The World Animation Film Festival – Animafest Zagreb 2022celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Croatian Celebration, came to a close on Saturday night with the awards ceremony at SC Cinema.
The Great Competition – Short Films jury, composed of Paul Driessen, Les Mills, Alex Dudok de Wit, Ana Nedeljković and Igor Grubić, has decided to award the grand prize to portuguese film Garbage collector (O homem do lixo), directed by Laura Gonçalves, produced by Bando à Parte and BAP.
The jury statement reads: “A lot of things impressed us in this film. The naturalism of dialogue. The warmth and intimacy of the family setting. But above all, the tenderness with which he tells his story of generosity in the midst of political and economic difficulties in Portugal. And also, the monkey.
For the fifth time in Animafest’s half-century history, the Grand Prize winner also won the Audience Award Mister M for short film.
The same jury gave the Golden Zagreb Award for creativity and artistic innovation Achievement to the Chilean director Hugo Covarrubias for his film, Bestie (produced by Trebol 3 Producciones and Maleza Estudio).
“Many of the films at the festival tackled the subject of political violence. But nowhere was the coldness of state brutality expressed more memorably than in the hard, still face of the puppet in this film, whose story evokes the horror of Chile’s fascist dictatorship,” said wrote the jury.
The Zlatko Grgić Award for the best first film made outside of an educational institution went to the Franco-Israeli film Letter to a Pig by Tal Kantor (produced by Miyu Productions and The Hive Studio).
“We counted a lot of pigs among the movies this year. A pig can be repulsive and gentle, brutal and intelligent, and this film places this complex animal at the heart of a richly ambiguous and elegantly crafted story with an unusual perspective on the Holocaust,” the jury noted.
The members of the jury also received special mentions: Grubić awarded the Polish-Canadian film Impossible figures and other stories I by Marta Pajek (Animoon/ONF), “because this film takes us on a journey through a post-apocalyptic and deserted city, in which the protagonist reflects on her personal and collective history at the twilight of her life. The theme and the minimalist style, which produces a strong poetic effect, together raise questions that become even more relevant in today’s socio-political times. Have we learned anything as a civilization, or are we going in circles? Grubić thinks.
Dudok de Wit was particularly impressed by the conciseness and fine malice of Malte Stein’s text. Thing (Ding; Germany), created in the independent production of the author, “which did not make me think so much as feel: disgust, even repulsion; acute anxiety; and the elation when I burst out laughing at the end,” he explained.
Mills gave his special mention to the French film swallow the universe by Colombian filmmaker Louis Nieto (Around Midnight). “I’ve never taken acid, but I guess that’s how it is. The film is a surprisingly vivid journey through a strange jungle landscape, very
skillfully executed – it’s a surprisingly intense and memorable experience,” said Mills.
Nedeljković, chose the Slovenian-German-French film Steak house by
Špela Čadež (Finta Film/Fabian & Fred/RTV Slovenia/Miyu). She pointed out, “This film found an effective and visually strong way to talk about domestic and verbal abuse, topics that a lot of people have gone through, but never been able to talk about.”
Finally, Driessen gave his special mention to the film by Joachim Hérissé flayed (Flayed) (Komadoli Studio; France) — a grueling story about two sisters tied together by the leg. “The spooky patched dolls reminded me of Caroline Leaf. The two sisters. I loved the scene where one of the sisters cuts her leg and how the dripping blood is depicted in the style of the overall design,” Driessen said.
The jury for the Great Competition – Feature film, made up of Olga Pärn, Aya Suzuki and Anastasiya Verlinska, the grand prize went to Czech-French-Slovak movie My Sunny Maad by Michaela Pavlátová (Negativ/Sacrebleu Prod./BFILM), “a masterfully crafted story that blurs the lines between despair and hope, bringing alive the pain of rejection and the warmth of acceptance”.
The feature film jury has decided to award two special mentions. The first goes to the Franco-Japanese film Dozens of Nords (Ikuta no kita) by Koji Yamamura (Yamamura Animation/Miyu), a remarkable feature film depicting surreal streams of consciousness, never seen before in drawn animation. “A masterfully painted canvas of dreams and fears, disturbing us with both visuals and music,” said the jury.
The second special mention was awarded to the Franco-German-Czech film The passage (The crossing) by Florence Miailhe (Les Films de l’Arlequin/Balance Film/Maurfilm/XBO Films), “an exceptional showcase of the true potential of animation, accentuating the story through this powerful art form, which emotionally connects its audience to the characters on their journey to freedom.
The crossing also won the Audience Award Mister M for the feature film.
The mixed jury of Student Film Competition and the Croatian Film Competition composed of Alexandra Ramires, Jelena Popović and Igor Prassel has decided to award the Dušan Vukotic Award for best student film in Franco-Taiwanese cinema Butterflies jam (Butterflies Jam) by Shih-Yen Huang, made at ENSAD (National School of Decorative Arts); the personal story of a daughter using a metaphor of the endless death of pets to illustrate a relationship with her carefree father. “Shih-Yen Huang skillfully led us on a
mesmerizing journey through the lifeless spaces of their home. The financial prize of 1,000 euros is awarded by Zagrebačka
This jury awarded special mentions to the films Mom, what is it Standing with the dog? (Mom, what’s the dog?) by Lola Lefèvre (Atelier de Sèvres; France) for an intriguing and coherent story about the wild instincts of great sexuality that clash with the unnatural moral taboos of our society; and The immoral (the immoral) by Ekin Koca (La Poudrière, France), because it shows us how passivity and aggressiveness can harm the human condition. Using very effective minimalist animation for the theme, it tells a story full of dark humor that represents a very common way of life.
The best movie of the Croatian Film Competition has been 11 by Vuk Jevremović, “for his relentless filigree of lines and colors shifting in wild synchrony with the pressure of blood circulation and the stands, for his masterful kinetic exploration of human, animal and ball in the angst over a penalty.” He is also entitled to 1,000 euros awarded by the Croatian Directors Guild.
Special mention to Jelena Oroz for Forest Edge Letters (Bonobostudio), for “the originally beautiful art style, the smooth animation, the perfect editing and the rhythmic musical accompaniment, but above all for making children learn to write, eat lots of delicious fruits and vegetables and, above all, do not be greedy and rather be a good friend.
A special mention for the best Croatian minority co-production goes to Tomasz Siwiński love in the time of Coal-based economy (Miłość w czasach gospodarki opartej na węglu), co-produced by Letko and Adriatic Animation, for “its visual consistency and the way it tackles themes with an aesthetic that helps us understand human warmth in the middle of a cold winter, this film makes us reflect on the weight of an industrial landscape in our evolution.
The winner of VR Animation Contest was chosen by a jury consisting of Eva Cvijanović, Milen Alempijević and Franziska Bruckner. The prize was awarded to Taiwanese work samsara by Hsin-Chien Huang (The Virtual and Physical Media Integration Association of Taiwan) – “This immersive journey through time and space took us to breathtaking parallel universes and expanded our consciousness, creating an exceptionally designed experience.”
A special mention was awarded by the jury to the Canadian-Belgian project Marco and Polo go around by Benjamin Steiger Levine (Item 7/Belga Productions), because “some events change your world”.
The winner of Children’s film competition was chosen by a jury consisting of Ema and Jakov Barbarović, Gita Gugo, Lala Spremo and Nika Vrbanić. The jury awarded the first prize to the Korean film Piropiro by Miyoung Baek, “a film with beautiful visuals and well-connected animation technique: 2D and digital animation
drawing. The central message of the film that really impressed us is that the only thing that stops us in life is fear and ourselves, whereas the important thing is to try,” the jury said.
A special mention for the Franco-Georgian film Franzy’s soup kitchen (Franzy’s Soup) by Ana Chubinidze (Folimage/Pocket Studio), a film with an important message: that it’s better to share than to keep everything to yourself. “The film has stunning character design, engaging colors, elements of humor and a heightened visual aesthetic,” the jury concluded.
Before the award ceremony, the festival presented its special prize, The heart of Animafestat Margit Buba Antauer for his half-century of commitment to the World Animation Film Festival.
“I’m rarely speechless, rarely confused, rarely shaken, but that’s what happened to me today,” Antauer told the audience. “I once received an ASIFA award in Annecy, but this is ours today, among us, and for a festival that is really part of my life because I gave it so many love and effort. I always hoped to live to see this 50th anniversary and what I see today. As long as we have a team like this and as long as there are audiences and authors who love Zagreb and come there, as long as they are there, we will have a festival. I hope it will last at least another 50 years.
The 33rd World Animation Film Festival – Animafest Zagreb will be held from June 5 to 10, 2023.