Animafest Zagreb Winners 2024: 'Sultana's Dream', 'The Miracle', 'Zarko'

Collage from awarded films from Animafest Zagreb 2024

The 34th Animafest Zagreb ended on Saturday, 8 June (SC Cinema) with the award ceremony and prizes that balanced between the quirky narrative and the downright experimental -including strong women voices.

Nienke Deutz's 'The Miracle', which won the Grand Prix for a Short Film, is  self-described as a place where the sun always shines, there's endless opportunities to relax and food is in abundance. In reality, it is a place for a woman's trauma to re-appear (in fragmented visual forms). 'Sultana's Dream', another woman-led film (director: Isabel Herguera) won the Grand Prix for a Feature film, is inspired by the feminist science fiction classic of the same name; a short story written by Rokeya Hossein in Bangladesh in 1905 proposes Ladyland, a place where women hold the power to rule their country, while men live in reclusion taking care of children and domestic chores (Our interview with Isabel Herguera).

Nicholas Brault won the Golden Zagreb Award for creativity and innovative artistic achievement with his experimental 'Entropic Memory'; the Croatian duo of Milivoj and Veljko Popović  were the winners in the Croatian competition with their 80s travelogue 'Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child!'.

The full list of winners:

Grand Competition Short Film:

Jury: Sofiia Melnyk, Naomi Van Niekerk, Marta Pajek, Malte Stein and Vjeran Šalamon

Grand Prix for A Short Film:
The Miracle directed by Nienke Deutz, produced by Lunanime, Keplerfilm and Les Productions de Milou (Belgium/The Netherlands/France)

Jury: This film treats an invisible subject with subtlety and nuance. It uses delicate storytelling and leaves us with hope.

Golden Zagreb Award for creativity and innovative artistic achievement
Entropic Memory by Nicholas Brault (Canada)

Jury: The author registers the process of decaying memories and we are drawn into another layer of beauty 

The Zlatko Grgić Award for the best first film made outside of an educational institution
Reborn with You by Inju Park (South Korea)
Jury : a tender inner journey that takes us into a mesmerizing world of loss.

Sofiia Melnyk  special mention:
Aaaah! by Osman Cerfon (Miyu Productions, France)
Jury member: for an original and humorous way of treating the pressures of going through school and the excellent functioning of the animation loop.

Naomi Van Niekerk special mention:
Three Birds by Zarje Menart (produced by Finta Film and Adriatic Animation, Slovenia/Croatia)
Jury member: This film kept me on the edge of my seat and got under my skin with its layered visuals and captivating sound design

Marta Pajek special mention:
The Bitch by Carla Melo Gampert (produced by Evidencia films and June Films, Colombia/France).
Jury member: A brutally honest yet touching story of a relationship between mother and daughter told with force and simplicity

Malte Stein special mention:
Zima by Tomek Popakula and Kasumi Ozeki,produced by Yellow Tapir Films (Poland)
Jury member: The killers fear the killers the most, but Jesus forgives you

Vjeran Šalamon special mention:
 Circle by Yumi Joung, produced by Match Cut Inc. (South Korea)
Jury member: the simple and sophisticated elegance of this movie reminds him how original and beautiful the world of animation is.

Related:  Our Interview with Yumi Joung

Grand Competition Feature Film

Jury: Barry JC Purves, Vassilis C. Karamitsanis and Vera Neubauer

Grand Prix for a Feature Film:
Sultana’s Dream by Isabel Herguera (produced by Abano Producións and Fabian & Fred, Spain/Germany).

Jury: Beautifully made and designed. It was moving and was quite profound, even haunting as it stays with you long after you've seen it. It’s bringing up its agenda to a different level in a nicely multi- layered narrative.

Special Award:
Pelikan Blue by Lászlo Csáki (Umbrella Entertainment and Cinemon Entertainment, Hungary).
Jury: a beautifully structured, interesting and well-researched film. It was impressively documented that resulted into bringing history to life. The story could resonate deeply to the viewer.

Student Film Competition & Croatian Film Competition:

Jury: Diana Cam Van Nguyen, João Gonzalez and Ivana Kvesić

Dušan Vukotić Award for the best student film:
Carrotica by Daniel Sterlin-Altman, created at the Babelsberg Konrad Wolf Film University (Germany)

Jury: The film portrays a relationship in such a humorous, original and human way, that touched us. Two characters share a mutual feeling of loneliness by coping with a series of fantasies that doesn't set them too much apart, and maybe even pulls them closer to each other.

Special award for a Student Film:
Such Miracles Do Happen by Barbara Rupik (Polish National Film School in Łódź)
Jury: The animation technique and the related examination of traditions and religion are interesting, penetrating and convincing

Special award for a Student Film:
The Posthuman Hospital by Junha Kim (California Institute of the Arts).

Jury: We as a jury enjoyed the visualisation of post-human area –where machines and humans are interacted. The visual and playful creativity that is tackling the human body makes the film strong

Best Croatian Film:
Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child! by Milivoj and Veljko Popović  (Prime Render Studio, Bagan Films and 3D2D Animator)

Jury: The film has surprised us with its endearing, touching but also funny approach to a personal and historical topic. The filmmakers are using in a daring and smart way different animation techniques to create a film with a genuine and raw touch 
The film also receives a financial award in the amount of 1,000 euros awarded by the Croatian Film Directors Guild.

Special Award for A Croatian Film
Windows from the South by  Eugen Bilankov, produced by the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb.
Jury: Subtle, immersive and imaginative way and enhances the storytelling to another level.

Films for Children and Youth Competition

Jury: Val Bandić, Jakov Botić, Maris Dlačić, Polina Glebova, Karlo Jurčić, Alana Kovač, Jasna Salopek Radić, Vita Stojić, Trey Pužin and Iskra Gavran.

Films for Children and Youth Competition Main Prize
Nube by Diego Alonso Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada and Christian Arredondo Narváez (produced by Avec ou Sans Vous, Cub Animation and Les Gobelins, Mexico/France/Hungary).

Jury: An incredibly emotional film with a wonderful story which deeply touched us. The characters are well drawn and fantastically animated which makes them easily relatable. The animation style is nice and fluent, and the colours and contrasts are wonderful. Half of us were in tears. Perfect

Special recognition in the Films for Children Competition:
The Grand Mother by Julia Hazuka, produced by Magdalena Abakanowicz from the University of the Arts from Poznań (Poland)
Jury: The drawing style is very good and the film is very emotional. The spider could have eaten the baby, but instead it adopted it. If you’re different, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a chance

Special recognition in the Films for Youth Competition:
 On the 8th Day by Agatha Sénéchal, Alicia Massez, Elise Debruyne, Flavia Carin and Thé Duhautois, produced by Pôle 3D (France)

Jury: An outstanding film which demonstrates the incredible skill of graphics. We loved the texture and animation is expertly made and combined with fantastic sound. The film reminds of real life, it has a documentary quality, and it gives its viewers an intermittent and enchanting experience. Took our breath away – concluded the jury.

Audience Award Mr. M for the film from the Grand Competition Short Film program
Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child! by Milivoj and Veljko Popović (Croatia/ France)

Audience Award Mr. M for the Grand Competition Feature Film
Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds by Benoît Chieux (produced by Sacrebleu Productions, Take Five and Le ciel de Paris).

Animafest Zagreb 2024 Winners & Organizing Team

The 35th World Festival of Animated Film - Animafest Zagreb will be held from June 2 to 7, 2025.

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