The World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2023 ended tonight with the award ceremony at the SC Cinema.
The jury of the Grand Competition Short Film consisting of Hugo Covarrubias, Hisko Hulsing, Tal Kantor, Aneta Ozorek and Vuk Jevremović decided to award the Grand Prix to the film Oneluv directed by Varya Yakovleva, produced by Studio SHAR. The jury’s explanation reads: Grand prix of the festival goes to the film about the shift in the game of power between victim and perpetrator told with imperfections, dirt and shivering style magnifying the story of abuse.
The same jury gave the Golden Zagreb Award for Creativity and Innovative Artistic Achievement to Joseph Pierce for the French-British-Czech-Belgian film Scale (produced by Melocoton Films). The jury loved the very emotional depiction of alienation caused by addiction.
The Zlatko Grgić Award for the best first film made outside an educational institution went to the French film A Kind of Testament by Stephen Vuillemin (produced by Remembers) for the way of changing the subject inside a story with a delicate and at the same time disturbing use of the line and colors.
The members of the jury decided to award special awards. Hugo Covarrubias awarded the Taiwanese film Compound Eyes of Tropical (熱帶複眼) by Zhang Xu Zhan (produced by Zhan Zhan Xi Qi) for showing us a new approach to folktales with a renewed use of materiality.
Hisko Hulsing was particularly impressed by the Ukrainian-German film Mariupol. A Hundred Nights by Sofiia Melnyk (produced by Gogol Fest). I would have loved to give a special mention to a couple of films that I really loved a lot, but I could only give one and there was this one film that touched me deeply, not only because of its horrific subject, but also because it shows no signs of compromises in depicting the dark horrors of war, seen through the eyes of a 9-year-old child – Hulsing said.
Tal Kantor presented her special award to the French film The World's After by Florentina Gonzalez (produced by Autour de Minuit). A sensitive voice of a generation anxious about its future appears in the film with sentiments for an extinct world, yet reflecting the desire for empathy and connection, through love for nature and music – wrote Kantor.
Aneta Ozorek, on the other hand, chose the Hungarian-Slovak film The Garden of Heart by Olivér Hegyi (A szív kertje) produced by CUB Animation and Artichoke, the bitter sweet film about the power of self-doubt and imagination.
Finally, Vuk Jevremović gave his special award to Shunsaku Hayashi's Japanese film Our Pain made in Hayashi's independent production, describing it as somewhere between psychedelic experience and a journey through pain... from wounds of lost love and death of the loved one.
According to the decision of the jury of the Grand Competition Feature Film consisting of Mohamed Ghazala, Ivana Guljašević Kuman and Ferenc Mikulás, the Grand Prix went to the Latvian-American-Luxembourgian My Love Affair with Marriage by Signe Baumane, produced by Studio Locomotive, The Marriage Project LLC and Antevita Films. The jury has decided upon this feature firstly because of its special animation language. Both the animation and the design are beautifully done, and they are also delivered in a simple way. By doing so the complexity of the emotion of the movie's topic becomes more tangible. Also, the storyline in question has already been told many times, but this time in a completely new and refreshing way – said the statement.
The same jury decided to award one special mention that goes to the Hungarian-Slovak film White Plastic Sky by the filmmaking duo Tibor Bánóczki and Sarolta Szabó (produced by Salto Films and Artichoke). The feature in question is a visually spectacular philosophical film dealing with the key environmental issues of our time, as well as with timeless ethical questions – the jury said.
The combined jury of the Student Film Competition and the Croatian Film Competition consisting of Laura Gonçalves, Pavel Horáček and Irena Jukić Pranjić decided to award the Dušan Vukotić Award for Best Student Film to the Hungarian film Above the Clouds (Felhők felett) by Vivien Hárshegyi, produced at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, a colorful ride through a fresh, frenetic and mind-blowing emotional travel with the power of humor that gives us strength to face our weaknesses.
According to the decision of the same jury, the first special mention went to Japanese film Sewing Love by Xu Yuan, made at Tama Art University. Without using any words, it clearly speaks about the fine line between love and manipulation – rollercoaster from fairytale to horror. For the perfect use of the animation potential, taking us on an intense journey full of fluidity, color and camera movements – the jury explained. Second special mention went to American film Fur by Zhen Li, made at California Institute of the Arts for the fearless use of possibilities of drawn animation full of metamorphosis and experimental moments, a deep psychological experience as a coming-of-age film.
The best film of the Croatian Film Competition was Estonian-Croatian Eeva by Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov, produced by Eesti Joonisfilm and Adriatic Animation, for the brilliant use of dreams as narrative element, for its darkness and humor, for its perfect combination between a complex style and sense of aesthetics translating a harmony of all the elements throughout the film, from the beautiful composition to a perfect sense of rhythm and music. They are also entitled to a financial award in the amount of 1,000 euros awarded by the Croatian Film Directors’ Guild. Special mention went to Martina Meštrović for Her Dress for the Final produced by Kreativni sindikat for the poetry composing the fragmentariness of routine into a coherent image reconciling life and death; for the encounter of royal attires – the one celebrating the peak of one’s life and the one celebrating reconciliation with transience.
The winner of the VR Animation Competition was chosen by a jury consisting of Reinhold Bidner, Michelle Kranot and Andrijana Ružić. The award was given to the French work All Unsaved Progress Will Be Lostby Mélanie Courtinat, made in her independent production. Leading us; holding space for us; a meditation on personal experience and universal values. Textual, contextual. Poetry in VR – wrote the jury.
A special mention was given by the jury to the German project From the Main Square by Pedro Harres, made at Film Universitaet Babelsberg Konrad Wolf because they agreed that this project is both engaging and playful, using animation and VR immersion in a clever and thought-provoking way.
The winner of the Films for Children Competition was chosen by a jury consisting of Pino Fabro Barić, Relja Borović, Magda Jagarinec, Olga Korečić and Jana Šagadin. The jury awarded the main prize to Socks for the Star by Olga Titova (produced by SMF animation studio). It took a long time to make this film, which has successfully combined different media and seems coherent and easy to follow. The details are wonderfully animated and movement was well studied and analyzed before animation. The music blends with the scenes and draws us in the action as if it is portraying it. The puppets are well made, the set design is beautiful and the colors fit together – said the jury.
By the decision of the same jury, a special mention in the Films for Children Competition went to the French film Let's Roll (Ça Décale, directed by: Chloé Musa, Annabelle Tamic, Alexandre Terrier, Louis Lukasik, Yann Laurent, Camille Flinois and Philip Gonçalves), produced by Pôle 3D. This film stood out with amazing animation that doesn’t stick to the standards. We liked the exchange between intense and reduced animation, a combination of 2D and 3D animation, the use of light and colors and the Dreamcore/Weirdcore aesthetic of the film. We had the impression the film came right out of our imagination. We like it when animators go wild with animations – the jury concluded.
The Audience Award Mr. M for the film from the programme of the Grand Competition Short Film goes to the Portuguese-French-British film Ice Merchants byJoão Gonzalez (produced by COLA Animation, Wildstream and Royal College of Art).
The Audience Award Mr. M for the film from the programme of the Grand Competition Feature Film will be announced at a later date.
The 34th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb will be held from 3 to 8 June 2024.