Can words describe KROK? One should come to the ship at least once in his life and plunge into all of its activities, so many and so diverse: competition and information screenings, workshops, carnivals, "re-animation"evenings and all night parties out on the upper deck. KROK is style, modus vivendi, a way of thinking, - therefore, words are no use to describe it.
However, animators do perfectly well without words. One evening KROK participants were competing in telling funny stories. Most of the story-tellers were speaking Russian. A lady from France took the microphone and performed a story, making use only of her own fingers. Her performance was followed by a roar of laughter and, needless to say, it was her who finally took the prize.
This lady, Catherine Perilhou-Lapras, who is affectionately nicknamed Baba Katya, is a famous animation director and teacher; she runs an animation college in Paris. In spite of her years, she remains the most active "krocker" of all times. She was the first who started to play tricks at the first floating KROK, in the times when foreigners here were still a rare phenomena and people were only just beginning to get acquainted with each other. Once at some KROK party she came up to Eduard Nazarov and suddenly kissed his cheek. His reply was instantaneous: he smeared the tip of her nose with whipped cream. Everybody was shocked and eager to know what will happen next. The lady grabbed a piece of cake and put it into her pocket. That was the start of madness at the KROK International Animated Film Festival.
There is nothing forbidden at KROK. Nothing but quarrels and intrigues. These, however, have never come about. The ship is the place where everybody feels at home. Yuri Norshtein, for instance, usually wanders around the ship barefoot, which is something he only feels able to do when in his own studio. Still, at KROK, he was barefoot even when guiding a workshop. He sat in front of his youthful audience in a simple loose shirt talking of metaphysics, just like Lev Tolstoy perhaps.
Another shock to the local public was provided by the Frenchman named Yves Rifault. He is a corpulent elderly guy with a moustache, whose own house is a unique collection of wonders, including the pre-Lumiere projector, antique dolls and some Russian table games. He wears only shorts, smokes a pipe and uses a queer pince-nez. The scene was set at the outskirts of Zaporizhiye in a big muddy puddle overgrown with thick sedge with a massive stone in the middle. The big French guy was sitting there with a long fishing-rod patiently awaiting for a fish to bite. A crowd of local people who tried their best to make any sense of his French muttering watched the performance.
David Cherkassky, nicknamed Dodik, is a unique personality. It should be mentioned here that KROK is headed by two Presidents: Eduard Nazarov representing Russia and David Cherkassky representing Ukraine. Both of them are indisputable authorities. The former is famous for his "Once There Lived a Dog", "The Journey of an Ant", "Martynko". The latter created the famous series "Captain Vroungel's Adventures", "The Treasure Island", "Doctor Aybolit". Back in 1995, when Cherkassky was unable to take part in the festival, Kiev animation students made a huge papier-mache mask of his face and wore it on the ship, so after all the President was still present there.
Only KROKers could conceive such an incredible event as the Pressmen's 100 meters Swimming Race in the stormy sea. Well, nobody has anything against the press there, but nobody could ever guess that the storm would start just before the event. Complaining is against KROK policies, so when three big waves covered the head of the KROK press secretary, the latter only remarked: "This is, perhaps, too much" and plunged right into the rough sea. Needless to say, he was rescued and got a special prize "For Survival".
KROK forgives all the human whimsies that can be quite irritating in usual life. The captain of one of the ships enjoyed singing. He always seized the microphone at the KROK evening parties and sang in the shrillest of voices. The animators always applauded patiently but were eager to hear him stop. Still, at the good-bye party the captain reached the peak of his talent. His song was profound and touching. He sang and sang, so that everybody was moved to tears and started singing together with him sharing a moment of absolute happiness. When the euphoria was over, it turned out that the ship had already moored at its last port and the time had come to vacate the cabins.