The Lisboa Animated Film Festival 2016, known as MONSTRA, starts on Thursday, March 3, offering a selection of more than 600 films until March 13.

This year’s edition highlights Eastern Europe, as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia appear as guest countries. “Art continues to be the strong connecting link between humans, apart from their differing ideas,” says Fernando Galrito, MONSTRA’s artistic director, in a statement published in the festival’s website.

The festival will take place in cinemas, schools and universities. “We will take MONSTRA and MONSTRINHA [the segment of the festival dedicated to children and youths] to ten cities in Portugal, and to more than two dozens [of other cities] in the five continents,” says M Galrito.

This year, a total of 238 films compete in the festival, which offers several competing categories.

Besides the screening of animated films, the festival also includes “[seven] exhibitions… 20 workshops, master classes by some of the great animation masters from around the world, music and interactivity”, ads the artistic director.