After a busy week packed with screenings of competitive & non-competitive films, panels, presentations and workshops, the 12th edition of Anibar International Animation Festival came to an end Friday night in Peja. The Closing Ceremony at the Lake Cinema announced the winning films in six competition categories, in the presence of Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti.
The festival competitions were judged by three different juries. The Grand Jury (Fabian Driehorst, Joni Männistö, Lori Malépart-Traversy, Mauro Carraro, Yvonne van Ulden) decided the winners of the International Competition and the The Feature Film Competition. The Student Jury (Blend Leci, Lisjan Bajri, Lorna Çekixhi, Nora Jusufi, Driton Goleshi, with the help of tutor Sarah Lugthart) judged the Student Competition and the Balkan Competition. A third jury, consisting of Alban Nimani, Ana Nedeljkovic and Paola Orlic, selected the winners of the Animated Music Video Competition and the Human Rights Competition.
And the winners are…
Winner: Souvenir Souvenir by Bastien Dubois (France). The film is inspired by the Algerian war souvenirs collected by the director’s grandfather.
Jury Statement: “The movie has the whole package. It is cleverly told with meta-layers that genuinely contribute to the message of the story. It has a strong dramaturgical structure, good pacing, is well animated and the chosen styles enhance the impact. It deals with the tough topic of colonialism from the perpetrating side in a nuanced, compassionate and sincere way that doesn’t close the door but opens it for discussion. It transcends this singular French history and is recognizable and relevant for many people in Western European countries.”
Special Mention: My Galactic Twin Galaction, directed by Sasha Svirsky and produced by Alexander Gerasimov (Russia). A film about good and evil, utopia and dystopia, where narrative and post-narrative collide in a mortal battle.
Jury Statement: “A movie that is fantastic in its form and genuinely hilarious. Experimental animation doesn’t come any funnier than this.”
Winner: Butterfly Jam, directed by Shih-Yen Huang (France). A young woman describes her father and his relationship with his many pets, that he never managed to take care of.
Jury Statement: “A beautiful and unusual story told in a beautiful and unusual way. Visualizing pain is often a difficult thing to do but to do it without the use of characters is even more impressive. This film conveys feelings of apathy and neglect in such a fluid and hypnotic way that it leaves you with a profound sense of sadness that lingers with you long after the film.”
Special Mention: Coffin by Yuanqing Cai, Nathan Crabot, Houzhi Huang, Mikolaj Janiw, Mandimby Lebon, Théo Tran Ngoc.
Jury Statement: “For a stunning depiction of the feeling of discomfort in a heavily populated city with a visual approach that’s impossible to not empathize with.”
Winner: Those Who Drown Cling to Foam, directed by Urtina Hoxha, written by Hoxha and Eremirë Krasniqi, produced by CHWB Kosovo. A film showing a woman’s daily battles for food and survival during the war.
Jury Statement: “This film captures the feeling of fear that so many people went through so convincingly with minimal means. The simplicity of the art style really puts focus on the story and enlarges the emotional impact. To tell this story through the eyes of a mother, with a strong survival instinct, makes you relate to the stressful situation people were in.”
Special Mention: Elusiveness, directed by Marija Vulic, written by Isidora Vulic, produced by JaFilm Jagodina (Serbia). Based on a Serbian folk tale, Elusiveness tells the story of a girl of peculiar origin and beauty.
Jury Statement: “In appreciation of the beautiful design, animation and craftsmanship put into this film, the special mention for this year’s Balkan Competition goes to Elusiveness.”
Animated Music Video Competition
Winner: Kai – “A Little Too Much” by Martina Scarpelli. An American music video that shows a woman who lets go of herself and goes into an imaginary space where she overcomes the fear of her own greatness.
Jury Statement: “Beautifully executed black and white 2D animation that gives us an inspiring journey into the inner world of a woman. Being one, means living in a constant rollercoaster of all kinds of emotions from being bold, brave and beautiful all the way down to being fragile, insecure, miserable and full of fears. But, the main message delivered is more than clear: gentle acceptance of all of those emotions especially related to insecurities regarding the objectification of her body as an essential right to be and to feel free as a woman.”
Special Mention: wonderwaves – “Kona” by Shpat Morina.
Jury Statement: “‘Kona’ is a conceptual animation with a strong illustration of the hard traditional Albanian customs that treat women very harshly and which sadly are still applied not only in various regions of Kosovo but also all around the world. It deserves the Special Mention prize and we completely join the alarm call for every young girl and woman to stand up against mistreatment.”
Feature Film Competition
Winner: Kill It and Leave This Town, directed by Mariusz Wilczyński and produced by Bombonierka (Poland). The film is about someone who hides in a safe land of memories, where time stands still and all those dear to him are alive.
Jury Statement: “A roughly styled gem that caught the jury unawares and touched us at an emotional level. This movie is brutally honest and pure. Not held back by shame, it deals with human relationships at so many levels. A movie with beautiful music, well written dialogue and subtle humor.”
Human Rights Competition
Winner: Where Were You?, directed & written by María Trénor Colomer, produced by Francesc Garcia Donet and Francesc Picó (Spain). The theme of the movie is violence against women, and it tells experiences from different countries in different languages.
Jury Statement: “The film shows the strong potential of animation to discuss important social and political issues. It discusses the topic that is of crucial importance nowadays and it helps brave female voices to be heard telling us their real stories about violence.”
Special Mention: We Have One Heart by Katarzyna Warzecha (Poland). A man finds out about the father he never knew, through letters his parents exchanged years ago.
Jury Statement: “A successful combination of animation and documentary approaches, based on real events, a film that is at the same time personal and political, tells us an important story about love and the ways to cross the borders.”
Anibar Animation Festival will return in 2022 for its 13th edition. anibar.org