'Nine Lives Left', 'Nightbloom' in the CEE Animation Forum 2023 Winners

Nightbloom by Kata Gugic animation film still

A total of 12 animation works were given the prizes of the 2023 CEE Animation Forum (8-9 November, Pilsen, Czech Republic).

The forum consisted of 28 projects in total (full lineup here), in 4 categories: animation shorts, series, features and Rising Stars (student works).

Greece was the winner in the feature category, with the children's animation project 'Nine Lives Left' by Zacharias Mavroeidis, a cat's winter Odyssey on an otherwise very touristic Greek island. The 2D/3D project targets 9+ audience age, and it is at the stage of early development.

The short film category had Croatia as the winner. Kata Gugić (Cockpera) won for 'Nightbloom', an investigation of night movements and bodily movements in a series of short scene compositions.

Flowing with surreal motion through a composition of short scenes, we follow different characters during a period of one night. Diving into their lives, peeking inside their homes, and roaming the empty streets. The flowers are in full bloom - Project synopsis

In the Series / TV Specials category, the Austrian/Bulgarian 'Rainy Days' project by Ani Antonova Hristova won the competition. The 3D animation project follows in 26 episodes 'the adventures of four little rains that cannot wait to grow up', targeted for a 5+ children's audience.

The Estonian student animation project  'Stuck in the Wasp Nest' by Agnes Milla Bereczki won in the Rising Stars category. A woman discovers she’s not able to overcome her fear of wasps by ignoring it while on a date.

I am very proud of every team on the stage – from debuting students fearlessly stepping in front of a professional audience for the first time, to experienced filmmakers unveiling a multitude of highly ambitious projects. Their creativity and courage defined the essence of our CEE Animation Forum  -Marta Jallageas, managing director of the CEE Animation Forum.

Full list of CEE Animation Forum 2023 Winners:

- My Little Heroes (d. Javier Galán, p. Ivan Agenjo, Peekaboo Animation, Fabrique Fantastique, Spain, Belgium)

- Winner: Nine Lives Left (d. Zacharias Mavroeidis, p. Maria Kontogianni, Wild at Heart, Greece)
Jury statement: We feel the potential of the story (at least we are going to discover what cats think of us!). But we feel this is not around the travel between childhood and teenager more about what we want for our life.

Related: 4 Animation Projects to Look for in the 2023 CEE Animation Forum

- Winner: Rainy Days (d. and p. Ani Antonova Hristova, Austria, Bulgaria)

Jury statement: We decided to give the main Award to Rainy Days for its great potential and unusual main character. We see the project as very original and poetic. We also appreciate the personal aspect, since it’s female family business, artistic cooperation of two generations.

- Special Mention: Dolls (d. Joachim Hérissé, p. Stéphanie Launay, Komadoli Studio, France)
Jury statement: We decided to award 'Dolls' with a Special Mention for its quality and originality. We appreciated its connection to the tradition of Czech puppet animation. We consider the project very artsy, a counterpart to consumerism, and also a very personal endeavor.

- Winner: Nightbloom (d. Kata Gugić, p. Vanja Andrijević, Bonobo Studio, Croatia)
Jury statement: For the quality of the artists' research, their originality, and their capacity to experiment with narrative through the creation of an entertaining and pop universe.

- Special Mention: Be Still My Heart (d. Melinda Kádár, p. Bella Szederkényi, CUB Animation, Hungary)
Jury statement: For the vulnerability of the process, the clarity of vision and risk taking, as an encouragement to push the surreal element further and deeper.

- Winner: Stuck in the Wasp Nest (d. Agnes Milla Bereczki, p. Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia)

Jury statement: The jury was impressed by the professional presentation and the author’s ability to process a personal trauma with honesty and humor. They were captivated by its original visuals and clear storytelling.

- Special Mention: It´s (Not) Yours (d. Santiago Ordoñez, p. Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonia)
Jury statement: This film tells a deep story with a minimalistic style. The jury was impressed by the maturity and the strong atmosphere behind, as well as by the expressive sound design that complemented the graphic visuals.

CEE Animation Workshop
- Riamise (d. Francesco Forti, p. Federico Turani, Ibrido Studio, Italy)

Ciclic Residency
- Nightbloom (d. Kata Gugić, p. Vanja Andrijević, Bonobo Studio, Croatia)

TV Paint
- Eruption (d. Zoe Nagy, p. MOME Anim – Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Hungary)

Cartoon Movie – direct access
- Dr. Hawl (d. Joanna Jasińska-Koronkiewicz, p. Anna Mroczek, Wojtek Leszczyński, Przemysław Pilarczyk, Likaon / WJT, Poland)
- MouMoush – the King of Plastic (d. Milorad Krstic, p. Radmila Roczkov, Hermina Roczkov, Hungary)

Young Horizons Industry – direct access
- Rainy Days (d. and p. Ani Antonova Hristova, Austria, Bulgaria)

Animarkt Stop Motion Forum – direct access
- Dolls (d. Joachim Hérissé, p. Stéphanie Launay, Komadoli Studio, France)

Night Bloom' Awarded at CEE Animation Forum 2023

'Rainy Days' awarded at CEE Animation Forum 2023

The CEE Animation Forum took place on 8 & 9 November 2023 in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

(central image: 'Nightbloom')

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