been drawing since his days in school; he is fascinated with caricature and soon finds his own drawing ideas that will come to life in numerous newspapers and journals. He came to Zagreb to study law but his interest in drawing, comics and animation was stronger.
In the early 60s he began working in Zagreb film, first as an assistant animator and copyist to then have his own cartoon Elegija in 1965. Immediately seen as an excellent author, Dragić continues a series of animated films rich with drawings and lucid quirks in animation developing his personal style but remaining faithful to well-known characteristics of the Zagreb School of Animated Film. As one of the leaders of its second generation, Dragić made several films which were awarded at numerous festivals: Krotitelj divljih životinja (1966) won the Grand Prix at Annecy, Možda Diogen (1967) won the Golden Medal at the Belgrade festival, Idu dani (1970) won the Grand Prix at the Belgrade festival and an award in Oberhausen, Dnevnik (his most successful film according to some experts) won the Grand Prix at the festival in Zagreb and Tup-Tup (1972) won three awards in Oberhausen and was nominated for an Oscar. Although his later films did not resound as much, they are of unquestionable quality and remain faithful to the director’s signature: using the line as the basic artistic element, simple painting of back plans, frequent reference to famous painting templates, rich visual and thoughtful association that unpredictably connect to one another in a rapid pace. With such visual originality, the value of Dragić’s films can also be found in his ability to evoke the interests of the modern man using this media: his desire to find his way in the unfathomable and often hostile world, to adapt to its political rules and to preserve his individuality and sensitivity while doing so.
Apart from animated films, Nedeljko Dragić is also a prolific illustrator and comic master (he is the father of the legendary comic hero Tupko), and his Zagi is the legendary mascot of Zagreb Universiade in 1987. In 2002, Nedeljko Dragić won the “Vjesnik” award Krešo Golik for his contribution to film art and in 2013 the award Andrija Maurović for contribution to the art of Croatian comics. Now living in Munich, Dragić still draws and has published the bok Avantura linije (Adventures of the line): 690 drawings under bonnet published by Croatian Film Association which is preparing Dragić’s lavishing monography (by Midhat Ajanović). This year, Nedeljko Dragić is a guest of the Avvantura Film Forum Festival where he will also have a workshop for animated films.