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‘The Torture Letters’ Takes Best in Show at SPARK Animation 2020

‘BoxsBallet,’ ‘My friend who shines in the night,’ and ‘Seoulsori,’ also take home awards in an online ceremony from the 12th annual festival, running through November 8; WIA Diversity Award winners also announced.


VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA The SPARK Computer Graphics Society (Spark CG) has partnered with Women in Animation (WIA) to present the fourth annual WIA Diversity Awards, which recognize and honor individuals, films, and organizations that have made a significant impact in expanding the diversity of voices in the art and industry of animation.

The awards presentation ceremony is available to view online during the 12th Annual SPARK ANIMATION Film Festival from October 29 to November 8. The awards program is available as part of the $25 Festival Pass.

Laurence Ralph honored for The Torture Letters

The WIA board of directors voted to award the 2020 WIA Diversity Award for Individual Achievement to filmmaker and Princeton University Professor of Anthropology Laurence Ralph for his animated documentary short, The Torture Letters. Fueled by his own personal history of harassment by the Chicago Police, Ralph’s well-researched short connects the drug trade, police abuse and mass incarceration to the disease, disability, and premature death impacting urban residents of color.

WIA President Marge Dean is pleased to honor Ralph with this “Best of Show” award, noting that “The Torture Letters uses the medium of animation in the best way possible by telling a story that not often heard but is critical for the advancement of humanity.”

SPARK CG Jury selects Maria Trénor’s short Where Were You?

Spain’s Maria Trénor’s film Where Were You? was awarded the 2020 WIA Diversity Award for Short Film, a juried award presented by SPARK CG. Where Were You? tackles the universal issue of domestic violence against women. The film mixes testimonies from women in different countries with the visual impact of animation, supporting the authenticity of many, often brutal, real-life experiences.

SPARK ANIMATION 2020 Festival Director Maria Antunes calls the film “a beautiful, powerful, and necessary piece of work.” She adds, “Where Were You? tackles the sad, universal reality of violence against women and challenges us to face not only brutal physical violence but also the daily, often subtle, indiscretions that affect more than half of the world’s population.”

Japan’s Kyoto Animation celebrated for inclusivity

The WIA Board of Directors voted for Kyoto Animation as winners of the 2020 WIA Diversity Award for Corporate Achievement. The husband-and-wife team of Hideaki and Yoko Hatta were recognized for creating “an inclusive studio that is based on the principle of creating a gender-balanced workplace.”

WIA Vice President Jinko Gotoh explains, “As a Japanese producer myself, I’m particularly proud of the way Kyoto Animation shares WIA’s inclusive principle of hiring female artists, as well as their commitment to training artists.”

Award-winners recognized from around the world

From the United States, Brian Horn received the festival’s Cinematic Award for his commissioned work Hearthstone Win or Lose. The Director’s Prize went to Canada’s Roy Stein for his short film Too Late. The winner in the Regular Shorts category was Anton Dyakov from the Russian Federation for his film BoxsBallet. Winner of the Music Video category was Kim Kyoung-bae from the Republic of Korea for Seoulsori. The Student Shorts award went to the French team of Grégoire de Bernouis, Jawed Boudaoud, Simon Cadilhac, and Hélène Ledevin for My friend who shines in the night.

The full list of award winners can be found here.

Source: SPARK Animation Festival 2020