Of 1725 films from 73 countries, only 144 were selected for the ‘world animation championship’ – Grand, Student and Commissioned Film Competitions and panoramas of the 24th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2’14. However, every category can have only one winner – after five days of intense film schedule, the juries reached their decisions and announced the festival award winners.
Grand Prix – the best short film of Animafest 2014 Grand Competition, with a 2500 € cash reward and honorary chairing at the next Festival, went to the South Korean film Love Games (2013) by Yumi Joung (1981), at the discretion of the festival jury consisting of Joan Ashworth, Marie-Hélène Girod, Lei Lei, Edo Lukman and Emma De Swaef. In their explanation the jury highlighted their enjoyment in deep emotions, calm and placed rhythm and simplicity of design of the story’s subversive use of children’s play to express the rules of a grown-up relationship. For the first time in the history of Animafest, Grand Prix goes to Korea, ensuring Love Games an Oscar nomination qualification.
Yumi Joung studied fine art at Kookmin University and animation directing at the Korean Academy of Film. Her graduation film My Small Doll House was screened in competition at the Hiroshima festival and other international festivals. Her film Dust Kid was shown in Cannes at Directors’ Fortnight and at other 50 festivals and won over 10 international awards. Joung also made two picture books.
The Golden Zagreb Award for creativity and innovative artistic achievement, with a 2000 € cash reward, was given by the Grand Competition jury to Jochen Kuhn (1954) and his film Sunday 3 (Germany, 2013). This satire, starring the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, thrilled the jury with its innovative and unusual idea of setting a political personality in an intimate situation and its cynical and humorous take on fame.
Jochen Kuhn has been active in film, painting, film music and photography since 1972. Since 1984 he has taught in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Braunschweig, London, Vienna, Sydney and Melbourne. He is a professor at Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg in Ludwigsburg, a member of Akademie der Künste in Berlin and Berlin’s Deutsche Filmakademie e.V. Author of the films Der Lautlose Makubra, Brief an die Produzentin, Robert Langner Biografie, Die Beichte, Silvester and serials Neulich i Sonntag.
Zlatko Grgić Award for the best first non-institutional film, with a 1500 € cash reward, at the discretion of the Grand Competition jury went to Ziegenort (2013, Poland) by Tomasz Popakul (1986). A story about a young man-fish who faces the difficulties of growing up boasts outstanding technical qualities, ambitious and complex narrative which carefully explores the issues of self-harm and youth relationships and supporting drawings that contribute to the tactile experience.
Tomasz Popakul made his first films Frustratu: Herzleid and Life 1.0 at Szczecin art school and then went on to study animation and screenwriting at the famous Film School in Łódź.
Every Grand Competition Jury member also awards one Special Mention to a Grand Competition entry. Joan Ashworth chose the film Baths (Poland, 2013, dir: Tomek Ducki) for its captivating jewel-like colour drawings and beautiful combination of past (or imaginary) and present dimensions. Marie-Hélène Girod chose Hipopotamy (Poland, 2014, dir: Piotr Dumała), because she believes it is important for animation to tackle difficult topics like violence against women. Lei Lei gave his Special Mention to Astigmatismo (Spain, 2014, dir: Nicolai Troshinksy) for correct use of optical effects placing the viewer in the protagonist’s shoes and the beautiful final kiss, and Edo Lukman chose Choir Tour (Latvia, 2012, dir: Edmunds Jansons) for simple but alluring use of graphics playing with space and form, and the outstanding use of singing voices. Emma De Swaef was impressed by Futon (Japan, 2012, dir: Yoriko Mizushiri), for a sensual portrayal of the most pleasant sensations in life in a subtle and daring way.
The Student Competition and Commissioned Film Competition Jury consisting of Chintis Lundgren, Wiktoria Pelzer and Krešimir Zubčić decided to give the Dušan Vukotić Award for best student film, with a 1000 € cash reward, to the film Anal Juke - Anal Juice (Japan, 2013) by Sawako Kabuki, for impressive honesty and freedom to express her state of mind. As the jury explanation says, the viewers were overwhelmed by the provocative language and raw energy as the author transforms her anger and frustrations into an explosion of colour and music.
Sawako Kabuki graduated from the Department of Graphic Design, Tama University in 2013, and in 2012 she made the film Ici, là et partout. Anal Juke was inspired by a personal break-up, but also by the powerful earthquake in Japan in 2011.
The Student Competition and Commissioned Film Competition Jury awarded Special mentions to the films Plug & Play (Switzerland, 2013) by Michael Frei, Maze King (Japan, 2013) by Hakhyun Kim and The Shirley Temple (UK, 2013) by Daniela Sherer.
The best commissioned film is Shape (Japan/Poland, 2013) by Kijek / Adamski, this playful music video uses cut-out in an innovative and fascinating way to portray surprising forms that appear and transform, perfectly synchronised to music, says the jury’s explanation.
The Films for Children Competition Jury, consisting of Marta Bregeš, Noah Maričak, Nina Mileta, Marea Vodopija and Nika Vundać, the best film for children is The Centipede and the Toad (France, 2013) by Anna Khmelevskaya. The jury was impressed by the elegant animation of the centipede’s movements, gentle colours, music and narrative with a moral.
Special Mentions of the Children’s Jury went to My Strange Grandfather (Russia, 2012) by Dina Velikovskaya for excellent character development and their nature and approach to stop-motion; Rabbit and Deer (Hungary, 2013) by Péter Vácz because of the characters who survive through life’s adventures together in a great combination of 2D and stop-motion; Virtuoso Virtual (Germany, 2013) by Maja Oschmann and Thomas Stellmach for its innovation, magnificent animation and music that accompanies the fine lines and movements.
The Mr. M Audience Award will be known late on Saturday after the audience votes are calculated.