Fest Anča ends with win for Russia

Fest Anča came to an end last Sunday with the awards ceremony, held in Žilina’s abandoned Neolog synagogue, which for a couple of years already is being restored to turn it into a cultural space. Its astounding venues are one of the most appealing features of this international animation festival, which for its 8th edition hosted most of the screenings and events in the yet operational train station turned into the city’s most relevant cultural spot.

Russian film-maker Konstantin Bronzit’s short We Can’t Live Without Cosmos earned the international competition’s Anča Award. The jury including acclaimed Irish director Tomm Moore (who also held a masterclass on his latest feature Song of the Sea, which together with The Secret of Kells screened in Žilina), Tünde Vollenbroek (head of programming at KLIK! Amsterdam Animation Festival) and Czech animator Alexandra Hetmerová said: “The winner of the Anča Award is a pure character animation. Human emotions, friendship and an Olympic-like strong will are brilliantly expressed through subtle actions… The film’s visual humour and narrative are constantly surprising…” Bronzit couldn’t come to Žilina to receive the prize but the video message he sent to the organisers doubtlessly was one of the highlights of the ceremony.

Each member of the jury awarded a special mention. Moore selected Theodore Ushev’s abstract musical video The Sleepwalker (Canada) while Vollenbroek defended World Of Tomorrow (United States), the amazing last short by the legendary American animator Don Hertzfeldt, and Hetmerová awarded Edmunds Jansons’ minimalistic but funny Isle of Seals (Latvia).

The multi-award-winning and Oscar-nominated short by Daisy Jacobs The Bigger Picture won the 3rd Anča Student Award because it "honestly depicts the struggles of two brothers caring for their elderly mother – a story rarely told in animation. The film’s strong dialogues are complimented by symbolic actions displaying the brothers’ moods and a beautiful technique we haven’t seen before. The choice of stop-motion animation and real objects is a good one to express the feeling of daily life," said the international jury.

The music video that won the Anča Music Video Award – British animator Chris Ullns’s take on London Grammar’s Hey Now – stands out because it created a magical environment using the play of light and nature, with delicate balance between the sound and the visuals. New Topia, by Adam Fuchs (aka "lilfuchs"), and The Trip, by Antonio Vicentini, both earned special mentions.

For the third edition in a row, a non-Slovak film-maker took the main award from the Slovak short film competition. Belgian student Jasmine Elsen’s Half Bábka was selected “for the intelligent, witty and yet touching way it treats the topic of loneliness,” said the jury. “Last year I did my Erasmus in Bratislava, in VŠMU, and I made this film while I was there. That’s why it went to the Slovak competition,” Elsen - for whom the award came as a “total surprise" - said to Cineuropa. Ové Pictures (Veronika Obertová, Michaela Čopíková)’s Nina received a special mention.
Fest Anča New Talents Award for the best project pitched at the festival went to Dávid Štumpf, Michaela Mihalyiová‘s The End.

Julia Ocker’s light and cheerful Zebra earned the Anča Kids Award, with Gabriel Osorio’s moving Bear Story getting a special mention. Film Europe’s Anča D Award (including release in cinemas) and d Award (with the awarded film being distributed on DVD) respectively went to Dávid Štumpf’s Wild West story on a circular fate to criminals Kovbojsko and Petra Heleninová’s rotoscope-animated sci-fi tale Aion.

1,175 films from 78 countries were submitted this year to take part in Fest Anča. The selection committee finally selected 38 for their national and international competitions.

30 June 2015, by Gonzalo Suárez