The CEE Animation Forum, the leading pitching, financing and co-production event focusing on the animation industry in Central & Eastern Europe, was held online October 6-8. International juries consisting of experienced film professionals followed 28 animated projects in four pitch competition categories, and the winners were announced during an online Award Ceremony on Thursday.
Taking top honors were Georgian feature IGI from 20 Steps Productions, Czech TV project No Happily Ever After from Helium Film, Hungarian short film The Garden of Heart from CUB Animation, and Lithuanian interactive pitch Paperback VR. Read on for the full list of 2020 winners and special mentions.
The CEE Animation Forum is usually held annually in the Czech Republic parallel to the International Festival of Animated Films Anifim. Due to the ongoing global situation, the event was postponed until October and finally took place online. The public could follow the program via Facebook Live or following a free registration on the online B2B platform. The pitching sessions streamed on Facebook had more than 3,000 viewers, and on the MeetToMatch platform more than 700 views from 40 different countries.
The event also focuses on networking, and particular emphasis was placed on 1:1 industry meetings. The organizers registered more than 350 decision-makers (producers, directors, broadcasters, distributors, sales agents, investors, representatives of festivals, film funds or national associations). In the course of the three-day program, almost 300 online meetings were realized.
Part of the program was dedicated to young, debuting creators. A selection of six short films made by promising young filmmakers from the CEE region was officially introduced. The compilation, called CEE Animation Talents, is made by festival directors from the CEE region each year and presented together at numerous animated film festivals around the world.
2020 CEE Animation Forum Award Winners:
Feature Films (1,000 eur prize): IGI | p. Vladimer Katcharava, 20 Steps Productions, d. Natia Nikolashvili (Georgia)
Jury statement: “IGI is at the same time a personal, universal and promising project with a strong visual style led by a talented director. We hope that further development of the project will benefit from the award.”
Feature Film jury: Annemie Degryse (Lunanime / Lumiere Group, Co-owner & Producer, Belgium), Jakub Karwowski (LETKO, Producer, Poland), Esben Toft Jakobsen (Animation Director & Writer, Denmark).
TV Series and Specials (1,000 eur): No Happily Ever After | p. Mária Móťovská, Helium film, d. Gabriela Plačková, Alžběta Göbelová (Czech Republic)
Jury statement: “The winner in the TV Series and Specials category presented a clear format that had lots of humor and energy. The creators showed great knowledge of its target group, and they had developed a visual concept that the jury found playful, clever, and original. The jury was especially impressed with how the format tied together the old, mythological world with today’s modern society, and how seemingly irrelevant fairy-tale creatures can tell an important story to the kids today.”
Special Mention: Betti and Lola | p. Drasko Ivezic, Adriatic Animation, d. Hana Tintor (Croatia)
Jury statement: “As well as the winner, the jury is convinced of the project that delivers brief charming and funny day-by-day adventures of a young woman and her dog. Once combined with a strong digital concept, the stories have great potential and unfold their charm and magic. The jury therefore especially CEE Animation Forum 2020: Awards and Winners wants to emphasize and honor Betti and Lola from Adriatic Animation, Croatia, with a special mention.”
TV Series and Specials jury: Stefan Pfaffle (KiKA, Deputy Head of Fiction & Co-Production, Germany), Michaela Sabolcakova (RTVS, Program Editor & Buyer, Slovakia), Nils Stokke (Spark, Producer & CEO, Norway).
Short Films (1,000 eur): The Garden of Heart | p. Balint Gelley, CUB Animation, d. Oliver Hegyi (Hungary)
Jury statement: “The winning project’s pitch accurately set the mood and the tone of the film, revealing the persona of the director and the main character, as well as the motivation and dedication of the production team in the wings. The filmmaker made it easy to relate to the themes tackled in this story, and left us waiting for a luscious graphic spectacle in… The Garden of the Heart.”
Special Mention: The Pet Named Stress | p. Drasko Ivezic, Adriatic Animation, d. Laura Martinovic (Croatia)
Jury statement: “Emotions can be overwhelming, so to put them on a leash and learn to tame them seems like a good idea. Combined with very appealing character design, it certainly makes a charming concept for a film targeting children but also relevant to all of us. The jury wants to give an honorable mention to first time director Laura Martinović and her project The Pet Named Stress.”
Short Films jury: Wendy Griffiths (Dark Prince, CEO & Producer, U.K.), Karsten Matern (Balance Film GmbH, Production Manager, Germany), Anna Zača (Latvian Animation Association, Riga International Film Festival).
“We were struck by the quality of each and every project because of the current relevance of the subject matter and the sheer inventiveness of the proposal. All the presented projects had a strong basis to become a successful film. Even in this strange period when we all feel so remote and slightly displaced from one another, we are excited at the prospect of rediscovering each and every one of these projects in the next year’s film festival circuit.” — Short Films Jury
XR (1,000 eur): Paperback VR | p. Giedre Burokaite, Meno avilys, d. Robertas Nevecka (Lithuania)
Jury statement: “A project that was most grounded in the world of virtual reality, pitched in a convincing and engaging way. As the jury, we felt the authors had a clear vision of how this project will be presented in virtual reality using tools and story-telling techniques unique to this medium. We give the award to the project Paperback VR.”
XR jury: Milivoj Popovic (Prime Render Studios, Director & Producer, Croatia), Veljko Popovic (Prime Render Studios, Director & Owner, Croatia), Manu Weiss (Freelance, XR Producer & Curator, Switzerland).
Audience Award (1,000 eur): Baldies | p. Jiri Sadek, COFILM, scriptwriter: Eliska Podzimkova (Czech Republic) — Animated Series
CEE Animation Workshop Scholarship: King Wray | p. Ana Maria Parvan, Studioset (Romania), d. Anton Groves, Damian Groves (U.K.)
Animation Sans Frontieres Scholarship: Face Recognition | p. Martinus Klemet, Animartinus, d. Martinus Klemet (Estonia)
Cartoon Forum 2020 Direct Selection*:
- Baldies | p. Jiri Sadek, COFILM, scriptwriter: Eliska Podzimkova (Czech Republic)
- Daisy and Dot | p. Géza M. Tóth, KEDD Animation Studio, d. István Heim (Hungary)
*Both projects have already attended Cartoon Forum 2020
Cartoon Movie 2021 Direct Selection: IGI| p. Vladimer Katcharava, 20 Steps Productions, d. Natia Nikolashvili (Georgia)
Animarkt Stop Motion Forum Accreditation: In Her Face | p. Ana Paula Catarino, BRO Cinema, d. Margarida Madeira (Portugal)
Kids Kino Industry Accreditation: No Happily Ever After | p. Mária Móťovská, Helium film, d. Gabriela Plačková, Alžběta Göbelová (Czech Republic)
CEE Animation is supported by the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and co-funded by state funds and foundations and professional organisations from Slovenia (DSAF, Slovene Animated Film Association), Czech Republic (ASAF, Association of Czech Animation), Hungary (HAPA, Hungarian Animation Producers Association), Poland (SPPA, Polish Animation Producers Association) and Slovakia (APAF, Slovak Association of Animated Film Producers).