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26th INTERNATIONAL TRICKFILM FESTIVAL 30 April – 05 May 2019 and FMX 30 April – 03 May 2019 Stuttgart, Germany

DIVERSITY, DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM TAKE CENTER STAGE IN STUTTGART

DIVERSITY, DEMOCRACY AND FREEDOM TAKE CENTER STAGE IN STUTTGART

The Stuttgart Trickfilm Festival opened with the European elections barely a month away so the topics of diversity, democracy, and freedom were on many people’s mind.  That made for a thought-provoking festival.  It was fitting that the 26th edition of the festival was dedicated to Europe.

The Ministry of Justice of the European Union partnered with the festival to launch a festival film competition titled Animation For Europe.  The winner, Ode by Shadi Adib, was screened at the opening night ceremony.  In the film, three separate fishermen try to cope and survive on a stormy sea.  Finally, they realize that if they work together they will be much more successful.  The three fishermen make a net out of their fishing lines and throw it out to sea to catch a big fish.  Ode was an advertising spot the European elections, describing the moment when the idea of a common Europe emerged.

The Catch of the Day

Shadi was born in Iran and completed her masters’ degree at Tehran Art University.  She attended Filmakademie Baden-Wurttemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany where she made her previous film Fuse, a hand-drawn dark comedy about a group of men in a marketplace who are trying to decide how to kill a little mouse in a box.  One after the other they try to top each other’s sadistic fantasies.  As the macabre game unfolds and spirals out of control, both victim and tormentors suffer the same fate.

Shadi Adib and Nancy

The very creative Shadi even managed to get Nick Cave to do one of the voices for her Fuse, but since she was not an EU citizen, with only a residents’ permit at the time, she could not travel from Germany to London to record his voice herself.  She had to send a fellow classmate.

The festival was formally opened by Evelyne Gebhardt, Deputy President of the European Parliament, followed by the screening of the first six competition films that included the film Roughhouse by Jonathan Hodgson.  The hand-drawn fifteen-minute film, set in Liverpool, is an extremely brutal portrayal of bullying that gets completely out of hand.  It was one of my favourite films at the festival.

Roughhouse

During the director’s chat, Jonathan said that the film is loosely based on events from his own student days when he shared a flat with friends.  One of the students got into financial trouble and couldn’t pay his share of the rent.  Jonathan said that he and the other guys got angry with him because they were having to pay his share of the rent and he wasn’t doing anything in return.  It began as playful violence, but then it turned into psychological torture leading to a tragic outcome.  Roughhouse was the 2019 BAFTA Award-winning short animation.

Another film that caught my eye on opening night was Four Acts For Syria by Waref Abu Quba and Kevork Mourad.  Syrian history has been multicultural for centuries, and this fifteen-minute film traces Syrian culture up to today’s insanity and sends a message of peace and hope to the Syrian people from the two exiled filmmakers.  In 2016 Waref and Kevork won the Robert Bosh Stiftung prize for International co-operation for young filmmakers from Germany and the Arab world which enabled them to make Four Acts For Syria.

I am a big fan of Signe Baumane’s films so I was delighted to see Mother’s Song in competition.  It is a two and one half minute excerpt from Signe’s adult feature work in progress My Love Affair With Marriage.  Signe said that this first completed segment of the film is self-sufficient and almost a music video.  My Love Affair With Marriage is Signe’s personal story of love, gender, and marriage, infused with songs by mythological sirens as well as the neuroscience of falling in and out of love.

Throughout the feature film the main character, Zelma, gains a growing understanding of her place in the world as a woman.  In Mother’s Song thirteen-year-old Zelma discovers blood on her bedsheets on the night of the full moon.  Her mother and three Mythological Sirens rush to educate her about what it means to be a woman.

You can watch a new trailer of My Love Affair With Marriage on YouTube at:  https:youtu.be/qNEL44XuRWQ or Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/329002938

Visit Signe’s website to get the latest updates on the film’s progress and see pictures of what they are working on in the studio.  Signe is still seeking funds to complete the film so you can also become a backer of the project.  No amount of money is too small to donate.  The web site is: myloveaffairwithmarriage.com

At the festival, Signe and producer Sturgis Warner gave a presentation about their production to industry professionals at a Work In Progress session.  They showed clips from the film, pictures of their studio, and talked about their filmmaking process.

Signe Baumane introducing MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH MARRIAGE at the WORK IN PROGRESS session

It is not often that a film repulses me, grosses me out and yet at the same time has me laughing so hard, but Animals, Tue Sanggaard’s six-minute graduation film from The Animation Workshop did just that.  It is a dark comedy about society at its worst, full of bad taste down to a pregnant woman being punched in the stomach, yet it is an extremely funny movie.

Tue Sanggaard, Lotte Reiniger Promotional Award winner of ANIMAL, Ninke Deutz, Grand Prix winner for Bloiestraat 11 and Trix for Kids winner Martin Smatana for THE KITE celebrate

The plot revolves around what happens when nine people are trapped on a speeding train.  When the train doors fail to open at a train station the passengers are a little concerned.  When it happens again at the next stop and at the stop after that, panic, mayhem, and the worst of human behaviour sets in.

This year, instead of the usual five competition programs, there were six.  That meant that on Saturday evening there was a 20h (8 PM) screening and then a final competition program at 22h(10 PM).  I think that one International Competition program right after the other is too much.  I need to have time to think about the films that I have just seen and process them in my head.  I watched the sixth program, but I am sorry to say that I couldn’t give it the attention that it deserved.  I hope that in the future the festival will go back to five competition screenings.

The 2019 edition of the festival spotlighted Hong Kong.  The autonomous territory in South Eastern China is not known for its feature films, but it more than makes up for that with its rich output of short and experimental animations.  The seven films in The Moving Tales of Hong Kong Animation presented glimpses into different aspects of daily life in Hong Kong.  The screening began with the 2005 film The Tired City by John Chan and Pam Hung who form Hong Kong’s Postgal Workshop.  The nine-minute film portrays life in a big city which is becoming faster and faster at a rapid rate.

I particularly liked Shear Marks.  The 2015 film by Ho-tak Lam, Man-L Kwok and Kai-chung Ng focuses on the era of resettlement in Hong Kong and memories of the past.  When Chi looks at the lines marked on a lamppost where his parents have recorded his height as he was growing up, all of his childhood memories of his life in his former neighbourhood come flooding back.

Philip Kwok and Vincent Yip used a graphic novel style for their 2016 Chill and Shivering about a boy, Ah Zhai, who thought that his life was complete.  He was obsessed with his toys and lived in his own world as a child.  When he grows up and moves into his own flat he discovers that he is being haunted by his own late mother.  They didn’t have a good relationship.  At her funeral, he was barely present mentally and was on the phone the entire time.  Now his mother’s spirit has followed him to his new home, asking for a cure for her broken heart.  At last Ah Zhai must face his guilt.

A second program, Relentless Melt No. 11: Hong Kong International was curated by Hong Kong-based German video artist and experimental filmmaker Max Hattler.  The films in this program showcased a wide variety of techniques from drawing and stop motion to machinima and machine learning.  Topics ranged from social pressures to relationships and the pressures of urban life.

Max is the chairman of Relentless Melt, a Hong Kong-based experimental moving image society which puts on regular screenings.  He was a member of the festival’s Young Animation Jury as well as presenting a program of his own work.

KongKee and Wong Ping

Wong Ping and KongKee are two of Hong Kong’s most exciting young animators.  Wong Ping’s animations have been commissioned by M+, Nowness, and Prada.  He was also awarded a Prospectives 40 Under 40 Award.  His sexually explicit, politically incorrect animations such as Wong Ping’s Fables 1 & 2 take his extremely stylized animal characters through sequences of intense violence and bazaar sexual acts.  Inspired by Aesop’s Fables, each short vignette ends with a moral that is anything but moral.

Wong Ping’s fertile mind uses strong, bold colours to introduce us to such characters as a turtle dating a one-eyed elephant.  The turtle gets dumped by the elephant when she catches him checking out her younger sister’s underwear.  Wong Ping was also a member of the festival’s Young Animation Jury.

With Hong Kong animator KongKee

The second part of the screening was devoted to the work of comic book artist and animator KongKee.  His publications include the popular comic series Pandaman and Ding Ding.  In 2015 he was asked to create the comic book Travel To Hong Kong With Blur for the British band Blur.

Along with Lee Kwok Wai and Tsui Ka Hei Haze, he co-directed Dragon’s Delusion.  The film is an attempt to expand our imagination about the future beyond the limitations of our own times.  It won the HK2017 Regional Gold Award and a Gold Mention at Digi Con 6 ASIA.   KongKee was a member of the Trickfilm International Jury in Stuttgart.

From opera to science, the Trickfilm Festival had something for everyone.  Six programs under the heading of She Blinded Me With Science were curated by Dr Dorothea Kaufmann from the University of Heidelberg and Andre Eckardt of the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden.  The five programs of shorts ranged from The All Seeing Eye to Cells, Cells, Cells. 

Dr Dorothea Kaufmann and Andre Eckardt introducing their She Blinded Me With Science program

She Blinded Me With Science also included the 63 minute Max Reichmann gem Das Blumenwunder.  The German silent film visualized plant movements on a large scale for the first time.  The basic material for the time-lapse film made between 1922 and 1925 was originally intended for fertilizer promotion.  In combination with dance acts and allegorical scenes performed by the Berlin State Opera’s dance ensemble, the advertising shorts were then turned into a cultural film.  Dancers mimed the growth of plants.

The film premiered on the 25th of February 1926 at the Piccadilly Theatre in Berlin.  Receiving rave reviews at the time and celebrated by the audience as a huge success, Das Blumenwunder is now considered to be a rediscovered gem of silent history.

This year the annual Opera and Animation screening paid homage to Dutch animator Rens Groot and his beautifully drawn 1991 interpretation of The Magic Flute. Groot created the film to commemorate the 200th  anniversary of Mozart’s opera.  He single-handedly spent four years drawing and animating 165 minutes of film with pastel colours directly under the camera.  Along with the two animated acts of the opera, a short documentary about the making of the film by Daan Groot, Rens grandson, was also screened.

Lest you think the festival was getting too serious, there was Chris Shepherd’s very humorous Brexicuted – Bye Bye Britain.  Chris is a double BAFTA-nominated film and television writer and director.  His work fuses comedy with social commentary on the darker side of human nature.  His program certainly did that.

The screening led off with Chris’ six-minute film Brexicuted.  The satirical animation considers why Brexit is happening.  The day after the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU a variety of British citizens were interviewed about what motivated them to vote the way they did.  The results are funny, but also very unsettling.

Joanna Quinn’s 1993 Britannia gave us the history of the British Empire in six very tough in cheek minutes.  The program would not be complete without one of Phil Malloy’s wonderfully dark, wickedly humorous films; in this case, Thou Shall Not Covet the Neighbor’s Wife from his Ten Commandment’s series.

The program ended with the 1993 Oscar-winning Bob’s Birthday.  If Britain is going through a crisis so is Bob. When his wife Margaret plans a surprise birthday party for Bob, she underestimates his midlife crisis.  Much like Britain and Brexit.

In the Game Zone In the Game Zone

The Game Zone has become an important component of the festival.  It was larger than ever this year with 2,000 square meters devoted to computer games, VR experiences, and interactive installations.  In the Game Zone Talent area selected universities were invited to showcase their student’s newly developed games.  My favourite project was Deep Portrait, an interactive installation created by Ute Orner at Stuttgart Media University (HDM).  You could take a picture of yourself with a camera hooked up to a computer.  Then you selected a portrait by a famous artist such as Picasso, Munch, or Van Gogh and watched as your image was transformed into a painting in the style of the artist you opted for.

Nancy becoming a Picasso Nik as "painted by Picasso"

Five of the most innovative German games were nominated for the Animated Games Award Germany.  As well as being able to play all five games in the Game Zone, each evening one of the nominated games was played live at the Games Flash event on the large Open Air Screen.

The large open air screen

The winning game, Truberbrook, developed by Florian Kohne, took home the 5.000 Euro prize.  The game is set in the village of Truberbrook, a rundown health resort somewhere in rural Germany.  The story that follows may or may not include mad scientists, underground laboratories, dinosaurs, aliens, sea monsters, secret agents, ghosts, and of course a lot of strange villagers, depending upon your choices.  Florian said that his game was inspired in part by television series like The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Star Trek.

With Thomas Meyer-Herman, head of Studio Film Bilder

This year the renowned Stuttgart animation studio Film Bilder celebrated its thirtieth birthday with three events at the festival.  Along with animated shorts, music videos, television series, and features, the studio is known for such successful children’s series as Tom and the Slice of Bread With Strawberry Jam and Honey directed by Andreas Hykade which ran for several years on German television and their current series for small children Patchwork Pals by Angela Steffen.  The 26 episodes of Julia Ocker’s Animanimals have won over 50 awards at festivals as well as the prestigious German television award Grimme Preis in the Children and Youth category.  Animanimals features animals with little quirks such as a zebra who has gotten his stripes all mixed up.  While trying to find a solution to their problems each animal learns a little lesson about life.  The films are really delightful.  At the Film Bilder For Children screening episodes of the three series were shown along with other works for young people created by them.

Thomas Meyer-Herman introducing the Studio Film Bilder FOR ADULTS screening

The Film Bilder For Adults show featured some of my favourite films such as Andreas Hykade’s The Runt.  The ten minute drawn animation is about a boy who is given a baby rabbit that is the runt of the litter by his rabbit farmer uncle on condition that he takes care of it and then kills it in one year.

Another of my favourites on the program was the 1997 Rubicon where Gil Alkabetz tries to solve the age-old question “How can you get a wolf, a sheep, and a cabbage across a river one at a time without them eating each other?  The extremely funny film has won numerous awards.

The celebration culminated with a party at a local venue where we enjoyed such drinks as Patchwork Mules and Animanimanhattan along with beer and wine.  There was dancing until the wee hours of the morning too.

With festival Managing Director Uli Wegenast

The festival had so many screenings and event that it is impossible to write about everything.  At the press brunch with Managing Directors Dieter Kraub (organization and finance) and Professor Ulrich Wegenast (program), I learned that the 2019 edition of the festival set a new attendance record with over 80,000 people total at all of the events and 15,000 tickets sold for the cinema.  I also found out that the 2020 edition of the festival will focus on France as the guest country.  It will be held from 5-10 May 20020.

You can learn more about the festival at:   www.ITFS.de

Running concurrently with the festival from 30th April until 03 May, the FMX Conference and Forum featured more than 280 presentations, workshops, masterclasses, and screenings along with a market place.  This year’s theme Bridging the Gap highlighted worldviews and workflows that inspire exchange in the fields of animation, effects, games, and immersive media.  According to FMX Conference Chairman Andreas Hykade, “We especially want to explore how to unite artistic expression and technological invention, link human and artificial intelligence, take the leap from indie to IP, create social awareness through popular culture, cross over from education into the industry and bridge the gap between people and projects from around the world”.

For me one of the highlights at FMX was John Canemaker’s three History of Animation talks.  Comic strip and animation pioneer Winsor McCay was the subject of the first session.  The second presentation focused on the work of two masters of the Golden Age of American studio animation, Vladimir Tytla and Milt Kahl.

Tytla was an animator at the Disney Studio in the 1930s and ’40s.  On Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, he and Fred Moore were put in charge of animating the seven dwarfs.  He also animated Stromboli in Pinocchio, Yen Sid and Chernabog in Fantasia, and Dumbo in the film of the same name.

Milt Kahl was one of Disney’s Nine Old Men.  He was considered the finest draughtsman at the studio.  For many years the final look of characters in the studio’s films such as Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan was designed by Kahl.

In his third session, Canemaker referenced his book The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis and the Secrets of Walt Disney’s Movie Magic.  Schultheis was a photographer and technician in the Disney Special Effects Department best known for his work on Fantasia, Pinocchio, Dumbo, and Bambi.  He documented advanced special techniques used in Disney films in a notebook titled Special Effects.

At the other end of the spectrum, Jeanette Bonds, Director of the Glas Animation Festival conducted separate conversation sessions with four different indie animators during her Wild and Strange program.  First up was Swiss animator and game designer Michael Frei.  With game designer Mario von Rickenbach, he turned his first film Plug and Play into a game.  Now his latest film Kids, an experience about crowds of people and how they coexist, is available on PC, iPhone, and Android.  In their conversation, Jeanette and Michael talked about what is involved in turning an animated film into a game.

Boris Labbe’s film La Chute (The Fall) has won numerous awards.  If Breughel could see Labbe’s version of heaven and hell I am sure that he would relate to it.  The film is a jarring experimental vision of the world’s order falling apart.  At his conversation with Bonds titled Boris Labbe’s Audio Visual Trajectory:  Between Animation, Video Art, and Experimental Cinema he talked about his approach to creating.

Slug Life

British animator Sophie Koko Gate’s latest film Slug Life has attracted a great deal of attention.  The six-minute animation follows a day in the life of Tanya, a curious woman who has developed a taste for nonhuman lovers.  At FMX Sophie screened Slug Life.  She also focused on the genesis of the project, how the film was designed and animated, and how she hopes audiences will respond to her self-described “ugly film making style”.

Tomek Popakul’s Acid Rain won the Grand Prix at Glas this year along with numerous awards at other festivals, so it was very fitting that Jeanette Bonds ended with a conversation with the Polish animator.  His previous film Black, about a pair of astronauts trapped on an orbital space station due to a nuclear war that erupted on earth, has a stark black and white palette.  In contrast, Acid Rain is in vivid colours with basic grungy purple and green very prominent.  The story centres on a young girl who has run away from home and meets the wrong sleazy guy.  The soundtrack plays a very important role in the film adding just the right eerie note.

Virtual Reality has come a long way from its beginning as a quirky way to fight battles or climb Mount Everest.  It has moved into the realm of serious storytelling.  Indian born, Berlin-based Gayatri Parameswaran is a VR/360 degree creator, documentary filmmaker, and journalist who has made a name for herself with such subjects as slavery in Iraq and intimate partner violence in India.  At FMX she spoke about her interactive VR experience Home After War, the story of an Iraqi father who returns to Fallujah to face the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).  Through Gayatr’s VR experience you join him in his home and discover the unfolding of a tragic event.  It was a very intense experience.  You could also try out sixteen other VR projects at the VR Space.

Nik trying out one of Epic Games offerings at the FMX boot

With four days and ten rooms full of speakers, it was impossible to see and hear it all but take my word for it, there was something for everyone from Jan Pinkava’s Keynote speech Bridging the Gap Between Art and Tech to Highlights of Siggraph and four segments on Sound Design.  Along with the speakers, the Marketplace featured over 30 experienced and aspiring hardware and software companies and projects.  It was a showcase platform and networking hub to present and discuss current industry trends.

RISE Visual Effects Studio's recruiting booth in the FMX Recruiting Hub

Young, as well as experienced professionals, had the opportunity to meet employers from throughout the world at the Recruiting Hub.  Over two dozen companies from the fields of animation, VFX, design and games were on hand, looking for new talent to work on their latest projects.

During the Recruiting Presentations, companies from the Recruiting Hub spoke about their recent and upcoming projects and presented their facilities and work benefits.  They also showed excerpts of their work.  It was an excellent opportunity for job seekers to get a thorough overview of a prospective employer.

Media design and technology facilities and programs from throughout the world presented their courses and facilities at the School Corner.  Potential students got firsthand information about the various schools from lecturers, alumni, and current students.  This year for the first time FMX was open to prospective students on Wednesday and Thursday.  This gave young people the opportunity to learn about jobs in the industry and to talk to universities about training and study opportunities.

You can learn more about FMX at:  www.fmx.de

Whether you are interested in watching excellent animation or immersing yourself in the tech world Stuttgart is the place to be for six days in May.  A big thank you to everyone in the Trickfilm Office, always so helpful whenever I needed to know anything and to Nora Hieronymus, FMX Public Relations and Press Liaison for her special acts of kindness.

Nora Hieronymus, FMX Public Relations and Press Liaison, Nancy, and FMX Conference Chair Andreas Hykade at the FMX Speakers Cocktail Party

The Winners:

Grand Prix

State of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the City of Stuttgart Grand Award for Animated Film with a cash prize of 15,000 €

“Bloeistraat 11“

Director: Nienke Deutz

Belgium, Netherlands 2018

Production: Lunanime

“The story of the friendship between two young girls takes us back on a journey to our childhood and lets us almost physically re-live memories. With an unusual use of materials, which are a fundamental part of the storytelling, and subtle design the director evokes a closeness of feelings we all connect to. Pure and honest, the film creates the magical atmosphere that only cinema, in its best way, can achieve.”

Special Mention:

“I’m going out for cigarettes“ (“Je sors acheter des cigarettes“)

Director: Osman Cerfon

France 2018

“In a fresh combination of bold graphics, absurd humor, a touching coming-of-age-story is told, putting us inside the life of a contemporary family using surprising scenes. The director lets us empathize, in an expressive and edgy way, with a young boy who is trying to cope with the emptiness of a missing father. We are curious to see more films from this director.”

Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award for Animated Film

Award for the best graduation film with a cash prize of 10,000 €, sponsored by MFG Film Funding Baden-Wuerttemberg

“Animals”

Director: Tue Sanggaard

Denmark 2019

Production: The Animation Workshop

“We are set into a social observation scenario that pushes us to face the underlying animal-like behaviour, that challenges our daily life in a controlled civil environment. The lively character design and animation contributes to this precise analysis of primeval human instincts.”

SWR Audience Award

With a cash prize of 6,000 €, sponsored by SWR.

“Mind my mind“

Regie: Floor Adams

Netherlands, Belgium 2019

Produktion: CinéTé filmproduktie, Fabrique Fantastique, Curious Wolf

Young Animation

Award for the best student film with a cash prize of 2,500 €, donated by the Landesanstalt für Kommunikation Baden-Wuerttemberg and MFG Film Funding Baden-Wuerttemberg

“Sounds good“

Director: Sander Joon

Estonia 2018

Producer: Priit Pärn, Olga Pärn

“Art exhibitions, mushrooms and boom operating are a unique combination, even for animation. Sounds Good explores those under-appreciated topics in a playful and experimental way. The sound-driven film connects an intriguing rhythmical montage with unconventional perspectives and a reduced graphic style and colour scheme. For us, this sounds good. Looks good. Feels good, too.”

Special Mention:

“It’s wet!“ (Ça mouille!! )

Director: Alexis Godard, Nan Huang

France 2018

Producer: Alexis Godard, Nan Huang

AniMovie

Award for the best animated feature film – “Mirai No Mirai“ (Mirai – Das Mädchen aus der Zukunft)

Director: Mamoru Hosoda

Japan 2018

Producer: Yuichiro Saito, Takuya Ito, Yuichi Adachi, Genki Kawamura, Nozomu Takahashi

Studio Chizu

“We would like to thank everyone involved with the festival for inviting the three of us to work together on this jury. First, we would like to acknowledge every filmmaker who submitted a film for consideration, and particularly the ten whose films we viewed in the past week. Each one was a labour of love and clearly born of a deep desire to tell their story. We chose the film "Mirai No Mirai". We appreciated so much the filmmakers inviting us into this home, and offering us the opportunity to watch this family grow together, and to help us understand our deep and human connection to those who came before us.”

FANtastic Award

The FANtastic Award with a cash prize of 1,000 €. Donated by the Animation Family, the most faithful fans of ITFS.

“Bear with me”

Director & Producer: Daphna Awadish

Netherlands 2018

“It’s the little things that count. Everyday life, small rituals after a hard days’ work, a stroll at the lake. These little things mean so much, especially if they cannot be enjoyed daily. Our winning film tells these miniature stories, underlining in the truest sense of the word the experiences of immigrants and points out that home is where the heart is. We are very happy to award the FAN-tastic Price to “Bear with me” and welcome Daphna Awadish to the Animation Family!”

Tricks For Kids:

Award for the best children’s animated film with a cash prize of 4,000 €, sponsored by Studio 100 Media | m4e

“The Kite“ (Sarkan)

Regie: Martin Smatana

Czech Republic, Slovenia 2018

Production: Bfilm

"... because it’s beautiful. We liked the way the subject of ageing and dying was presented. The film was sad, but it also gives courage and shows that beloved people never really leave us, but live on through our memories... perhaps above the clouds, perhaps with a dragon.”

German Animation Screenplay Award award for the best German-language screenplay for an animated feature film with a cash prize of 2,500 €, donated by Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart

“Aisha’s Light“ from Xavier Romero and Llorenç Español

“AISHA’S LIGHT is a classic and at the same time ever-so-current tale about friendship and the bringing together of different religions and traditions. It is also an action-packed adventure which seeks to illuminate the screen with the “fireworks of enlightenment” – and we are very much looking forward to seeing it!”

German Voice Actor Award

Award for the best German voice actor in an animated feature film

Otto Waalkes in “The Grinch”

“Often in animated films one expects a firework of gags and overwhelming images - and "The Grinch" certainly has that to offer - but here, thanks to Otto's art of language, quite universal and fundamental questions of community and living together are posed, which we have increasingly lost lately."

Germany’s Next Animation Talent

Award for a creative, innovative project with a cash prize for nominees and the winner in total of 35,000 €, donated by Studio 100 Media GmbH | m4e AG

“Juli auf dem Zauberberg“ from Elisabeth Jakobi

“Juli auf dem Zauberberg” is full of witty details and interesting visual solutions, and the series captivates us by being close to reality and far from it at the same time. This is all the more astonishing, as the outlandish characters have absolutely nothing to do with writer Elisabeth Jakobi’s family environment! The visual style, the first scribbles and mood pictures for “Juli auf dem Zauberberg” give us an idea of its international potential, while the created life-world could serve as a blueprint for any German patchwork family. With its subtle humour, sometimes absurd storylines, and droll cast of characters, the series project never comes across as patronising or tiring. At every turn, new adventures and surprises await us, fascinating young and old alike. And when Juli can overcome her fear of spiders alongside the course of the series too, it has a marvellous pedagogical side effect. But, same as everything else in “Juli auf dem Zauberberg”, this is a matter of sheer coincide.

Trickstar Business Award

Award for innovative business concepts in the field of animation with a cash prize of 7,500 €, donated by Verband Region Stuttgart

“CoboStories” from Copenhagen Bombay

“CoboStories is an app and a physical stand that allows teachers and pedagogues to create stop motion movies and digital books with children and pupils. The tool supports teaching in a creative process and is based on the 21st century learning skills as well as the “4 C’s”: Creativity, Critical thinking, Collaboration and Communication. CoboStories, developed by the Danish media house Copenhagen Bombay, impressed us not only with an exceptionally well-developed and scalable business model but also with a great product that is worth promotion and support. We particularly admire CoboStories’ mission to tackle a socially relevant issue by offering children a playful approach to digital media that encourages creativity through a unique combination of digital and physical tools. There is no doubt in our minds that Sarita Christensen and her team will lead CoboStories to the successful future it is deserving of.”

Special Mention:

“Smosh Mosh“ von Kinky Udders

Animated Games Award Germany

Award for the best animation based German computer game, which is characterized by the best visual design an aesthetics with a cash prize of 5,000 €, donated by MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg

“Trüberbrook“ (Developer: btf GmbH, Florian Köhne, Publisher: Headup GmbH)

Special Mention: “The Longing“ from Studio Seufz GbR and Anselm Pyta

“The degree of innovation of the design is outstanding. The warm, hand-made backdrops invite you to explore and linger. Above all, the handcrafted quality of the backdrops used makes Trüberbrook *the* game of the year.”

Arab Animation Forum Pitching Award

“Traitors of the Eyes“ from Abdelrahman Dnewar and Saad Dnewar

“The jury was impressed by the high standard of all projects. We were touched by all the pitches and those stories the world needs to see. It was a difficult choice but there was one story that really moved us. “Traitors of the Eye” is a story of loss, identity and secrets, a personal and yet universal exploration that says a lot about families around the world. It uses strong symbolism to convey a moving message. We know how challenging this will be for the creators, but we trust that their story needs to be told.”

Crazy Horse Session – 48h Jam

Team China (ZiYi Jin, ZiQian Zhao) with “Horse“.

Special Mention: Team Libanon (Noura Kabbani, Louay Daoust) with “TR1-X1“.

“All of the films in this year’s competition are equally impressive and it is always a shame that there can only be one winner. We would like to firstly give a special mention to Noura and Louay from Lebanon for their film “TR1-X1”.

This year’s winning entry goes to the team from Beijing, China. The strength of the story was matched by the skills of the artists. The film was strong in content, nicely animated in the time allowed and the camera, timing and overall storytelling really stood out. Congratulations to Jin and Zhao!“

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