2020 IN REVIEW – ANIMATED FILMS AT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVALS
It was an unusual year. Almost all organisers had to change their festivals' formula or – at the very least – postpone the events. Fortunately, the pandemic hadn't stopped the industry for good and our animated films still had the opportunity to appear at numerous international festivals taking place in a hybrid or online form. W brought home virtual awards from – among others – Cannes, Slamdance, DOK Leipzig, the Czech Animfilm, the Portuguese FEST - New Directors, New Films Festival, or the animation festival in Hiroshima. It is worth remembering that industry meetings and reviews were held in addition to screenings. Take a look at our review to learn about all the most important events of last year.
This year, Polish short animated films were presented almost 650 times at nearly 200 international film festivals, including 527 screenings as part of competitions segments and more than 120 non-competitive screenings. In total, our short animated films received over 40 awards and special mentions.
Jola Bańkowska's “Story” and Piotr Milczarek's “Rain” stole the spotlight this year. Both animated films were featured at 42 international festivals. The films “The Little Soul” by Barbara Rupik and “Acid Rain” by Tomek Popakul also enjoyed considerable success with 29 screenings each, followed closely by Izabela Plucińska's “Portrait of Suzanne” with 27 festival invitations. Marta Koch's “Such a Beautiful Town”, Marta Szymańska's “Tango of Longing” and Julia Orlik's “I'm Here” each had around 20 screenings.
The unflagging popularity of Tomek Popakul's film is also reflected in the number of awards. The international jury recognised the animation seven times. Julia Orlik's “I'm Here” was acknowledged just as often. Piotr Milczarek's “Rain” received five awards.
Despite the pandemic, Polish animated films were present at world's most prestigious festivals. Most of the events were held remotely, but did not affect the reception of Polish productions. It's worth mentioning just a few of them – Slamdance, Annecy, Cannes, Clermont-Ferrand, Banjaluka, DOK Leipzig, and Premiers Plans. And that's not all of them. Below we take a closer look at the most important events of 2020 which featured Polish animated films.
January and February seem like months taken straight from an alternate reality. Festivals were held at actual venues, and Polish creators represented the country at the London Short Film Festival, Vilnius International Short Film Festival, Göteborg Film Festival, or Premiers Plans, where Tomak Popakul's film won the Grand Prix award. Polish presence at the Slamdance festival turned out extremely fruitful too, resulting in two awards for Barbara Rupik's “The Little Soul”. One of the most important events at the turn of the two winter months was the festival in Clermont-Ferrand, where Focus on Poland took place (you can read more about it here). The premiere screening of Mariusz Wilczyński's animated feature at the Berlinale was also a huge success.
The beginning of March did not herald what was to come. Almost every event scheduled for spring had been cancelled or postponed to an undefined timeframe. It was only in May that the festival life began to slowly revive. Some organisers focused on modern tech and moved their events to the web. This is what the Krakow Film Festival, goEast Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, and Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film had done, with the latter being where Tomek Popakul's film won another Grand Prix award. In May, nominations for the BAFTA Student Film Awards were also announced. Julia Orlik's animated film “I'm Here” was among them.
The summer months saw festival organisers almost fully adapting to new work conditions. Events were held in either online or in a hybrid form. In June, we learned the winners of the 60th edition of the Krakow Film Festival while Mariusz Wilczyński's animated feature “Kill It and Leave This Town” returned from Annecy with a special mention.
July brought more awards for our short animated films. At the Italian ShorTS International Film Festival two Polish animated films were noticed by the jury. The Jola Bańkowska's film received a special mention, and the Shorter Teens Award went to Piotr Milczarek. This is not the only Italian festival that has been generous to our creators. The IL VARCO International Short Film Festival proved to be a success for “Acid Rain”. As many as five animated series produced or co-produced in Poland qualified to participate in the Cartoon Forum. These include Animoon's “Flo The Seal”, the Polish-German co-production “The Very Hairy Alphabet”, the Polish-American “Flip's Fantastic Journal”, the Polish-Irish-Czech series “Ormhildur the Brave”, and the Polish-French-Danish co-production “Women in War”.
No surprises there. “Acid Rain” won even more awards in August. Tomek Popakul's animated film won at FEST - New Directors, New Films Festival, and delighted the jurors of the Anibar festival in Kosovo. Marta Koch's film “Such a Beautiful Town” came back with a Special Mention from the Italian festival Imaginaria. A similar recognition went to “The Little Soul” by Barbara Rupik, but this time at the Slovak Fest Anča International Animation Festival. In turn, “Rain” by Piotr Milczarek received the Special International Jury Prize at the 18thInternational Animation Festival in Hiroshima.
September was an “in-between” month. The holiday stabilisation started to be pushed out by new restrictions and a return to the virtual world. Under such conditions, another award was handed out to the latest animation by Izabela Plucińska. “Portrait of Suzanne” was named best animation at the Drama Greek Short Film Festival.
In October, the situation was under control just enough for most international festivals to actually take place. The attendees of the Porto Femme International Film Festival had the opportunity to see a short special dedicated to films made by Polish female directors. The programme was prepared by HER Docs Film Festival. It was an excellent month as far as the number of awards won by Polish creators is concerned. Mariusz Wilczyński's feature won at the festival in Ottawad. “The Flood” by Sofya Nabok was recognised by the jury of the StopTrik festival, “Vitae Azilia” by Joanna Wapniewska received a Special Mention at the Banjaluka festival, “Bless You!” came back home as the best animation at Filmets Badalona, and “Now Listen” by the duo Przemysław Adamski and Katarzyna Kijek was appreciated at this year's Fano International Film Festival. Julia Orlik's “I'm Here” and Tomek Popakul's “Acid Rain” both won two awards each this month. The former – at the Animator festival and at DOK Leipzig, and the latter – at the Finnish Animatricks Animation Festival and the Czech Anifilm. We have also finally learned the winners of the Cannes Cinefondation competition. The second place went to the creator of “My Fat Arse and I” – Yelyzaveta Pysmak.
In October, Katarzyna Warzecha won three awards. The animated documentary “We Have One Heart” first won the Gold Hugo Award for Best Short Documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival, then captivated the CinEast audience, and finally won the Fragmentos Internacionale competition at DocsMX. In addition to these awards, the film's producers were nominated for the prestigious SilverEye award.
The next edition of the Leeds festival started in early November. A Polish programme was waiting for the local audience, featuring the most interesting animations created by Polish female directors (you can read more about this event here). It was not the only event of its kind that month. A special Polish programme was also held in Germany during the Interfilm festival (we wrote about it extensively here). It was an exceptionally successful month for Julia Orlik's animated film. Shortly after receiving the award in Leipzig, “I'm here” won at PÖFF Shorts and at the Etiuda & Anima festival. In turn, Natalia Spychała's “Marbles” was named best experimental animation during this year's edition of the Norwegian festival Reanima.
Julia Orlik's winning streak continued in December. This time the animation returned from the French Poitiers Film Festival with a Jury Special Prize. The last days of the year also brought two awards at a Czech festival. The BRNO 16 jurors handed out the main award to “Acid Rain”, and “Such a Beautiful Town” came back with a special mention.
The events organised or co-organised by KFF took place thanks to the support of the Polish Film Institute, as well as foreign partners – Clermont-Ferrand ISFF, International Short Film Festival Berlin (Interfilm), Leeds International Film Festival.
LIST OF AWARDS WON BY POLISH ANIMATED SHORT FILMS IN 2020*
Acid Rain, dir. Tomasz Popakuł
32nd Premiers Plans Film Festival, France – Grand Prix
27th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, Germany – Grand Prix
Il Varco International Short Film Festival 2020, Italy – 2nd Prize Winner
11th Anibar International Animation Festival, Kosovo – Best International
FEST — New Directors | New Films Festival 2020, Portugal – Best Animation Short
International Festival of Animated Films Anifilm 2020, Czech Republic – Best Short Film
61st Brno 16, Czech Republic, 2020 – Main Prize
Rain, dir. Piotr Milczarek
Chester Animation Festival 2020, United Kingdom – Grand Prix
21st ShorTS International Film Festival, Italy – Shorter Teens Award
18th International Animation Festival in Japan - HIROSHIMA 2020, Japan – Special International Jury Prize
International Animation Festival Fest Anča 2020, Slovakia – Special Mention
Alter-native Int'l Short Film Festival, 2020, Romania – Best Debut Film
The Little Soul, dir Barbara Rupik
Slamdance Film Festival 2020, USA – Animated Shorts Grand Jury Prize, CreativeFuture Innovation Award
International Animation Festival Fest Anča 2020, Slovakia – Special Mention
My Fat Arse and I, dir. Yelyzaveta Pysmak
Cinefondation - 73rd Festival de Cannes, France – Second Prize
Bit Bang Fest 2020, Argentina – 1st Mention International Graduation Short Film Award
I'm here, dir. Julia Orlik
60th Kraków Film Festival, Poland – Special Mention
13th Animator - International Animated Film Festival, Poland – Audience Award for The Best Short Film
20th Un Festival C’est Trop Court – Nice Short Film Festival, France – First Prize of the Animation Competition
63rd International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film – DOK Leipzig, Germany – Golden Dove for the Best Animated Film
2020 PÖFF Shorts, Estonia – Grand Prix of the Shorts New Talents: Animation competition
27th International Film Festival Etiuda&Anima, Poland – Grand Prix – Golden Jabberwocky
43rd Poitiers Film Festival, France – Jury Special Prize
Marbles, dir. Natalia Spychała
ReAnima - Bergen International Animation Festival 2020, Norway – Experimental Winner
Bless You!, dir. Paulina Ziółkowska
FILMETS Badalona Film Festival 2020, Spain – VENUS OF BADALONA for Best Animation
Last Supper, dir. Piotr Dumała
37th Tehran International Short Film Festival, 2020, Iran – Best Music
17th International Animated Film Festival Animateka, Slovenia – Special Mention
Portrait of Suzanne, dir. Izabela Plucińska
16th Mumbai International Film Festival, India – Silver Conch for The Best Animation Film
43rd Drama International Short Film Festival, Greece –- Best Animation Film
Now Listen, dir. Przemysław Adamski, Katarzyna Kijek
Fano International Film Festival – Best Animated Film
Story, dir. Jola Bańkowska
21st ShorTS International Film Festival, Italy – Special Mention
Such a Beautiful Town, dir. Marta Koch
20th Animix Tel Aviv Animation Festival, Israel – Special Mention
61st Brno 16, Czech Republic, 2020 – Special Mention
Vitae Azilia, dir. Joanna Wapniewska
BANJALUKA 2020 International AnimatedFilm Festival, Bosnia and Hercegovina – Special Mention
We have one heart, dir. Katarzyna Warzecha
13th Central and Eastern European Film Festival CinEast, Luxembourg – Audience Award for the Best Short Documentary Film
15th DocsMX International Documentary Film Festival of Mexico City, Mexico – Best Short Documentary in Fragmentos Internacionale
56th Chicago International Film Festival, USA – Gold Hugo Prize
Sunset, dir. Marcin Giżycki
Short Stop, 2020, Romania – Best Experimental
Arte Non Stop Festival – Special Mention
The Unprecedented Cinema, Estonia – Best Animation
Your Own Bullshit, dir. Daria Kopiec
60th Kraków Film Festival, Poland – Silver Hobby-Horse
The Flood, dir. Sofya Nabok
10th StopTrik International Film Festival, Slovenia, Poland – Special Mention of the Student Jury
*data collected on the basis of information sent by producers, filmmakers, and festival organisers to the editorial office of Polish Animations. If you’re aware of any international awards handed out to Polish short animated films not included on this list, please contact our editorial office at: firstname.lastname@example.org