Once there was a sea animation short

ANIFILM International Festival of Animated Films gave out its 2022 awards.

The Liberec Czech  Anifilm festival handed out its awards onsite (F.X. Šalda Theatre), honouring all aspects of the animation production -both internationally and nationally.

In the festival’s international competition sections competed in total 11 feature films, 31 short films, 33 student films, 24 music videos, 15 abstract and non-narrative films and 16 VR films.

The award for the Best Feature Film for Grown-ups went to 'Where is Anne Frank?' by Israeli director Ari Folman.

Jury Statement (Bill Plympton; Katarína Kerekesová, Hisko Hulsing).: The winner of the animated feature for adults is taking a major tragedy to show the positive sides of the human spirit. It's an ode to the imagination of a persecuted girl, whose story needs to be told over and over again. This film tells the story in a new way, making it relatable and current for young adults all over the world.

The Best Feature Film for Children is the Japanese film 'Belle' (director Mamoru Hosoda), which the jury praised for its “very powerful, emotional storytelling and for its highly imaginative, but still truthful depiction of the make-believe reality that many young adults are living in and the importance for them to live with trust in their own identity.”

The winner of the category of Short Films is the ani-doc 'Once There Was a Sea… ' by Polish director Joanna Kożuch which depicts the search for the lost Aral Sea.

Once upon a time there was a sea… Aral Sea. The sea that has vanished. And along with the sea, seaside life and work disappeared. Only the dead desert terrain remained here, and wrecks  of huge fishing boats lying in the sand... and people who have been living on the shores of the  dry port for years, dreaming of high water and longing to sail at least once again - Film Synopsis



As the best Student Film, the jury (Lucija Mrzljak, Alexander Stein, Jan Saska)  picked the Czech film 'Love, Dad' by Diana Cam Van Nguyen,

Jury Statement: An original and subtle film about the reconnection of broken family bonds and the difficulties of reconciliation. It takes us on a personal journey through beautiful and technically impressive visuals.

Ukrainian director Mykyta Leskov’s film 'Imaginary Landscapes' was the best non- narrative and abstract animation and the award for the best music video was awarded to 'Gosheven: Until Exhaustion' by Czech director Magdalena Hejzlarová.

The best VR film is 'Limbotopia' by Taiwanese director Wen-Yee Hsieh.

Based on the architectural design of Limbotopia, the experience takes you on a dream-like journey through a mysterious city. When a real location in Taiwan disappears due to the environmental crisis, the physical city reemerges on the other side - Synopsis

In the festival competition of computer games, the best computer game for is 'Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective'; the award for best visual art went to Sable by British studio Shedworks. During the festival, the audiences had a chance to cast their votes for the Anifilm Audience Award – The Liberec Region Award. The winner is Japanese film 'The Girl from the Other Side'.

At the festival’s opening ceremony, Anifilm awarded the best films from the national competition Czech Horizon  (72 films competing in the category), which were picked by the members of the Council of Animated Film.

  • The Czech Television Award for the Best Czech Animation was awarded to Michaela Pavlátová’s feature film 'My Sunny Maad'. The same film received also the PPF Foundation Award for the best Czech Short and Feature Film.
  • The Best Student Film was Diana Cam Van Nguyen’s ani-doc 'Love, Dad' which won the category both in the national and international competition.
  • The Best Czech Series is David Súkup’s Snoozy the Badger
  • The Best Czech Music Video is Barbora Halířová’s music video for Irvin Venyš & Epoque Quartet: Cimpoiasca. With her spot 'Chained', Barbora Halířová also won the category for Best Commissioned Work. 

 The full lineup of Anifilm winners

International Competition of Short Films
Jury: Lucija Mrzljak (Croatia), Alexander Stein (Germany), Jan Saska (CZ)

Best Short Film:
Once There Was a Sea… (Bolo raz jedno more… ), Director: Joanna Kożuch / France, Poland, Slovakia, 2021, 16 min 23 s

Jury Statement: The film provides an unimaginable perspective of a human life from which a sea disappears. The director manages to emphatically depict the lives affected by the disappearance of the Aral Sea and to defy the absurd tendencies of the authorities to erase this catastrophe from our awareness.

Special Mention
I’ll be Your Kettle, Director: Tobias Rud / Denmark, Canada, 2021, 9 min 20 s

Jury Statement: Love sometimes makes us do stupid things. A film that manages to show our sometimes limitless self-sacrifice within our love relationships in a dramatic yet funny way, always showing understanding for both sides, and all this without a word of dialogue and with a coherent use and mix of stylistic animation techniques, one has to probably call it a masterpiece. What we do, extremely impressed and touched by this film

International Competition of Student Films
Jury: Lucija Mrzljak (Croatia), Alexander Stein (Germany), Jan Saska (CZ)

Best Student Film
Love Dad, Director: Diana Cam Van Nguyen / Czech Republic, Slovakia, 2021, 13 min

Jury Statement: An original and subtle film about reconnection of broken family bonds and difficulties of reconciliation. It takes us on a personal journey through beautiful and technically impressive visuals.

Special Mention
Channidae, Director: Pauline Morel / Belgium, 2021, 7 min

Jury Statement: In a very clever way, the film transitions from a playful mood to a serious topic. It happens in harmony with the content in which child games darken after an unexpected revelation. On a small space, the film hits very hard.

Special Mention
The Immoral, Director: Ekin Koca / France, 2021, 4 min 11 s

Jury Statement: Within 4 minutes, this film manages to rip us from our seemingly higher moral position, grab us by the collar, give it a good shake and put us back in our seats. And all this with grandiose timing and an insidious sense of humour. Entertainingly to the point, it leaves us amazed and thoughtful about our own ethical position.

International Competition of Abstract and Non-narrative Animation
Jury: Stas Santimov (Ukraine), Tereza Stehlíková (CZ), Lars Rummel (Germany), Viktoria Cherniaha Filmako (Ukraine)

Best Abstract and Non-Narrative Animation
Imaginary Landscapes, Director: Mykyta Lyskov / Ukraine, 2021, 4 min 36 s

Jury Statement: This film stood out for us for a number of reasons. We loved how it draws us into metamorphosing landscape, seas, mountains and forests glimpsed from a passing train. The journey we are taken on is both across but also inward: like a meditation, it evokes hypnagogic imagery of layered textures, brushstrokes, semi-imagined worlds. The film is beautifully crafted, seemingly simple, yet rather otherworldly.

Special Mention
Skin to Skin, Director: Mel Arranz / Spain, 2021, 7 min 26 s

Jury Statement: A wonderful celebration of tactility, in a medium of drawn animation, itself a tactile conversation with the blank paper. We loved the marks left by the pencil on paper, the evocation of touch through image and sound, which sent shivers down our spines, in a very ASMR way. We enjoyed the erotic, intimate dimension of the film, we loved its tactile audio-visual language. We felt the film gave a space for the viewer to take breath, to sense, to feel.

International Competition of Music Videos
Jury: Stas Santimov (Ukraine), Tereza Stehlíková (CZ), Lars Rummel (Germany), Viktoria Cherniaha Filmako (Ukraine)

Best Music Video
Gosheven: Until Exhaustion, Director: Magdalena Hejzlarová / Czech Republic, 2021, 3 min 35 s

Jury statement: The music video stood out for us all. We loved the slow-moving pace, the delicate graphical compositions which reminded us of architectural drawings. We enjoyed the images transforming slowly, giving us, the audience, a chance to enter a reflective state of mind. There was care in the composition, and fragility in the computer-generated imagery that felt refreshingly different.

Special Mention
Mathieu Boogaerts: How Many, Director: Bianca Scali / Germany, 2021, 2 min 55 s

Jury Statement: We enjoyed the subtlety, gentleness and fragility of this work, which reflected the melancholy of the song. We felt that the music and the imagery complimented each other beautifully, with neither dominating. Despite the sadness, the overall sense of the piece was calming, caring and ultimately positive. We also really appreciated the wonderful shades of blue in the film’s monochrome palette.

International Competition of VR Films
Jury: Stas Santimov (Ukraine), Tereza Stehlíková (CZ), Lars Rummel (Germany), Viktoria Cherniaha Filmako (Ukraine)

Best VR Film
Limbotopia, Wen-Yee Hsieh / Taiwan, 25 min, 2021

Jury Statement: We chose this VR film because it impressed us with its powerful atmosphere, the slow-moving pace, which allowed us to become absorbed in a suspended presence. At once drawn forward into a kind of waking trance, one is still able to gaze around and feel impressed by the surrounding vast scale of the dilapidated cityscapes. Or is compelled to take a ride on a strange ghost train into another kind of non-place. Hypnotic, otherworldly, but also coherent.

Special Mention
Kusunda, Felix Gaedtke, Gayatri Parameswaran / Germany, Nepal, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, 23 min, 2021

Jury Statement: This is a very moving account of a disappearing community’s quest to preserve its language. The immersive reality allows the viewer to be placed right inside a family home, allowing for a strong emotional response. We enjoyed the interactivity which invited the participants to pronounce certain words of the disappearing language, allowing them to resonate, even briefly, across different parts of the world. A powerful message and a great use of VR technology.

International Competition of Computer Games
Jury: Eva Nečasová (CZ), Claudia Molinari (Italy), Céline Veltman (Netherlands)

Best Visual Art
Sable, Shedworks, Great Britain, 2021

Jury Statement: We would like to congratulate Sable on an exceptional artistic performance and as the winner in visuals for the 2022 Anifilm Festival Award. Sable has an unquestionably stunning visual art style, one that invites the player to explore and discover more of its wonderful world. We found that the underlaying thematic and captivating atmosphere is a distinctive experience for any player. Congratulations on this very well- deserved award.

Special Mention for Artwork
Papetura, Petums, 2021

Jury Mention: We would like to give an honourable mention and a few extra words to the wonderful game Papetura, as it is an incredible, genuine and unique work of art. The astonishing process behind it makes it a strong case in game-making, able to inspire future designers who want to approach videogames with an original twist.

Best Game for Children
Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective / Darjeeling, 2021

Jury Statement: The Labyrinth City: Pierre the Maze Detective is a very fun, playful, and eventful experience, that offers a world full of surprising interaction and well-executed storytelling and references. We appreciate the mastered execution of the original book; it invites curiosity and sparks the imagination and conversation for all children and in fact players.

Honourable Mention
Growbot, Wabisabi Play, 2021

Jury Statement: There is a beautiful delicacy to this game where it has a special softness and the visuals and feel of the game are like a warm and welcome hug. And we all agreed that this beautiful game deserves an honourable mention as it reassures every parent to know that their child plays a beautiful and memorable game.

This year's Anifilm programme was visited by more than 30.000 viewers.

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