The official award ceremony closed the 20th edition of the World Festival of Animated Film Animafest Zagreb.
At the very beginning of the ceremony, the award for Best Animation School was presented. The selection committee of the Student competition consisting of Špela Čadež (Slovenia), Thomas Renoldener (Austria) and Božidar Trkulja (Croatia) decided to award the Tokyo University of the Arts. The award was received by the university head Masaki Fujihatu and filmmaker and teacher Koji Yamamura. I want to thank you and this important animation festival for presenting our school. We are very happy because of this award, said Fujihatu.
Throughout its long tradition, the Animafest has granted recognition to great male and female authors whose excellent and persistent work has marked the history of animation. The Festival Council this year presented the Animafest Lifetime Achievement Award to double Oscar-winner, painter and involved artist, whose films represent a strong appeal for the preservation of the planet and humanity. His name is Frédéric Back, while the award was received on his behalf by his friend, associate and producer Hubert Tison. Frédéric is very honoured and moved by this exceptional recognition. He asked me to convey his deepest gratitude on his behalf, said Tison.
Animation and new media student jury consisting of Vanja Babić, Neva Kiš, Tea Stražičić, Antonija Veljačić and Manuel Šumberac proclaimed the best student film of their choice: Viliam by Veronika Obertova. Some films thrilled us with their plot, some with animation and some with innovation. The decision was not easy, but managed to agree on one. The film bringing paper to life fascinated us with a creative approach to animation – Viliam by Veronika Obertova from Slovakia. Our very special praise goes to all filmmakers, said the representative of the jury.
The Children’s Competition Jury consisting of Morana Bunić, Domagoj Kudek, Denis Tišljar, Mario Višnjić and Jakov Vranković awarded the special recognitions to Necktie by Jean-Francois Levesque and The Happy Duckling by Gili Dolev. The best film for children, according to their view, was Lost and Found by Philip Hunt. This year's Animafest screened many excellent films in the Children’s Competition programme. Our job was not easy, but we sought and we found the one that has everything we consider necessary for a good children’s animated film: outstanding animation and sound, interesting plot, moral, heart and great friendship. Therefore we decided to present the award to the film Lost and Found by Philip Hunt, said Denis Tišljar on behalf of the jury. This film has not only won the children’s jury. The audience judging all films in competition and panorama programmes decided to present Lost and Found with the Award for best competition programme film at the audience’s discretion.
The Student Jury consisting of Jadviga Kovalska (Switzerland/Poland), Mihaela Mertova (Czech Republic), Rastko Ćirić (Serbia), Olivier Cotte (France) and Dino Krpan (Croatia) specially mentioned the following films: Bring Me Up by Miki Tanaka, Parade by Pierre-Emmanuel Lyet and Flowerpots by Rafael Sommerhalder. The “Dušan Vukotić” Award for best student film went to Angela Steffen’s Lebensader. For its content put on screen with an original and sensitive design, said Olivier Cotte on behalf of the jury.
The Grand Competiton jury consisting of Nigel Davies, Ron Diamond, Marko Meštrović, Flore Poinsard and Joana Toste presented a series of award. The best commissioned film is Only Human by Benjamin Swiczinsky, while Cartoon East, the award acquiring direct nomination for the best European short animated film Cartoon d’Or, went to My Way by Veljko Popović and Svjetlan Junaković.
The Golden Zagreb Award, for creativity and innovative artistic achievement, went to Please Say Something by David O’Reilly. Fantastic art direction, innovative dialogue, imaginative sound make a truly original film, said Joana Toste on behalf of the jury. „Zlatko Grgić“ Award for the best first film not produced by an educational institution went to Backwards by Aaron Hughes, for innovative, surprising storytelling using refreshingly naïve graphic style.
Five films received the special award: Love and Theft by Andreas Hykade, I Am So Proud of You by Don Hertzfeld, The Story of a Little Puppet Boy by Johannes Nyholm, Logorama by Francois Alaux, Ludovic Houplain and Herve de Crecy and Luis by Niles Atallah, Joaquin Cocina and Cristobal Leon.
And finally, this year's Animafest Grand Prix was awarded to the old friends of the festival, Priit and Olga Pärn for the film Divers in the Rain. An amazingly absurd, poetic perspective on a quality of apathy witnessed in contemporary life. This tale challenges the ´hero´ stereotype resulting in a film with beautiful graphics and constantly surprising real time animation.
Whenever I want to feel happy, I will come to Zagreb, briefly said Priit Pärn in his thanks for this great recognition.
At the very end, the audience was greeted by art director Krešimir Zimonić and festival producers Olinka Vištica and Vjera Matković, closing the festival. It was a great pleasure to see you all in these last few days, expressing such will and wish to watch short animated films. I invite you to join us again next year, concluded Vištica.