POLISH ANIMATED FILMS AT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVALS – 2021 SUMMARY
Another year in the new pandemic reality – which has also significantly changed the film environment – is behind us. Many festivals had to restructure, postpone events or open up to new forms of activity, choosing hybrid or completely online formulas. Judging by the number of shows and reviews, it all went well and allowed new Polish animated films to gain recognition from international jurors, and reach a huge number of viewers all over the world. Where could you watch our films and what prizes did they bring from their foreign travels? You will find the answers to these questions in our summary. Enjoy!
The pandemic is still here, but adhering to expert recommendations and in spite of numerous limitations, organisers all over the world managed to put together almost 800 screenings of Polish animated films at over 200 international festivals, which means that many events took place again after a decline in 2020. In fact, the number of Polish showings surpassed even that from before the pandemic. This result also translated into an impressive 50+ awards and distinctions.
Last year's real festival phenomenon was the short animated film I'm Here by Julia Orlik. The film was presented at over 40 festivals. The animated films My Fat Arse And I by Yelyzaveta Pysmak and We Have One Heart by Katarzyna Warzecha were also invited numerous times. Both films enjoyed over 30 screenings. Daria Kopiec's Your Own Bullshit, Justyna Pazdan's Anemone's Temple, Karolina Kajetanowicz's Green, Katarzyna Agopsowicz's Prince in a Pastry Shop and Tomasz Popakul's The Moon were also doing phenomenally.
Orlik's film turned out to be last year's most often awarded Polish production. The animated short received as many as 20 awards at major international festivals. May The World Not Carry You by Rozalia Las fared well in the eyes of juries and audiences, winning five trophies, followed by four awards each for We Have One Heart, Three Jumps to Happiness by Artur Hanaj, and Impossible Figures and Other Stories I by Marta Pajek. Also noteworthy are the successes of the feature-length Polish-Czech-French-Slovak animated film for children Even Mice Belong in Heaven by Jan Bubeniček, Denisa Grimmova and Kill It and Leave This Town by Mariusz Wilczyński. Both productions were invited and awarded at the most important festivals.
January is usually a very quiet month in terms of festivals, but several festivals still took place, including those that featured our films. One Polish animated film also received an award. The Silver Egg for the second best film of the main competition at the Serbian festival Kustendorf went to The Rain by Piotr Milczarek. In February, the first award of the year went to the animated documentary We Have One Heart. The film by Katarzyna Warzecha was awarded at the Flickerfest International Short Film Festival in Australia.
Festivals sprung back to life with the beginning of spring, which has a direct impact on the number of awards for Polish films. Your Own Bullshit received a Special Mention at one of the most important American film festivals – South By South West in Austin, and I'm Here got its first award in 2021, stealing the hearts of the audience at the Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Festival in Austria, only to immediately accept the title of best student short at last year's Kaboom Animation Festival and a special mention at the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film. In turn, Katarzyna Warzecha's animated film took the Aspen Shortfest in the US by storm. The film received the Jury Award and the Ellen Award, which commemorates the founder of the festival.
A retrospective of one of the most original Polish animators, Izabela Plucińska, was presented during the 39th Bergamo Film Meeting which took place in April. The programme included as many as 14 films by the director.
With the arrival of the summer months, film festivals have also multiplied and awards for Polish filmmakers started piling up. Julia Orlik added three more trophies to her collection. Natalia Durszewicz's short film premiered in Cannes. Beasts Among Us were invited to Cinefondation's competition. The animated film Kill It and Leave This Town by Mariusz Wilczyński was nominated for the Eagles as many as eight times to ultimately receive trophies for best sound, music, script, and the most important one for best film. At the Krakow Film Festival, the award of the Polish Filmmakers Association for editing went to Zbigniew Czapla for the film On Time, the Silver Hobby-Horse for animation went to Dog's Field by Michalina Musialik.
The admiration for I'm Here did not stop in July. The film was a double award winner at the Paris International Animation Film Festival. The Jury appreciated its direction and the audience awarded its own price. A few days later, the production received a special mention from the jury of the Insomnia International Open-Air Animation Film Festival in Russia. Polish films were also awarded at Animator. Katarzyna Agopsowicz's Prince in a Pastry Shop and Mariusz Wilczyński's feature-length Kill It and Leave This Town were appreciated in international competitions. It is also worth recalling the success of Tomek Ducki's animated project The Birds of Paradise which received the NEF Animation Prize for best pitching at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
It got really hot in the last month of the summer holidays. Der Blaue Ritter by Marcin Giżycki was recognised at the Experimental Film Festival Barcelona, Rozalia Las's animated film was noticed at the Animaphix International Animated Film Festival in Italy, while Mariusz Wilczyński's Kill It And Leave This Town and Katarzyna Warzecha's We Have One Heart left Kosovo's Anibar International Animation Festival with awards. The animated documentary also received recognition from the Viennese audience attending the dotdotdot festival. Two awards in August also went to Tomek Ducki for his Plantarium. The film was honoured with the Golden Unicorn award for best animated short at the Alpinale Short Film Festival in Austria and a trophy from the student jury at the Kecskemét Animation Film Festival in Hungary. Two more awards were also given to Julia Orlik. This time, the film was acknowledged in Cyprus. The jury of the Countryside Animafest decided to honour the film with a special mention, and a short while later it was awarded the CILECT prize given to short productions from film schools.
September saw no end of awards for Julia Orlik's animation. This time, the film won the first prize in the international competition at the Festival International du Court Métrage de Lille in France. Yelyzaveta Pysmak's film was named the best international animated film, and the Polish co-production Even the Mice Belong in Heaven was awarded at last year's Zlín Film Festival. The selectors did not forget about Story, which was awarded multiple times in 2020. The animated film by Jola Bańkowska was appreciated at the ABIFF festival in Romania.
As many as three Polish films were noticed at last year's Stoptrik festival. Prizes went to Julia Orlik's I'm Here, Daria Kopiec's Your Own Bullshit, and the collectively-made #polish_women_resistance. Green by Karolina Kajetanowicz got off to a very good start. The production was first invited to the short film competition of the prestigious AFI FEST organised by the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, and immediately afterwards received a special mention for the best student production during Anim'est in Romania. The new film by Marta Pajek, which received a special award at the European Animated Film Festival BALKANIMA in Serbia, was similarly well received. May The World Not Carry You by Rozalia Las was named the best student animation at the 13th SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival.
Late fall was just as fruitful as the summer. The feature-length animated family film Even Mice Belong in Heaven received a nomination for the European Film Awards, and a few weeks later it was honoured with a special mention at the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival. Special mentions were also given to other Polish animations. Co-ognition by Przemysław Świda and once again to Julia Orlik's film. The jurors of Italy's Piccolo Festival Animazione were similarly generous. For a change, the last instalment in Marta Pajek's award-winning trilogy – Impossible Figures and Other Stories I was named the best short animation at the Dok.Leipzig festival was. Good news also came from Spain. The animated film Crumbs of Life by Katarzyna Miechowicz received the Mikeldi Award during this year's edition of the Spanish ZINEBI-International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao. Of course, the prize in Italy wasn't Julia Orlik's only achievement in November. The title of best animation of the VGIK International Student Festival and an honourable mention at Argentina's Bit Bang Festival went to I'm Here.
December brought excellent news from Slovenia. Impossible Figures and Other Stories I by Marta Pajek received the Grand Prix, while The Moon by Tomek Popakul came back with a special mention from the Animateka International Animated Film Festival. In Israel, Marcin Giżycki's Tide by Marcin Giżycki was named the best animated film at the Near Nazareth festival. In the second half of the month, we also learned that the project I Am Not Here Anymore by Nawojka Wierzbowska qualified for the Euro Connection program.
Polish presence at festivals isn't just about animated films featured in the various programs. Poland was represented at industry events; despite restrictions and the fact that the fair has been moved online, we were present at Clermont Ferrand. The virtual delegation of Polish Shorts, coordinated by the Krakow Film Foundation, included representatives of the Polish Film Institute, the Łódź Film School, the Krzysztof Kieślowski Film School, the Warsaw Film School, Studio Munka – SFP, New Europe Film Sales, KFF Sales & Promotion, the Krakow Film Festival, the Short Waves festival, the Krakow Animation Centre, and the Krakow Film Commission. Guests accredited to the festival had the opportunity to learn more about the activities of all the above organisations during the Meet the Polish Shorts Delegation presentation.
As every year, three Animated in Poland pitching sessions took place for Polish animated projects during last year's edition of KFF Industry (this time held online again). The event featured three prizes sponsored by partners – Studio Sound Mind, Fixafilm, and Crew United. The first award was sponsored by KFF Industry's partner Sound Mind Studio – a sound post-production studio founded by Michał Fojcik – a renowned sound director, member of the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) association, responsible for the sound of such films as: Gods, The Red Spider, The Art of Loving: Story of Michalina Wislocka, or The Coldest Game.
Events organised or co-organised by KFF were held with the support of: the Polish Film Institute, as well as foreign partners – Clermont-Ferrand ISFF.
LIST OF AWARDS FOR POLISH SHORT ANIMATED FILMS AT INTERNATIONAL FESTIVALS IN 2021*
Der Blaue Reiter, dir. Marcin Giżycki
Experimental Film Festival Barcelona, Spain – Special Mention
Super Short Film Festival Barcelona, Spain – Best Experimental Animation
The Rain, dir. Piotr Milczarek
Kustendorf Film and Music Festival 2021, Serbia – Silver Egg
Tide, dir. Marcin Giżycki
Near Nazareth Festival, 2021, Israel – Best Animation
Impossible Figures And Other Stories I, dir. Marta Pajek
18th European Animated Film Festival BALKANIMA 2021, Serbia – Special Mention
64th International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film – DOK Leipzig, 2021 – Golden Dove
18. International Animated Film Festival Animateka, 2021, Slovenia – Grand Prix
PIAFF- Paris International Animation Film Festival, 2022, France – Award of the Vision
My Fat Arse and I, dir. Yelyzaveta Pysmak
61. Zlin Film Festival, Czech Republic – Jury Award in the Animation Category
I'm Here, dir. Julia Orlik
Tricky Women/Tricky Realities Animation Festival 2021, Austria – Sabine & Nicolai Sawczynski Audience Award
Kaboom Animation Festival, the Netherlands – Best Student Short
28th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, Germany – Special Mention
International Short Film Week Regensburg, Germany – Special Mention
World Festival of Animated Film - Animafest Zagreb 2021, Croatia – Dušan Vukotić Award for the best student film
Anifilm - International Festival of Animated Film 2021, Czech Republic – Best Student Film
13th PIAFF Paris International Animation Film Festival, France – Award for Best Directing, Audience Award
8th Insomnia International Open-Air Animation Film Festival, Russia – Special Distinction of the Jury
21st Lille International Short Film Festival, France – First Prize
11th StopTrik International Film Festival, Slovenia – Students Jury Award
41st VGIK International Student Festival, 2021, Russia – Best Animation
14th Piccolo Festival Animazione, 2021, Italy – Menzione Speciale
Slamdance Film Festival 2022, USA – Grand Jury Winner
Prince in a Pastry Shop, dir. Katarzyna Agopsowicz
14th International Animated Film Festival Animator, Poland – 3rd Prize (Bronze Pegasus)
Etiuda&Anima, 2021, Poland – Special Mention
The Moon, dir. Tomasz Popakul
18. International Animated Film Festival Animateka, 2021, Slovenia – Special Mention
May the World Not Carry You, dir. Rozalia Las
18th IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival, Bulgaria – Best Student Animation
Animaphix International Animated Film Festival, Italy – Renato Guttuso Award, Best Animated Painting Short Film
SHIFT Film Festival, 2021, the Netherlands – Special Jury Prize
13th Annual SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival, 2021, USA – Best Student Animated Film
We Hope You Won't Need to Come Back, dir. Anastazja Naumenko
REX Animation Film Festival, Sweden, 2021 – Audience Award
Crumbs of Life, dir. Katarzyna Miechowicz
63rd ZINEBI-International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao, Spain – Mikeldi Award For Best Animation Short Film
On Time, dir. Zbigniew Czapla
61st Krakow Film Festival, 2021, Poland, – PFA Award for editing
Papa, dir. Maryia Yakimovich
Northern Lights Nordic-Baltic Film Festival, Belarus – Grand Prix
Plantarium, dir. Tomasz Ducki
36. ALPINALE Kurzfilmfestival | Short Film Festival, Austria - Golden Unicorn
Kecskemét Animation Film Festival, 2021, Hungary – Student Jury Award
Dog's Field, dir. Michalina Musialik
61st Krakow Film Festival, 2021, Poland – Silver Hobby-Horse
Co-ognition, dir. Przemysław Świda
14th Piccolo Festival Animazione, 2021, Italy – Menzione Speciale
Story, dir. Jola Bańkowska
ABIFF – Animation Bucharest International Film Festival, Romania – ABIFF Trophy
Anemone Temple, dir. Justyna Pazdan
Tatsuno International Film Festival, Tatsuno, Japan – Special Jury Award Experimental Short Film
Flipbook Film Festival, Skopje, Macedonia – Special Mention in Student Competition
PIAFF, Paris International Animation Film Festival, France, 2021 – Coup de Cœur Award
Three Jumps to Happiness, dir. Artur Hanaj
International Student Animation Film Festival Animafantasia, Romania – II prize winner in stop-motion category
Spark Animation, Canada – Special Mention: Special Mention, Stop-Motion, Student Short
4. Berlin International Art Film Festival, Germany – Best animation
ANIMAFILM International Animation Festival, Azerbaijan – Best Short Student Animated Film
We Have One Heart, dir. Katarzyna Warzecha
Flickerfest 30th International Short Film Festival, Australia – Special Mention for Documentary
Aspen ShortFest 2021, USA – Jury Award in the Documentary category, Ellen Jury Award
12th Anibar International Animation Festival, Kosovo – Special Mention
Your Own Bullshit, dir. Daria Kopiec
2021 SXSW Online Film Festival, USA – Animated Shorts Special Jury Recognition for Storytelling
11th StopTrik International Film Festival, Slovenia – Special Mention from Vassilis Kroustallis
Green, dir. Karolina Kajetanowicz
16th Anim'est, 2021, Romania – Special Mention for a Student film
13th Paris International Animation Film Festival, Francja, 2021 - Atmosphere Award in Student Competition
*data collected from information received by Polish Animations from producers, filmmakers, and festivals. If you know of any foreign awards for Polish animated films that have not been included in this list, please send such information to our editorial office at: firstname.lastname@example.org