A sad day for the industry as the legendary Zoran Janjic, one of Australia’s top animators and much loved character in the business passed away earlier this week at the age of 74.
Zoran Janjic was the boss of Hanna Barbera in Australia in the 70s and started his own company, Zap Productions in the 80s and 90s, which was a major force in the Australian commercials production industry during that period.
Zap created traditional animation as well as being a pioneer in stop-motion animation and computer animation with ads like this 30-second Australia Post animated television commercial:
Throughout the sixties, Janjic was an animation director at API, A major animation studio in Australia producing series work for the Australian Broadcasting Commission and American networks. In 1962 episodes of “Challenge of Flight” and “Challenge of the Sea” were sold to Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Britain, The Middle East, and Italy. The studio’s most successful series and somewhat of a cornerstone was “King Arthur and the Square Knights of the Round Table” – syndicated in the U.S. by Twentieth Century Fox and sold to 14 countries. The series was directed by Zoran Janjic who had arrived in Australia in 1960 after working in animation at the Zagreb studios.
The strong ties to the American producers continued over the next few years with series work for the children’s toy manufacturer General Mills, realising what was to become known as the “Family Classics” such as “Treasure Island,” “The Legends of Robin Hood,” “Tales of Washington Irving,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “Ivanhoe,” and “Journey to the Centre of the Earth.”