The 2019 GLAS Animation Festival has wrapped in Berkeley, awarding the top prize to Polish director Tomek Popakul for the aural and visual slice of street life trip Acid Rain, which previously won the Vimeo Award at Sundance and has been selected for competition at Annecy this summer. The GLAS competition jury — which included Meghan Oretsky, Dennis Tupicoff and Koji Yamamura — awarded honors to many international festival favorites.
Grand Prix: Acid Rain by Tomek Popakul
Boy meets girl in a psychedelic zone – with a camper van. Shifting relationships and extraordinary performances weave complicated patterns both strange and familiar.
New Talent Award: Bloeistraat 11 by Nienke Deutz
Using multiple techniques, this strong and delicate narrative makes us feel the flesh and minds of adolescents and their transparent existence.
High Risk Award: Egg by Martina Scarpelli
This film not only took a unique technical risk by using a stark color palette and strictly defined space, but honestly laid bare the personal struggles of its main character. Calculated, dark, disturbing and vulnerable, we were impressed by its blunt portrayal of one woman’s inner conflict with herself.
Meghan Oretsky Special Mention: The Night of the Plastic Bags by Gabriel Harel
“What struck me the most about this story was its blatant, desperate call to action. While a woman pleads with her ex to help her bring another person to this world, she is oblivious that her planet will not exist much longer – not for her and certainly not for her future child. Framing climate change as a horror story in a clever, scary and disturbing way is perhaps the only way to get people to listen, and I applaud this film for delivering its vital message with such a creative yet urgent tone.”
Koji Yamamura Special Mention: Embraced by Justine Vuylsteker
“For its mastery of the historic and difficult technique of the pin-screen, its emotional storytelling, and tender expression.”
Dennis Tupicoff Special Mention: Fly in the Restaurant by Xi Chen
“Complicated cut-out characters come and go as a restaurant scene moves relentlessly in one direction. Red light streams outside as the waiter chases the fly again and again.”
FXX Elevation Award: Slug Life by Sophie Koko Gate
FX Networks is premium television channel, studio and brand based in Los Angeles, home to hit shows such as Archer, Atlanta and the upcoming What We Do in the Shadows. The FXX Elevation award highlights one filmmaker in competition at the GLAS Animation Festival whose film demonstrates FX values of fearless storytelling, compelling characters, and a distinct point of view on the human condition. The winner will receive a $25,000 all-in development and production deal with us to produce and air their next animated short film.
This year’s FXX Elevation Award winner is a filmmaker with unmistakable vision. Her film succeeds because of its instantly distinctive visual style and impossibly imaginative storytelling. It is delightfully surreal, surprisingly funny and – albeit through artificial intelligence, industrial dance moves, and some suggestive slugs – offers a unique woman’s perspective into the most human of desires: finding somebody to love.
Vimeo Staff Pick Award: Les lèvres gercées by Kelsi Phung and Fabien Corre
With natural performances and realistic dialogue, this moving short shines a light on how a lack of understanding and acceptance between a parent and their LGBTQ child can have devastating consequences. Its sensitive approach to this important topic is one that is vital to share for the betterment of our world.
U.S./Family/Gif Competition Jury: Luce Grosjean, Christy Karacas, Marc James Roels
Family Competition Honorable Mention: Dum dee bolala dum by Peter Millard
Jury Statement: It’s primitive but in a good way. We liked it. Blad dee dum dada eeh blurg glub glub.
Family Competition Award Winner: Kuap by Nils Hedinger
Jury Statement: Charming, playful, and humorous, this coming of age story will delight viewers at any stage of their life cycle.
Best Gif Award presented by Giphy: Brandon Buir
Jury Statement: So we started to write something, but then we were hypnotized by the GIF Graphic Interchange Format and we decided to just watch it again.
U.S. Special Mention: Ballerina by Steven Subotnick
With a restrictive points of view, we experience a range of emotions without a smile. This film put an upside-down frown on our faces.
Best U.S. Film: Sparky by xinbaonuzi
A mesmerizing daydream. It’s fluid visuals and atmospheric sound design create a fresh, sometimes creepy, sometimes crawly experience. We loved this deceptively naive film with its sunny demeanor.
Learn more at www.glasanimation.com.