London International Animation Festival 2020: Winners

London International Animation Festival 2020: Winners

The curtains came down (virtually) on Sunday evening 6th December at the closing ceremony of the 17th London International Animation Festival, the UK’s largest,longest-running and most eclectic animation festival, as it was beamed intopeople’s homes across the UK. Like all other festivals LIAF has had to adapt this year but the virtual format was a huge success and the positives were that the audience got to see a huge array of the world’s best independent animation directors join the LIAF festival directors for nightly discussions after the competition programmes. It was fun, it was anarchic at times but most of it all it was hugely insightful.

The festival juries (several of the world most prestigious members of the animation community) locked horns over 10 days of screenings as they battled it out to decide which films were chosen as the Best of the Festival. For the first time in the history of LIAF a film won both the best British film and the best film of the festival. That was Stephen Irwin's Wood Child and Hidden Forest Mother.

Full list of awards and jury comments -

Best Film of the Festival (£500 prize sponsored by the Elf Factory): Wood Child and Hidden Forest Mother - Director: Stephen Irwin (UK)
Chris Shepherd, Sophie Koko-Gate and Max Hattler - jury

Jury statement: Nature in technicolour, a savage, who is savaged by their own kin. We loved this wild unpredictable storyline full of colour and darkness. Survival, motherhood, death and beyond to alternate dimensions, parallel lives - we’ve never seen anything like it before, truly unique. Think twice before shooting a rainbow goblin in the woods.

Best British film: Wood Child and Hidden Forest Mother - Director: Stephen Irwin (UK)
Chris Shepherd, Sophie Koko-Gate and Max Hattler - jury
Jury statement: This film confused and delighted us in equal amounts. Propelled by a triumphant orchestral score it takes us into the depths of weirdness where birth and death meet in an endless cycle of rainbows, blood and breast-milk.

Best Sound:Average Happiness - Director: Maja Gehrig (Switzerland)
Joy Frempong and Pater Braker (sound and music)
Chris Shepherd, Sophie Koko-Gate and Max Hattler - jury

Jury statement: This exceptional film made the mundane fantastic taking us on a playful aural journey of discovery. This film didn't make the jury averagely happy but incredibly happy.

Best Abstract film:Serial Parallels - Director: Max Hattler (Hong Kong)
Noel and Ana (Punto Y Raya) - jury

Jury statement: In this marriage of technical prowess and poetic observation, the artist serialises Hong Kong’s urban landscape into an overpowering mega-creature. Following its claustrophobic visual pulse, thousands of raw photographs are mindfully reframed and sequenced into surprising compositions of concrete and glass cells, punctuated by fleeting traces of those who inhabit them.

Best music video:Kai “A Little Too Much” - Director: Martina Scarpelli (Italy):
Abigail Addison, Shaun Clark and Ben Wheele - jury
Jury statement:The jury enjoyed the striking and sensual visuals, and their powerful representation of femininity and the female experience. The animation drove home the sentiment of the song successfully, making visible subconscious thoughts about our identities and bodies and the need to feel comfortable about who you are.

Best Late Night Bizarre film:Ghosts - Director: Jee-Youn Park (South Korea):
Abigail Addison, Shaun Clark and Ben Wheele - jury

Jury statement: A striking and surreal animation. The creator explores the fears bound up in a stagnating relationship through unexpected imagery, weaving portals and dreamlike spaces into a mundane existence. The sound design effectively heightens the tension and the emptiness of the relationship.

Best childrens’ film 0-7 year-olds:Patchwork Penguin - Director: Angela Steffen (Germany)
Lilith Silver, Martha Stanners - jury
Jury statement: The look and storyline was gentle and comforting, perfect for small children. The intro song was really catchy. Instead of the classic type of kids cartoon imagery, they used loads of different beautiful fabrics to bring everything to life. The narrator was really good and I loved how kids would be able to get to know all the little patchwork characters and their stories.

Best childrens’ film 8-15 year-olds:Archie - Director: Ainslie Henderson (UK)
Lilith Silver, Martha Stanners - jury

Jury statement: I was drawn in by the sober music and the unique style of animation. This was perfect for the upper end of the age-group. A very warm and heartfelt film. Lovely characters, music and general atmosphere.

Chris Shepherd award: Washing Machine - Director: Alexandra Majova (Czech Republic)
Statement: I loved this cheeky colourful film of desire, jealousy and fast spins. It’s comic timing was perfection. Even though it’s short it has the power to surprise and charm. I felt the washing vibrations and could watch it all over again.

Sophie Koko-Gate award:Naked - Director: Kirill Khachaturov (Russia)
Statement: I was drawn in by the gnarly design, the strange movement of their bodies. I loved how calm and poetic the characters’ dialogue was despite their bewildering circumstances, I believed in their surreal interactions. Most of all it left me feeling intrigued and inspired.

Max Hattler award: Opera - Director: Erick Oh (South Korea/USA)
Statement: Symmetrical society in controlled complexity: Opera is like the 4-way lovechild of Fritz Kahn’s Man Machine, Marco Brambilla’s Civilization, Hieronymus Bosch’s Last Judgement and Jossie Malis’ Bendito Machine. Respect!

Jury Special commendations: (music videos): Stormzy “Superheroes” - Director: Taz Tron Delix (Argentina)
Jury statement: For its inspiring narrative which really conveys the message of the music. The 2D animation is also well constructed with fluid movement and strong design work.

Jury Special commendations: (Late Night Bizarre): Cage Match - Director: Bryan Lee (USA)
Jury statement: For its absurd study of masculinity. Resembling a daydream doodled in biro, this comical animation contains some truly fantastical characters and action sequences.

Jury Special commendations: (Abstract)(INVADE) - Director: Wong Man Sze (Hong Kong)
Jury Special commendations: (childrens’ film 0-7 year-olds): The Bird and the Whale - Director: Carol Freeman (Ireland)

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