17th Animateka International Animated Film Festival Awards



Average Happiness, Maja Gehrig, 2019, Switzerland, 7’02” 


Among numerous outstanding works in the Main Competition, we found one film especially unique for its visual and sonic vitality. As we enter into the strange hallucinatory zone, we are witnessing the secret life of big data represented as an autonomous hyper-organism through seductive colourful visualization of movements. Then we suddenly realize, we are the part of these graphs, charts, groups and numbers. But do these personificated signs really reflect our lives?  The images and sounds liberate themselves from top-down imposed conditions and assumptions as if they wanted the viewers to do the same. The film points at a society dominated by calculations and algorithms that are not a useful tool for classifications, but instead they condition our existence, and influence our behaviors.

We are awarding a clever and ironic masterhood that shows an absurdity of statistics and data visualisation that brings a vivid and sensual life to the elements – graphs, diagrams and charts.

Against its title the film is anything but median (also with its pulsating sound) and therefore the Jury Grand Prix of Animateka 2020 goes to AVERAGE HAPPINESS by Maja Gehrig.


Special mentions of the members of the main jury:

Dalibor Barić: Peel, Samuel Patthey, Silvain Monney, 2020, Switzerland, 15’05”


With its slow pace and almost documentarist approach to the subject matter, images are hand-drawn sketches reduced to the bare necessities that leave the rest to our minds to fill it or to leave it to meditative emptiness which underlines the atmosphere of this film. Our gaze is omnipresent. We see the detail of shaky hands, cold and sterile corridors, rooms where personal belongings are mixed with medications, we are even allowed to x-ray through the walls but still, we remain detached, in this objective, factual scanning of the retirement home and its denizens. Daily routines go with slow action and the sense that all time has been drained. These non-spaces remain like deserted islands surrounded by the sea of tranquility. The whiteness of negative space dominates and expands within the frame, and everything except the occasional appearance of a black cat seems to calmly obey its laws and slowly fades away. The film I am talking about in the special mention category is PEEL by Samuel Patthey & Silvain Monney.

Olga Bobrowska: Sogni al campo, Mara Cerri, Magda Guidi, 2020, France, Italy, 10’10”


Summoned by a verdure landscape and recollection of the cat’s purring, I have followed the main character through the memory maze filled with mysteries of mourning and plays. Captivating hand-drawn images told me all about the child’s painful curiosity and sweet bitterness of departure into adolescence. For an outstanding conduct of visual storytelling that is convincingly structured but at the same time respects the viewers’ right to relive and experience the film on their own terms, I’m giving my Special Mention to SOGNI AL CAMPO by Magda Guidi and Mara Cerii.

Paola Bristot: Last Supper, Piotr Dumała, 2019, Poland, 13′


There are some works that are able to speak out of their time. They talk about us and our relationships, as well as those roles that we often have in accordance with pre-established functions: good, bad, holy and traitors. Those are not schematic features, but they use poetic language through which we see ourselves reflected with all of our repeated habits as ceremonies. Starting from the famous fresco by Leonardo Da Vinci, the director places the scene in an atypical and alienating place, the carriage of a train traveling in the night, where the same-old story is ritually accomplished, but with an ending that will insinuates doubts and questions about our own prejudices. For the contemporary version of sacred representation that has the power of a theater piece my special mention goes to: “Last Supper” by Piotr Dumala.

Kamila Dohnalová: Land of the Burning Hearts, Francesco Mescolini, Valentino Presti, Marco Rinicella, 2020, Italy, 3’33”


For its magnificently colorful depiction of fishermen’s daily routine and for its ability to evoke sensual – both tangible and olfactory – experience through visuals, and also for its plenary and sun-drenched sound the special mention by Kamila Dohnalová goes to Land Of The Burning Hearts (TERRA CA NUN DORMI) by Francesco Mescolini, Valentino Presti and Marco Rinicella.

Andrej Štular: Events Meant To Be Forgotten, Marko Tadić, 2020, Croatia, 6′


I don’t know and it doesn’t even matter why I liked this little and short film. Perhaps because I don’t know when its creation began. The material for the film had been forgotten, lost, discarded and then found again. Together with the other notes, sketches, photos and other faded documents, it’s been reassembled, treated and re-edited. The old becomes new and the new is already old. The film was co-created by anonymous artists. It features unknown places and people, old new developments, cancelled timetables and Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s poem The Vanished, which more than twenty years ago baffled me to the extent that I almost got lost. The film explores a past time that is not so distant from the present time and seems never to have been. My special mention goes to Marko Tadić’s EVENTS MEANT TO BE FORGOTEN.


YOUNG TALENT AWARD: A School of Arts (University of Nova Gorica) and Academy of Fine Arts and Design (University of Ljubljana) Award

Ahead, Ala Nunu Leszyńska, 2019, GB/Portugal, 5’20”


The winning film is one of the most touching portrayals of struggles within an unequal relationship. The film convinced us with just enough little bits of visual detail, sounds and story, all tailored together to form a perfect whole. Every aspect was used to its potential and not a single second felt left unused. In our view, it is well-rounded and complete, what we consider an award-worthy film. The European Young Talent: An Academy of Fine Arts and Design (University of Ljubljana) and School of Arts (University of Nova Gorica) Award goes to Ahead by Ala Nunu Leszynska made at the Royal College of Art in London and co-produced by Colectivo Audiovisual in Portugal.


Special mention of the student jury:

Marbles, Natalia Spychała, 2019, Poland, 5’30”


The second-best film of our choice is an experimental animation, whose strong connection between visuals and sound offers a unique and fresh experience. It is actually a stop-motion animation, which is not evident at first glance hence the very well-made production. The editing and tempo are on point, which is not always present in experimental films. It relies on the viewer’s memory of everyday objects and sounds. The animation was made on glass with threads. It is a prime example of what the experimental genre is capable of. Our European Young Talent special mention goes to Marbles by Natalia Spychała from the Polish National Film School in Łódź.



Mud Chronicles, Vuk Palibrk, 2020, Serbia, 9’45”


THE ELEPHANT: Children Jury Award

Matilda And the Spare Head, Ignas Meilūnas, 2020, Lithuania, 13’05”  


This year’s role of a jury member was a bit different and very demanding because we watched the films from home. We watched 19 films, which were all very good, But, in the end, we had to choose only one winner. The winning film features puppets and it also has a message. Do you want to know what it is? It’s that, despite learning, you need to take the time to play because that brightens up your life. But let’s get to the matter at hand. Where were we? Oh, right. The winner is Matilda and the Spare Head.