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‘Acid Rain,’ ‘The Prince’s Voyage’ Take Top Prizes at First Digital ITFS Edition

27th International Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film first OnlineFestival + concludes six days of live streaming of more than 250 shorts and features with a live awards ceremony.

Concluding six days of digital streaming with an awards ceremony streamed live on the Festival website and its Facebook channel, the first digital edition of the International Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film concluded Sunday evening. Winners were presented and their video messages of acceptance were shared with viewers.

As a result of the cancelation of this year’s ITFS edition, for the first time, the Festival was presented in a digital edition true to the motto “Stay Animated – Go online with ITFS.” The program included free live streams with new talks and film programs each day, a virtual GameZone, the VoD section OnlineFestival+ with more than 250 animated films including the almost complete competition program 2020, and the OnlineFestival Pro section for professionals.

The demand for the programs, the personal feedback received, and the exchange with viewers and the international animation community, exceeded festival organizers’ expectations.  The general public made extensive use of the online offers, as did professional users such as distributors, world sales agencies, other festivals, and filmmakers, who were given access to additional programs during the Festival. Around 105,000 views in the live stream and in the OnlineFestival+ area have shown that the offer is well received. In addition, 4,000 votes were registered for the SWR OnlineFilm Audience Award. About 25% of the Professional Tickets OnlineFestival Pro came from outside Germany.

According to artistic managing director Ulrich Wegenast, “We are overwhelmed by the great demand and the positive feedback on our received by users as well as filmmakers. Despite the digital approach, a perhaps new kind of Festival flair has been created, particularly by the programs streamed live. We are particularly happy that this year people all over the world had the chance to see our great competition films and supporting programs. That was the way we could give honor to the filmmakers this year.”

“In this year of the coronavirus, we have been faced with many challenges which we have been able to overcome thanks to the support of our sponsors and partners as well as the encouragement from our fans,” said commercial managing director Dieter Krauss. “We will certainly integrate the experience and know-how gained in the planning of our upcoming Festivals, where hybrid formats will offer the opportunity to provide our fulfilment of public service with a broader perception on an even more international level, thus to reach significantly more people.”

The award winners will be invited to attend the opening of the 28th ITFS on May 4, 2021 and receive their golden Trickstars in person. In addition, all entries to the competitions of ITFS 2020 will be shown on the big cinema screen at ITFS 2021 so that they still have the chance to experience the Festival feeling and for direct exchange with audiences.

The next, 28th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film will take place from May 4 to 9, 2021.

The complete list of prize winners is as follows:

Grand Prix

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

Acid Rain

Director: Tomek Popakul

Production: Animoon Studio (Piotr Szczepanowicz, Grzegorz Wacławek)

Poland 2019

“In coming to decide the winner of this year’s Grand Prix, the short film jury were uniquely impressed by a film whose strength of vision was matched by the boldness of its execution. Through an immersive and radically modern style, this film perfectly illustrates a subculture with specific problems and challenges. It boasts a compelling and relatable story that takes on difficult themes around social engagement, personal demons and loss of control with empathy but without romanticism.

An uncompromising work of art and a trip into the depths of a fluorescent, psychedelic world, the power of this film lies in its synthesis of impressive sound, aspects of rave culture and socio-political issues that are rarely in the spotlight. This film forcefully pulls us into a seemingly unending trip, boasting a strong female lead and astounding storytelling that takes our attention from the very beginning to its unexpected end.”

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

Kujiranoyu (Bath House of Whales)

Director: Mizuki Kiyama

Production: Tokyo University of the Arts (Koji Yamamura)

Japan 2019

“In picking the winner of the Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award, the jury were drawn to a film about intimacy and amazement in an adults’ world. Drawing upon Japanese print traditions in the creation of its ethereal visuals, this film evokes the sense of wonder that accompanies a child’s inclusion into the daily rituals of society. With a keen sense of animation and solid direction, the audience can feel the emotions of the film through the rhythm of the bodies, colours and sounds. The film’s visuals are also matched by the richness and cultural identity of its musical score. In a very brief time the director successfully conveys a special atmosphere between mother and daughter in a shared, distinctly female moment.”

Tricks for Kids

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

La vie de château (My Life in Versailles)

Director: Nathaniel H’limi, Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat

Production: Sacrebleu Productions (Lionel Massol, Pauline Seigland)

France 2019

Special Mention

Coeur Fondant (Melting Heart Cake)

Director: Benoit Chieux

Production: Sacrebleu Productions (Ron Dyens)

France 2019

“The winner of the Children’s film competition is “My life in Versailles” by Nathaniel H’limi and Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat. The film stood out because of its honest and child-friendly depiction of a young girl overcoming tragedy. The jury would like to give a special mention to "Melting Heart Cake" by Benoit Chieux for its imaginative and heartwarming tale about friendship.”

Young Animation

Award for the best studend film with a cash prize of 2,500 €, sponsored by the Landesanstalt fuer Kommunikation Baden-Wuerttemberg and MFG Film Funding Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Dcera (Daughter)

Director: Daria Kashcheeva

Production: FAMU – Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Ondřej šejnoha, Zuzana Roháčová, Martin Vandas)

Czech Republic 2019

“Moments of misunderstanding and an interplay between two people, who are close to each other but yet so far. A very touching story about a father and daughter relationship, represented in a very special and creative way. Delicate and deep emotional depiction, the film displays a very high level of story telling in a way that a few student films does. The camera work is very effective, using a unique economic labor without forgetting sensibility and emotion.”

Special Mention


Director: Matisse Gonzalez

Production: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg – Animationsinstitut (Toufik Abdebaim,Matisse Gonzalez)

Germany 2019

“What does it mean to reach the stars? And what, to fall into a whole deep under the earth? A very mature approach on the believe, that one could accept what he or she has, no matter what. Highs and lows are good enough if you can see the good sides of it. Gravedad by Matisse Gonzalez takes us with her lovely and original style into this magic and very whimsical world.”

SWR OnlineFilm Audience Award

Awards for the film with best rating in section OnlineFestival+, with a cash prize of 6,000 €, funded by Südwestrundfunk (SWR)

Uzi (Ties)

Director: Dina Velikovskaya Producer: Florian Grolig

Germany, Russia 2019

FANtastic Award

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

Fragmente (Fragments)

Director: Jonas Hurrle

Production: DHBW Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg

Germany 2020

Special Mention

The Fox & The Pigeon

Director: Michelle Chua, Aileen Dewhurst, Sharon Gabriella, Viktor Ivanovski, Sang Lee, Tyler Pacana, SiKyung Kevin Sung, Morgan Thompson, Chelsea van Tol, Matt Walton, Steven Wang

Production: Sheridan College

Canada 2019

“We would like to start with our special mention: A little fox stole our heart, Although the story fell apart. A fluffy dove then joined the fun. And so a friendship soon began. Therefore we send our special mention To send them both to a new dimension! Thank you Michelle Chua, Aileen Dewhurst, Sharon Gabriella, Viktor Ivanovski, Sang Lee, Tyler Pacana, SiKyung Kevin Sung, Morgan Thompson, Chelsea van Tol, Matt Walton and Steven Wang for your film The Fox & the Pidgeon.

Choosing our winner was hard. The variety and quality of all films was breathtaking, but there is one film that truly stood out… We are more than the sum of our belongings. But these are the things that stay behind when a beloved person dies. New, truly unique stories form between all of the memoires. The floating spines of books, the stair lift to uncertainty and a stack of ID cards telling the story of a soldier’s life are only a few elements of this stop trick film giving us a very personal view of the death of the grandfather. We can hear his voice on the answering machine, delve deep into his life and are given a musical farewell. Jonas Hurrle’s film Fragmente is lovingly made and illustrates with apparently easy techniques a long life and its end. Congratulations on winning the “FANtastic Award” and welcome to the Stuttgart Animation Family!”

Trickstar Nature Award

Award for an international animated short film production that deal with the topics of climate protection, biodiversity, environment and sustainability in an informative, entertaining but also humorous way, with a cash prize of 7,500 €, sponsored by region Stuttgart

Au pays de l’aurore boréale (Northern Lights)

Director: Caroline Attia

Production: Folimage (Reginald de Guillebon)

France, Switzerland 2019

Northern Lights is a film with clear but poetic images and a strong emotional impact. The film grasps the viewer by telling a solid story about the cautious relationship of a grandchild and her grandfather. The film doesn’t give straight answers or is convicting but raises questions about our relation to the nature to think about. The short film Northern Lights receives the Trickstar Nature Award 2020 for its subtle and creative approach of the topic of climate change.”

Special Mention

Terre de vers (Worms of Earth)

Director:  Helene Ducrocq Production: Citron Bien, Pierre Dron

France 2019

“Multicolored and minimalistic design with a song that you won't get out of your head anymore, the great performance of earthworms is told in the complex structure of nature. At the same time, the fatal effects of industrial agriculture are simple but impressively illustrated. But there is hope: with the termination of industrial agriculture, there will be a renewing and revival of soil culture. For this stirring, humorous and also serious homage to earthworms, we award Worms of Earth with the ‘Trickstar Nature Special Mention’.”


Award for the best animated feature-length film

Le voyage du prince (The Prince’s Voyage)

Director: Jean-François Laguionie, Xavier Picard

Production: Blue Spirit Productions, MÉLUSINE PRODUCTIONS (Eric Jacquot, Armelle Glorennec, Stéphan Roelants)

France 2019

“It is a fantastic and philosophical fable story. It has an incredible contemporary touch, although it describes a very different time. It tells us to be without fear towards the outside or to things strange and unknown to us. It shows us that there are different ways to life a live, ways that shouldn’t be judged. It gently tells us to protect nature and our society - and last but not least to be careful with each other. The film is beautifully executed and animation and story complement each other excellent in a simple but beautiful presentation and we are sure that it will find a huge audience amongst all ages.”

Special Mention

L'Extraordinaire Voyage de Marona (Marona's Fantastic Tale)

Director: Anca Damian

Production: Sacrebleu Productions, Marmitafilms, Aparte Film, Minds Meet (Anca Damian, Ron Dyens, Tomas Leyers)

Romania, France, Belgium 2019

“Our Special mention goes to Marona’s Fantastic Tale by female filmmaker and director Anca Damian from Romania. The film is produced by Anca herself, Ron Dyens and Thomas Layers from France and Belgium. The story about a dog’s life is an expressionistic, colorful and visual adventure about human life in its essence told though a dog’s point of view. It’s rare and daring animated originality deserves a special mention. The film is like an invitation to open doors to other dimensions. It lets us experience art in its fullest form. In its essence the film is a warm and touching story about love and belonging. It is rare to see such a daring execution in a feature film, never losing its red thread and always staying true to itself and therefore the film deserves a very special mention and conquered our hearts.


Award for a German screenplay with the greatest international market potential, with a cash prize of 1,500 €, sponsored by PINK PARROT MEDIA

Der letzte Sänger der Wale (The Last Whale Singer)

Author: Reza Memari, Production: Telescope Animation GmbH, Berlin, Producer: Maite Woköck

“The coming-of-age story of Vincent, a teenage humpback whale on the search for his mystical song in order to save the oceans from a menacing monster, serves as a beautiful reminder for us two-legged mammals, that we too better grow up and find our own ‘voice’ before we destroy our own environment to the point of no return. Like well-played music, The Last Whale Singer has the ability to cross over ages and cultures. It offers us a song of hope, and one can truly hope, it will not be the last.”

German Animation Screenplay Award

A cash prize of 2,500 €, sponsored by the Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart (AMCRS)

Stichkopf (Stitch Head)

Author: Steve Hudson

Production: Gringo Films GmbH, Cologne, Producer: Sonja Ewers

Co-production: Fabrique d’images, Studios: Lavalabs, Studio Rakete, Pixomondo

“At a time when people are afraid to go outside lest they are attacked by an unseen ‘monster,’ the jury was very much taken by this family of monsters who is afraid to leave their castle  lest they meet… a human. This timeless  tale of  a  boy seeking the love  and  affirmation  of  his creator-father gets a modern  capitalist-twist: Stitch-Head, the boy monster, runs off to the outside world and mistakes the enthusiasm of his captor, the owner of a wandering freak-show on the brink of bankruptcy, for love. Disillusioned, the Prodigal Son returns home to protect his family from the real monster: human greed. By doing so he wins the love and affirmation of his father, which were always there. A story about what truly matters in life, in sickness and in health.”

Special Mention

Lukas und das Paradoxi

Author: Henning Ricke, Produktion: Lumatik Film GmbH, Cologne, Producer: Martin Borowski

“Already in its treatment phase, Lukas and the Paradoxi made the jury laugh out loud and embrace the inner chaos, which lies in each and every one of us, brilliantly brought to life in this film in the shape of the Paradoxi. This charming tale of finding the right balance between order and chaos, the adult and the child worlds, won the hearts of the jury. We look very much forward to read the completed script and see the Paradoxi in action.”

Trickstar Business Award

The prize recognizes innovative business models in the animation industry, with a cash prize of 7,500 €, EUR, sponsored by Region Stuttgart

For the first time, the Trickstar Business Award will be split this year, with half going to a project and half to a company.


Good enough: Burnout Diary

Studio Pupil, Tünde Vollenbroek (Produzentin/Producer), Dario van Vree (Filmemacher/Filmmaker)

Niederlande/The Netherlands

Good enough: Burnout Diary addresses an issue of great social importance, affecting people from all social strata. The project by Tünde Vollenbroek and Dario van Vree started with a graphic novel, guiding readers though Maaike’s very personal story by means of her burnout diary. The jury particularly liked the 360-degree approach: In addition to a TV format, apps for persons affected by burnout are being planned as well as a social media campaign, workshops, and a special card game. The relaxed and easy narrative style and the pleasantly playful characterization of the female protagonist are impressive. At the same time, the project conveys profundity and seriousness and provides comprehensible insight into the topic, which is helpful to those concerned too. Alongside the artistic work with its unique visual style, the jury has also been much impressed with the marketing strategies and revenue models.”


E.D. Films

Owner: Archita Ghosh, Daniel Gies, Emily Paige, Canada

“E.D. Films, a company founded in 2007 and located in Montreal, Canada, is an award-winning animation studio headed by Archita Ghosh, Emily Paige, and Daniel Gies. In addition to offering the full range of animation-related services and setting up a library of its own animation productions, E.D. Films have created a catalogue of technical IPs in the course of their own projects which is, by now, quite remarkable. These tools for digital image and sound design for, e.g., Photoshop, Maya, AfterEffects and Unreal, are offered by E.D. Films in their own online shop. With this range of products and services, the company has established a diversified market position and significantly increased chances for economic success, with a lasting effect. An exemplary business model.”

Animated Games Award Germany

Award for an animation-based computer game from Germany with the best visual design and aesthetics, with a cash prize of 7,500 €, EUR, sponsored by MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Wuerttemberg mbH.

Song of Bloom

Entwickler/Developer: Philipp Stollenmayer, kamibox e.K. Deutschland/Germany, 2019

“The winning game unleashes flowers in one´s mind – in the graphic presentation, which combines new forms of animation made of stop motion and clever game design. Mechanics result from a repetitive approach to a narrative, which opens up a different surprise each time like a mantra.

From an artistic point of view, the work is particularly exciting in its implementation. It is an associative game with signs from everyday life. This results in new forms of animation, cleverly embedded in an exciting game flow. It skilfully uses the possibilities and conditions of mobile devices:

Gyro sensors are smartly combined with 2D and tilting into the three-dimensional. And last but not least, even the essence of the game is made tangible by spontaneously tilting into the real world (using the hardware). Thus Song of Bloom is a game between worlds – the interface, the animation, the narration and the game experience. It’s surprising, weird and innovative!”

Source: ITFS

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.