Acid Rain, Kids, Ruben Brandt Get 2019 Animafest Zagreb Awards

Acid Rain, Kids, Ruben Brandt Get 2019 Animafest Zagreb Awards
Animafest Zagreb 2019 awards/ Photo: Srecko Niketic

The 29th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb2019 closed Saturday 8 June 2019, with an award ceremony at Tuškanac cinema.

The Grand Prix for a short film was given  to the 26-minute Polish film Acid Rain by Tomek Popakul (Animoon production company), which also received the best audience award for a short film (a rare occurrence in a major festival). It must have been one of the longer films in recent Zagreb editions to be awarded the Grand Prix, and testament that sometimes bigger is better. The film takes place in  Eastern Europe, where Young runs away from her depressing hometown and  meets Skinny in an eerie setting.

Jury Statement (Boris Labbé, Ruth Lingford, Michaela Müller, Tünde Vollenbroek and Chen Xi ): Acid Rain takes us through some extreme adventures in a way that is sometimes uncomfortable, but always compelling. The filmmaker creates a complex and convincing central protagonist and allows us to identify with her risky quest for intensity and experience

The same jury presented the Golden Zagreb Award for creativity and innovative artistic achievement to Michael Frei for Kids (Switzerland, Playables production company)

Jury Statement:  Character animation normally takes a lot of planning and stages, but for this particular film, its creator found other, unique ways to create movement. He used coding and interaction, to play with group processes and the way people influence each other. This use of interactivity allowed the filmmaker to shape not only his creative process, but also the final outcome: a fitting visual logic for his film

The Zlatko Grgić Award for best first film (outside an education institution) was given to  German film Flood by Malte Stein, a surrealist film shows an ugly world where a young man is trying to escape his condition as a dominated person.

Jury Statement: The dark sense of humour combined with a very particular use of sound and animation give us a unique experience, often uncomfortable, but always fascinating

Jury Member Special Mentions:

Boris Labbé: Canadian film No Objects by Moïa Jobin-Paré, produced by NFB, which choreographs different everyday gestures in a very tactile way.
The surface of the film also records and superimposes the animator's own gestures in scratching and painting. This is a unique audiovisual experience – B. Labbé.

Ruth Lingford: Russian film Five Minutes to Sea by Natalia Mirzoyan (Petersburg Animation Studio). a  A beautifully observed, and deeply felt piece of humanistic filmmaking. The filmmaker reminds us of what it is like to be a child, and the subjective elasticity of time – R Lingford.

Michaela Müller:  British-French film Roughhouse by Jonathan Hodgson, which takes a stand for solidarity among friends, even if they test your patience to the limit. Drawing on what they learnt from a childhood game gone wrong, they find the strength to help each other and stand up to the bully. Skilful dramaturgy and narration allow us to identify with and care about the characters – M. Müller.

Tünde Vollenbroek: Taiwanese film Si So Mi by Xu-Zhan Zhang.  This film is one of the simple pleasures in life. Its playful design pulled me into its world immediately. And with its quirky characters and morbid ritual, the film is surprising and utterly delightful.

Chen Xi: Croatian film Imbued Life by Ivana Bošnjak and Thomas Johnson (produced by Bonobostudio).  Through its imagery and mise-en-scene of dissolution and embodiment, disappearance and emergence, powerfully conveys feelings, both painful and seductive, of alienation - Chen Xi

Ivana Bošnjak and Thomas Johnson at Animafest Zagreb 2019

In the Grand Competition – Feature Film, Grand Prix went to the Hungarian film Ruben Brandt, Collector by Milorad Krstić.

Jury statement  (Frank Gladstone, Dine Goder and Dalibor Barić): This entertaining, out-of-the-ordinary view is satirical while at the same time respects the classical art at the centre of the story. For a well scripted detective yarn, cleverly thought out, wonderfully written with imaginative direction, eclectic music score and a design sense that takes chances and is not beholding to anything that has come before.

Special mention was given  to the French-Belgian-Luxembourg-Cambodian film Funan by Denis Do, which also took home the Audience Prize for Best Feature Film.  Set in the time of the Khmer Rouge's reign of terror in Cambodia, this is a heartrending story of love, loss, sacrifice, the will to survive and the human capability for good and evil, as seen through the eyes of one family, especially the mother, Cho. It also asks us to remember these terrible times, lest we forget and repeat the same inhumanity over again

Dušan Vukotić Award for best student film:  Czech film After by Matouš Valchář, made at the Ladislav Sutnar University of Design and Art of Western Bohemia (€ 1000 cash prize is sponsored by Zagrebačka banka).

Joint jury of the Student and Croatian Film Competition (Nikita Diakur, Vasco Sá and Bruno Razum):  A raw and direct film about a delicate subject that concerns each and every one of us

Special mentions went to the film Happy Ending by Eun Ju Ara Choi  United Kingdom (Royal College of Art), and Love at the Crossroads by Hee-seung Choi (South Korea, Korea National University of Arts)

Jury Statement: Happy Ending is an intimate story about the search for feelings and pleasure in a place where these are hard to find, and Love at the Crossroads seems naive and simple, but in fact is a surprising take on young love and compromise.

Croatian Film Competition, Best Film: A Demonstration of Brilliance in Four Acts by Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak, an Estonian-Croatian co-production (Eesti Joonisfilm and Adriatic Animation): "an enigmatic puzzle that falls into place to reveal the absurdity of our constant desire for entertainment".

The film also won a € 1000 cash prize sponsored by the Croatian Directors’ Association.

Special mention went to Ivana Bošnjak and Thomas Johnson for Imbued Life, produced by Bonobostudio, "a tactile and well-crafted film about the mystery of the relationship between human and nature".

The best Croatian minority co-production went to Balász Turai and The Fall of Rome, a collaboration between the Hungarian Boddah studio and Adriatic Animation (Croatia), "an immersive story about a coming of age family stuck in a surreal and apocalyptic world".

The winner of the newly established VR Project Competition (jury: David Doutel, Marc Betrand and Milan Gostimi) was the French piece Accused #2 Walter Sisulu by Nicolas Champeaux and Gilles Porte.

In the Children’s Film Competition (jury: Nina Bukovina, Sven Fritz, Lara Grgec, Vigo Urbanke and Grgur Valkaj) the winner was Big Wolf, Little Wolf by Rémi Durin (France-Belgium), while special mention was given to the Belgian film Sweet Night by Lia Bertels.

The 30th World Festival of Animated Film takes place 8-13 June 2020.


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