Fantoche is Switzerland’s most prestigious animated film festival and is one of the leading events for the medium in the world. It takes place every year in September over the course of six days in the Swiss town of Baden. The festival, which benefits from broad media coverage, attracts both industry professionals and the general public – over 25,500 ticket sales were recorded in 2015.
Fantoche searches for the best animated short films from all over the world every year. Animated shorts of all kind and techniques are eligible for Fantoche’s 2021 competitions if they’ve been completed after 31 December 2019 and last no longer than 40 minutes.
International Competition: Total prize fund 26'000 CHF
Swiss Competition: Total prize fund 21'000 CHF
Kids Film Competition: Total prize fund 2'000 CHF
In its “International Competition”, Fantoche showcases the best and most interesting new examples of animated short film production worldwide. The competition is a potent mix of contemporary animated film and illustrates the impressive diversity and power of this medium. The “International Competition”, together with the “Swiss Competition”, is the heart of the Fantoche festival.
Films using all types of animation techniques can be entered, including the combination of live action and animated film, with a maximum duration of 40 minutes. Student films, independent productions, art-film commissions and game sequences will be treated equally. Commercial advertising films are excluded from the competition.
Experimentation and tradition
The main criterion for film selection is innovation. Fantoche’s “International Competition” principally offers a forum for animated films which veer away from conventions of the genre in terms of aesthetics, content or technique, which scrutinize them skillfully or which are audacious enough to turn them on their head. It particularly welcomes projects which push the boundaries of expression of animation further, which seek to experiment and which stand apart thanks to their artistic independence.
2020 Festival Coverage
Each year, a Swiss filmmaker is chosen to create the trailer for Fantoche. This year, director, animator, illustrator and Lucerne resident Lena von Döhren did the honours.
Heroines and Denmark the Guest Country
Heroines from all walks are put into the spotlight at the Fantoche in 2020, providing us with both fun and pensive moments. Animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger is one of the many strong women who will be featured for example. The country focus introduces the past and present of Danish animation, thereby offering an opportunity to learn about unique films with their own storytelling tradition and visual language. When selecting the feature-length films, we turned the «corona emergency» into an «animation virtue»: Since only a few current releases are available at the moment, we had our community choose the reprises they would most love to see after the lockdown. The programme is rounded off by a marathon of TV series which was specifically designed for the 25th anniversary, and an invitation to the general public to enjoy a wonderful filmgoing experience at especially favourable prices. Thanks to comprehensive protection measures, Fantoche ensures a safe and welcoming atmosphere. And for those who are unable to attend this year, the festival has prepared a complementary online selection.
Fantoche is Female
Three feature films and three short film programmes curated by Eliška Děcká and the women of the Tricky Women Animation Festival shine the spotlight on real-life and imagined female characters as they take part in various animated tales and adventures. Animated film pioneer Lotte Reiniger will be honoured in the form of a retrospective, an exhibition at the Kunstraum museum in Baden, and a showing of her 1926 feature film set to live music. The Fantoche edit-a-thon will focus on adding key female animated filmmakers to Wikipedia as a way of balancing out the ratio of male-to-female articles on the site. Fantoche is also proud to be the eighth film festival in Switzerland to sign the Pledge for Parity and Inclusion at film festivals, as launched by SWAN (Swiss Women’s Audiovisual Network).
Besides this, Fantoche will be putting on an extensive supporting programme for young, old, industry insiders and casual viewers alike, including filmmakers offering their insights into the production process in Coming Soon and Making-of presentations, Animation Goes Multimedia exhibitions, the Industry Day, the ever-popular Fantoche shop and Bagno Popolare.
2019 Festival Coverage
2019 Festival Trailer
2018 Festival Coverage
73 short films are presented in our three competitions, 22 of them from Switzerland. Another particularly political, funny or profound 30 out of a total of 2349 submissions are shown „Hors Concours". Furthermore, there are 21 current feature films - including numerous Swiss premieres. But animation does not only take place in the cinema halls: from the „Bagno Popolare“, an exhibition at Kunstraum Baden, via the "Animated Busrides“ to the Augmented and Virtual Realities within the framework of „Animation Multimedial" there is much to discover, experience and to explore. In addition, there are "Fantoche Industry Day“ and new also the "Swiss Industry Night“, several workshops and happenings that invite to encounters and exchanges
The opening feature film «Funan» depicts life under the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia through a family that, despite separation, hunger and violence, never loses hope. This dark chapter of Cambodian history is contrasted with color-realistic, clear drawings of the incredibly beautiful landscape. Regular Fantoche visitors could already follow the process of the film: In 2016, Director Dennis Do presented this autobiographically inspired story as «Coming Soon» at the festival; long before he received several awards at Festival d’Animation Annecy. He will be present at Fantoche and will also answer questions at the opening-screening of his film.
Further political-historical films include the Oscar-nominated book adaptation «The Breadwinner», the Swiss production «Chris the Swiss», «Another Day of Life» about Ryszard Kapuściński and his doubts about the objective journalistic view on the war-torn Angola of the 70s. Or the comic adaptation «Un homme est mort» about a workers strike in France in the 1950s and the importance of film as an instrument of power.
More than a third of the programmed feature films are (also) for children: «Captain Morten and the Spider Queen» is the first feature film by the Estonian director, musician and screenwriter Kaspar Jancis, who has repeatedly shown short films in the Fantoche competitions. Morten wants to be a sailor - like his father, to whom the Irish actor Brendan Gleeson lends his voice. One day, this dream comes true as Morten wakes up onboard of his own toy ship. Jancis, to put himself in Morten's position, designed the storyboard on a ship from Rotterdam to the Antarctic. The result is a carefully made stop-motion movie full of quirky characters who dream and where anything seems possible.
Also in «Libro de Lila», there are also no limits to the imagination: the Colombian film is already special, «because it comes from Colombia, a country with no great film tradition and production possibilities», says festival director Annette Schindler, «and even more so because it was made by a female director, Marcela Rincón». Her protagonist Lila lives happily in a children's book until a storm tears her from the pages and she suddenly is followed by the vultures of oblivion. Only Ramon could save her, but he hardly seems to remember the heroine of his favorite children's book.
As well from Colombia comes «Virus Tropical», the film adaptation of the autobiographical graphic novel of the artist Power Paola. Paola is the third daughter of an Ecuadorian middle-class family. Her father is a priest, her mother is a «psychic» and her sisters are not what their parents expected. «Virus Tropical» is a coming-of-age movie about growing up as a latina, a unique female perspective that cannot be shaken by any crisis.
The Swiss filmmaker Anja Kofmel, will be talking about making-of her film «Chris the Swiss», which has already been celebrated at major festivals this year, and Jakob Schuh on «Revolting Rhimes». In addition, lead animator Kim Keukeleire and Head of Painting Roy Bell report on the creation of «Isle of Dogs».
2018 Fantoche trailer
This year's festival trailer is designed by the Geneva-based artist Sophie Laskar-Haller.
2015 Festival Coverage