CEE Animation Forum 2021: Winners

CEE Animation Forum 2021: Winners

The ninth edition of the CEE Animation Forum was an extended, online edition, which for the first time also opened the floor to student pitching (Rising Stars) and an out-of-competition section to implement the already in place categories for feature, short, TV series and XR projects selected.

The unchanging situation forced us to remain in the online environment. Taking it as an advantage, we decided to bring our content to the largest audience possible, and we live-streamed 80% of the programme for free. This has turned out to be an excellent decision as the first statistics surpassed all our expectations -  Matija Sturm, CEE Managing Director.

A few CEE Animation Forum 2021 figures:

  • 40 animated projects in 5 categories
  • 2-week industry programme
  • 15,000 EUR award prizes in cash
  • 350 film professionals  attended
  • 846 online meetings realized.
  • 1350 hours of video content , engaging more than 1 300 people altogether

Jury members: Anca Damian, Pierre Mazars, Tonje Skar Reiersen

Winner: Birds Don’t Look Back  d. Nadia Nackle, p. Sebastien Onomo, Special Touch Studios, France

Jury statement: The CEE Award goes to Birds Don't Look Back in recognition of the project's poetic approach to a universal story that will resonate internationally. The combination of a talented and original female director supported by a well-established new generation producer is a desirable and promising constellation.

Special Mention: Dreamworld d. Veljko Popovic, Milivoj Popovic, p. Milivoj Popovic, Veljko Popovic, Prime Render d.o.o., Croatia
Special Mention: Senior Crush  d. Orsolya Richolm, p. Andrea Ausztrics, ULab Kft, Hungary

Jury members: Claudia Cazzato, Albert Hanan Kaminski, Richard Lutterbeck

Winner: The Olive Bunch  d. Magnus Kravik, p. Maria Pavlou, Pixel giants, Cyprus

Jury statement: From the first images, you want to be part of this gang: Fresh designs – warm colours – emotional stories with a lot of fun produced with precise animation timing. The Olive Bunch is a promising 2D tale of friends and family with a sprinkle of magic taking place in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The content is a colourful splash in the carefree childhood that has the potential to captivate the young and young at heart. A well-delivered pitch and a strong, committed team are the extra elements that make it impossible not to fall for this project made in Cyprus.

Special Mention: What the Old Moon Tells  d. Eliza Plocieniak-Alvarez, p. Carol Ratajczak, Blaue Pampelmuse, Germany
Jury statement: The project gives voice to a minority and has the potential to travel across countries thanks to its unique storytelling and visuals.

Special Mention: Starting with Hope  d. Sonia Velvien, p. Kèota Dengmanara, Moukda Production, France
Jury statement: An ambitious project with a developable media concept that tackles a sensitive topic. It earns the special mention for its mission to contribute to a delicate conversation through the powerful language of animation.

Jury members: Nikki Loke, Richard Valk, Wim Vanacker

Winner: Ibis  d. Maria Burgues, Enric Sant, p. Maria Burgues, BLISS PICTURES, Spain

Jury statement: John Cale put it best, fear is a man's best friend, and it takes courage to confront those fears, especially as a teenager. What starts off as a carefree afternoon in the sun, ends up being an introspective, very idiosyncratic, vibrant journey into uncharted territory. What draws us in is the humanity and the simplicity of the setup. What we want to applaud is the gentle and imaginative hand with which this has been tackled. Style is what it takes, and style is what it's got. The award for the best short animation project goes to IBIS by Maria Burgues and Enric Sant.

Special Mention: Patrick in Town  d. Eszter Sandor, Valentina Huckova, p. Valentina Huckova, Young Glass Noodle, Slovakia

Jury statement: We're talking quirky here and over the top; we're talking politically incorrect and far fetched, but as we all know, a bit of crazy takes us a long way, and so does a happy cow. When Patrick's in town, fun and funky awaits and that we'll gladly embrace. And the special mention goes to Patrick in Town by Valentina Huckova and Eszter Sandor! Congratulations and hail to
all those vegans out there!!

Jury members: Mike Jelinek, Zillah Watson, Xinran Yuan

Winner: Finding Frida  d. Hilde Kristin Kjøs, p. Bjørn-Morten Nerland, Stargate Media AS, Norway

Jury statement: We are delighted to nominate Finding Frida for the XR award, a project that highlights the life and work of artist Frida Hansen. We were impressed by the imaginative VR native approach to storytelling, which truly plays to the strengths of the medium. Considerable thought had been given to the role of the audience in the story and to incorporating meaningful interactivity to add to the magic. Taking the aesthetic lead from Frida's tapestries will allow people to dive deep inside her art and mind. The strong team behind Frida have come up with a way to tell this story that will have broad human appeal, and we wish them success.

Jury members: Torben Meier, Lana Tankosa Nikolič, Joseph Wallace.

Winner: Desire to Win  d. Michaela Rezova, p. Zuzana Bukovinska, Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague, Czech Republic

Jury statement: Here we witnessed a real filmmaker. Someone who shows competence and skill in all aspects of the form: the use of interview, archive footage, sound, image and motion. The director has cleverly chosen animation to tackle this particular subject matter about the renowned but also somewhat controversial artist. Michaela shows great respect and empathy for the subject and passion for the project, which is indeed needed in order to finalize this ambitious project.

Special Mention: The Last Drop  d. Anna Tokes, p. Jozsef Fulop, Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest – MOME, Hungary

Jury statement: This project demonstrates beautiful and sensitive use of animation to convey the duality of the aesthetic performance versus physical and psychological hardship. With strong stylized visuals that mirror the sport she is portraying, Anna tells a personal story rooted in her own experiences.

The audience was also asked to vote. Over 1000 votes were registered across all pitching categories. The animated feature project Vast Blue Antarctica (d. Christos Panagos, p. Charalambos Margaritis, Kimonos Animation Studio, Cyprus) has received 219 votes, the highest vote rate surpassing 4.2 (out of 5) and wins the Audience Award of EUR 1,000.


  • CEE ANIMATION WORKSHOP – free scholarship : Dreamworld  d. Veljko Popovic, Milivoj Popovic, p. Milivoj Popovic, Veljko Popovic, Prime Render d.o.o., Croatia
  • ANIMATION SANS FRONTIERES – free scholarship: Kurent director Miha Reja, (p. Bostjan Potokar, School of Arts – University of Nova Gorica, Slovenia)
    Statement: We are delighted to announce that for the strong style and interesting technical pipeline of his project, for the clear vision and very good pitch and obvious personal dedication, we, the Animation Sans Frontieres partners, are very happy to award Miha Reja the CEE Animation Forum 2021 ASF prize, which will consist of a full scholarship to the 2021/2022 programme, tarting in October this year at the Akademie Baden-Württemberg.
  • CARTOON MOVIE – direct access: Dreamworld  d. Veljko Popovic, Milivoj Popovic, p. Milivoj Popovic, Veljko Popovic, Prime Render d.o.o., Croatia AND Vast Blue Antarctica  d. Christos Panagos, p. Charalambos Margaritis, Kimonos Animation Studio, Cyprus
  • CARTOON FORUM – direct access: Robot and the Martians  d. Tomasz Niedzwiedz, p. Tomasz Paziewski, Badi Badi, Poland
  • CARTOON SPRINGBOARD – direct access: Rosie and Sapphire  d. Anna Katalin Lovrity, p. Balint Gelley, CUB Animation, Hungary AND  Senior Crush  d. Orsolya Richolm, p. Andrea Ausztrics, ULab Kft, Hungary
  • CICLIC AWARD: Electra. A Poem  d. Daria Kashcheeva, p. Zuzana Krivkova, FAMU, MAUR film, Czech Republic
    Statement: The pitch we would like to honour today served as evidence; experience to dive into the deep feelings and memories of a young woman who has to deal with relationships. The teaser was a promise of poetry, complex narration, a brilliant sense of directing and a bright combination of techniques. The prize goes to the film Electra. A Poem by Daria Kascheeva, produced by FAMU and MAUR film.
  • ANIMOND AWARD Winner: The Olive Bunch  d. Magnus Kravik, p. Maria Pavlou, Pixel giants, Cyprus
  • KIDS KINO INDUSTRY AWARD: The Olive Bunch  d. Magnus Kravik, p. Maria Pavlou, Pixel giants, Cyprus
  • ANIMARKT AWARD: The Icebreakers d. Ignas Meilūnas, p. Justė Beniušytė, Kadru Skyrius, Lithuan ( For a simple but not naive story about fundamental values) AND Desire to Win  d. Michaela Rezova, p. Zuzana Bukovinska, Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague, Czech Republic (For an interesting approach, for documentary and animation.)

In addition to the cash prizes, all jury winners together with the Audience awarded project will be presented at the special CEE Animation pitching presentation, which will be part of the official MIFA 2021 programme.

All CEE Animation Forum Pitching videos and selected sessions of the industry programme (discussion panels, presentations, case studies) will remain available to the public until 15 May on the CEE Animation Forum Facebook page

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