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Belgium’s 'Oh Willy' Wins AniFest Grand Prix Award

Belgian film “Oh Willy...” is awarded the Grand Prix prize at this year’s AniFest, the Czech Republic’s largest international festival specializing in animated films.

AniFest, the largest international festival specializing in animated films in the Czech Republic, has announced the winners of the 2013 competition, including short films, student´s films, non-narrative films, TV films, videos and films made by children.

Mainly the foreign authors were awarded, however, in spite of the stiff competition, some Czech films succeeded as well. Amongst awarded titles were: Party of the Dead (Jiří Vlach), which competed in the section “Films made by children aged 12-15” and the film Friends of Green Planet, included in the category “Films made by children under the age of 12.” Belgian film Oh Willy... was awarded the main prize of the festival Grand Prix.

“For the authors of animated films, it is very important to succeed here, because the competition is internationally recognized and respected. I am sorry that there were not more Czech films among the winners. We could see that the world production is on a high level and I believe that the interest in animated film production will rise in the future,” said festival director Petr Šplíchal. The jury announced the winners of the film competition on Tuesday evening during the official closing ceremony.

There were 149 films in the finals striving for the victory. The competition was initially entered by 1400 films. The main prize of the festival Grand Prix was awarded to the film Oh Willy..., made by Belgian authors Emmy De Swaef and Marc James Roelse. The title was complimented by the members of the jury Daniel Gies and Emily Paige: “The film is not only remarkable but also extraordinary; all the fans of animated film surely appreciate it.”

The Czech production was awarded in these categories „Films made by children aged 12-15” for the film Party of the Dead and “Films made by children under the age of 12” for the film with environmental topic, “Friends of Green Planet.” Children´s films were evaluated by the jury consisting of children of the same age 12-16. “According to the children´s jury, the film is funny with interesting and original story which the children made by themselves including sound,” commented children’s jury assistant Pavel Trnka, adding, “I noticed a very interesting fact. When children watched the film made by children in the show room, they understood them perfectly!”

Winning Films:


Grand prix: Oh Willy... (Emma De Swaef, Marc James Roels / Belgium, 2012 / 16min) -- Willy returns to the place of his youth, a naturist community, for the burial of his beloved mother. His return evokes in him strong memories from his childhood. On his thorny way back to his subconscious, he becomes a sort of “noble savage” who gets over all obstacles, reaches his goal and rests in peace. The same can be said about the viewers of this “woolen” short.

Short fillms (0 – 5 min): winner: LOVE OLYMPICS: Fencing (Grant Orchard | United Kingdom | 2012 | 2min 30s) -- This short and funny film from the series LOVE SPORT is a parody of the Olympic Games. In a humorous way it shows a fencing duel in which representative of the USA and of Italy fight for victory by all, permitted or banned, means. The film is based on grotesque situations and minimalist visual style.

Special mention: Hopfrog (Leonid Shmelkov / Russia / 2012 / 5min) -- Animals and other weird tiny creatures live in holes jumping up and down all day long. They create a picture of a carefree life full of fun, and it seems that nothing can disrupt it. But what if someone falls out of rhythm? A playful film about tiny creatures meeting each other, getting lost and found again is underscored by a melodic musical background, giving it a touch of nostalgia.

Short films (5 – 15 min): winner Tunnel (Maryam Kashkoolinia / Iran / 2012 / 7min 10s) -- Tunnel is a story of a man’s dramatic journey through hand-digged tunnel. The story draws inspiration from real cases in the Gaza Strip, where people dig tunnels in order to get to staples and other basic items. Father’s journey for sheep is threatened by numerous dangers. The sand animation is very suggestive and enables the viewer to feel the hero’s anxiety in deadly spaces.

Special mention: Bendito Machine IV (Jossie Malis / Spain / 2012 / 9min 54s) -- Bendito Machine IV is another episode from Jossie Malise’s original series. His “improbable” hero departs on a journey over the land, sea and skies and walks through a landscape of strange machines and fun fair attractions, which slowly changes into a petrochemical park. Malise uses poetry and visual style of his previous succesful films.

Short films (15-60min): winner Junkyard (Hisko Hulsing / Netherlands / 2012 / 21min 10s) - A man is robbed and then killed in the tube. In his last seconds before he dies he watches the crucial moments of his life. In a captivating manner, the film tells the tragic story of a boy from the city periphery full of criminality and drug trafficking. This action short uses the rotoscopy technique and has outstandingly acted characters.

Non-narrative / Experimental film: winner Recycled (Lei Lei / China / 2012 / 5min 32s) -- These scenes comes from long-term research conducted in the outskirts of Beijing. In the course of the research, over half a million 35mm color negatives were scanned, together assembling an image of the capital and its inhabitants over the last thirty years. The film is demanding for its condensed nature, using “only” 3.000 pictures for the animation.

Special mention: Pinball (Darko Vidackovic / Croatia / 2012 / 7min 30s)Just like in the popular fast game, the curve of the ball’s movement is not strictly given, once it was propelled into the playfield. The player tries to give the ball the right direction and the ball leaves a trail marking its movement, but not for long. What happens next is out of the player’s control. And perhaps the player doesn’t even know that anything is happening at all. Combining various animation techniques, we can observe at least something.

TV Film and Series:  winner Room on the Broom (Max Lang, Jan Lachauer / United Kingdom / 2012 / 25min) -- A friendly which makes her cat angry by inviting a strange mix of animal guests on her broom. Eventually, these save the witch from a dragon. In return, she makes an amazing broom on which there is enough room for everyone. A film about the importance of tolerance and friendship with outstanding 3D animation and pleasant stylization.

Special mention: Tom & The Queen Bee (Andreas Hykade / Germany / 2011 / 5min) -- his time bees can’t help Tom because all of them focus on the upcominig visit of the Queen Bee. But Tom doesn’t mind. All he wants is a slice of bread with strawberry jam and honey. Everything changes with the arrival of Her Majesty the Queen Bee, who’s wished to meet Tom since a long time ago. Another episode of a magic series.

Music Video: winner: Le Peuple de l'Herbe: Talking the Crash (Fourniret Wasaru / France / 2012 / 4min 26s) -- There is a model of a whole town inside a museum with countless animals living there in mutual agreement. However, this peace may not last forever… and that´s exactly the theme of the animated music video for the song Talking the Crash.

Special mention: The Phone Book Polka (Benjamin Swiczinsky / Austria / 2012 / 3min) -- A humorous video for the song of the American-Austrian lyrics writer and comedian George Kreisler takes place in the nostalgic times of Austria-Hungary. It is about a man reading through a phone book.

Jingles and Comercials: winner: Package Whispers (Monira Kamal / Germany / 2012 / 1min 50s) -- This playful, visually elaborated commercial with aquarelle tones shows how quick and easy it is to ship a package across the whole world.

Student Film: winner: Altneuland (Sariel Keslasi / Israel / 2012 / 6min 6s) -- In a place that looks like the end of the world, a group of people are waiting for a bus to get to a place called Altneuland. Only nobody has a clue as to where it is situated and whether it exists at all. The group is surrounded only by fallen electric wiring and the feeling of emptiness and despair. This meditative, visually powerful film is an allegory of today’s Israeli society.

Special mention: But Milk Is Important (Grønmo Bjørnsen, Anna Mantzaris, Eirik Mantzaris / Norway / 2012 / 10min 38s) -- A man suffering from social phobia is terrified when he realises that he is always accompanied by a weird and somewhat clumsy creature. What is more, the strange creature soon settles in his flat. The desperate man tries to get rid of the phantom and fails to see that it is actually trying to help him overcome his phobias. The authors took time not only with the very original story but also with peculiar puppets.

Audience Winner: Rabbit and Deer (Péter Vácz / Hungary / 2012 / 16min 44s) - A funny film about a deer and a rabbit who, at first, live in a content symbiosis. However, their lives flow carefree only until the deer decides to find the third dimension. For the two friends live in 2D animation and do not know 3D space. An obsessive search for another dimension brings some results but also threatens their relationship.

Children Winner in Films made by children up to 12 years category: Three Wires Make a Spring (Roberto Paganelli, Michela Donini | Italy | 2012 | 7min 29s) -- A group of children from San Marino coordinated by assistants from the OTTOmani studio created this rhythmical film during the SMIAF – Youth Knowledge Festival in 2012.

Special mention in Films made by children up to 12 years category: 1. Made of Bread --

Another experimental film coming from the Ottomani studio, this time using an utterly unusual material. Children used bread to capture bizarre, yet adventurous, journey aroundthe world., 2. “Přátelé zelené planety”.

Films made by children 12 - 15 years old category: winner Party of the Dead (Jiří Vlach | Czech Republic | 2012 | 2min 18s) -- Zombies and other monsters from the underworld decide to have some fun and organize a party. The party proves to be a success. And although local gravedigger doesn’t seem

Special mention in Films made by children 12 - 15 years old category: Apple Joe (Anna Altukhova | Russia | 2012 | 43s) -- Apple Joe is a well done parody of a western movie. Thieves are storming a town and want to plunder it. Will somebody stop them? This film was made during a workshop at the Stereoleto festival in Saint Petersburg.

Source: AniFest

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.