Winners have been announced for the fourth annual Se-ma-for Festival, the international stop motion animated film festival held in Lodz, Poland. During this year’s edition of the festival, which ran October 9-13, almost 250 animated films were screened with more than 50 international participants. Pixar art director/production manager Anthony Christov, Jens Gulliksen and Tim Allen -- co-workers of director Tim Burton -- and César Award winner Alain Ughetto were among the participants at Se-ma-for workshops and master classes.
At the evening gala held on Saturday, October 12, festival prizes were handed out -- Little and Big Peters -- statuettes inspired by the main character of the Academy Award winner Peter and the Wolf, produced by Se-ma-for, Poland’s top stop-motion animation studio and the organizing body of the Se-ma-for Festival. Fifty-four stop motion films took part in the International Competition, while 27 animations participated in Polish Competition.
In the professional section of the International Competition, Slovenian-German puppet animation Boles by Špeli Čadež was chosen a winner by a unanimous jury verdict. Boles is an astonishing story of Filip, the writer, and his mysterious neighbor Tereza, a prostitute who asks him to write for her a letter to her lover, Boles.
“Without never forgetting the importance of storytelling, the author managed to make us live an enjoyable experience, mixing a whimsical appeal with the depth of emotion, creating relatable characters that conquered us with their melancholy and reality,” said jury member René Chenier.
Signum by Witold Giersz led the Polish Competition. This film, created within last few years, tells about the origins of art-cave paintings.
The award for the best student animation went to Norwegian But milk is important by Anna Mantzaris and Eirik Grønmo Bjørnsen. The animated short follows the story of a man with a social phobia whom an imaginary friend (a downy personification of milk) is helping to break the barrier separating him from the outside world. “A very mature work for a student,” the jury said.
The prize for best children’s animation went to Hungarian Nyuszi és Öz (Rabbit and Deer) by Péter Vácz. Rabbit and Deer is a story about a deer and a couple of rabbits separated when moved into another dimension (pictured by combination of puppet dolls with cut-outs). The film was also chosen as the best by children voting for the Little Peter award, which means Rabbit and Deer was appreciated by adults as well as the youngsters.
The People's Choice Award was given to Katachi by Przemysław Adamski and Katarzyna Kijek -- a music video with an astounding mixture of colors and shapes.
The Little Peter award for the best debut movie was also given to the Polish Competition. Winner was Do serca Twego by Ewa Borysewicz. Three movies were also pointed out: On/Off by Piotr Ludwik, Katachi Adamski/Kijek duo, and Toto by Zbigniew Czapla who was a winner of Polish Competition last year.
The student award in International Competition was given to La Ravaudeuse by French director Simon Filliot. Belorussian Focus by Maria Matusevich and Canadian Fox and Chickadee by Evan deRushie ware awarded by the children.
During the Festival honorary awards – Big Peters – were also given. First of them went to Piotr Dumała, prominent Polish artist. Second one was given to an institution – National Film Board of Canada. In the name of the producer this award was accepted by René Chenier, head of the jury.
Nine jurors of International Competition were watching movies separated into three categories: professional, amateur and children animation. René Chenier, executive producer in National Film Board of Canada, was the head of professional jury. Susann Wach Rozsa, commissioner for animation at Federal Office of Culture in Switzerland, was a leader of student's competition jury. In Polish Competition Zbigniew Kotecki – director, screenwriter and operator – was leading the jury.
The closing gala was also an occasion to celebrate two jubilees. It has been a year since the erection of Se-ma-for Museum of Animation. 2013 is also a 20th year of Zbigniew Żmudzki's work for Se-ma-for. Żmudzki is a current director of Festival and also chairman of Se-ma-for studio, a person who is believed to have saved the studio in 2000 by transforming it into the commercial (non-governmental) venture devoted to production and distribution of stop motion films.
Source: Se-ma-for Stop Motion Film Festival