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‘Children of the Sea,’ ‘Genius Loci’ Take Grand Prizes at Bucheon

Children of the Sea
Children of the Sea

Festivals and Events


‘Children of the Sea,’ ‘Genius Loci’ Take Grand Prizes at Bucheon

The 22nd Bucheon International Animation Festival (BIAF2020; announced its award winners Monday. In the feature film competition, Children of the Sea by Watanabe Ayumu won the Grand Prize, while opening film pick Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary by Rémi Chayé received both the Jury and Music Prizes. In the shorts sections, Adrien Mérigeau’s Genius Loci took the Grand Prize for International Short Film.

The feature film jury included 2020 featured artist Anca Damian (Marona’s Fantastic Tales), who designed BIAF’s poster and signal film this year, as Jury President, and Korean directors Koo Hye Sun and Lee Jeong Hyang.

“Many thanks to the festival for the opportunity to be in the jury at BIAF2020. Even if this year is a difficult one for all of us, the festival efforts to keep supporting the art and the artists, allowed us to give five prizes. In a way we were influenced in our decisions by the moment we live now, and the themes that the artists raised we wanted to empower,” Damian shared in a statement.

“The most difficult decision was to select the Grand Prize and Jury Prize between two films that charmed us. Each one in its way is a remarkable achievement and after a very long debate, we decided to balance the decision of the Grand Prize towards the film that depicts the connections between humanity and nature, with a mesmerizing imagery of aquatic life and cosmic mystery, now that humanity is approaching a dead-end while abusing the nature, so the Grand Prize goes to Children of the Sea. The Special Jury Prize goes to the wonderful Calamity, a film that empowers the woman emancipation in a crafted animated film with a solid construction of the plot and an organic visual concept, a film that enhances the courage of becoming what we want to be.”

Genius Loci

Genius Loci

Igor Kovalyov (Before Love), Réka Busci (Solar Walk) and Tomek Popakul (Acid Rain) juried the short films. They gave the Grand Prize to Genius Loci by Adrien Mérigeau. The Jury Prize is given to Salvia at Nine by Jang Nari. The stop-motion project Precious by Paul Mars won both a Special Distinction and the AniB’s Choice Prize. In addition, Polka-dot boy by Nihei Sarina and Just a Guy by Hara Shoko both won Special Distinction Prize.

Busci issued the following statements on the jury’s selections:

  • Genius Loci: “A beautiful depiction of chaos in the mind, that is reflected in the environment offering the audience a unique personal point of view. The compositions and the animation are effortlessly messy and elegant.”
  • Salvia at Nine: “Beautifully crafted animation and dynamic compositions. The story is rough and unsettling, while the visuals are soft and comforting. This balance creates a special, avant-garde film experience.”
  • Precious: “Precious is a new take on the often discussed topic of bullying. This filmmaker proves to have a very strong tool set in storytelling, writing, and editing. An engaging film that is worth watching more than once.
  • Polka-dot Boy: “An unsettling world, that opens a door to mystery and violence. A horrifying thriller that made me feel both uncomfortable and entertained. I would like to know more!”
  • Just a Guy: “Why do women feel attracted to the ‘bad guys’ and who can or can’t be loved? This documentary asks very complex questions through telling an absurd ‘love story,’ portraying fascination at its most extreme.
When We Leave

When We Leave

Michelle Tamariz’s When We Leave won the Jury Prize and Sura by Jeong Haeji won a Special Distinction in the International Graduation Films competition. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Siqi Song (Sister) serves on both the Graduation Films jury and the TV & Commissioned jury, which awarded TV specials Shooom’s Odyssey and The Tiger Who Came to Tea. She offered the following statements:

  • When We Leave: “Through this beautifully illustrated animation, the director uses a unique motif to show us the loss and struggles of immigrant families are experiencing when they leave home and face their uncertain future.”
  • Sura: “Through an intimate story of two high school girls, the director discussed an issue that was not widely spoken about in our society. Its unique point of view and aesthetics have made it a strong powerful film.”
  • Shooom’s Odyssey: “This adorable, heartwarming film draws our attention immediately with its beautiful watercolor aesthetics. Follow the adventure of the two newborn owlets, its perfectly balanced narrative and animation along with its unique, humorous and charming performance immerses us into this beautiful world for the whole 26 minutes.
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea: “This beautifully animated story of a tiger visiting a family for a tea party is simple, yet charming and heartwarming. It brings the audience 23 minutes of fun, sweetness, adventure and, most importantly, family joy.”

Full list of BIAF2020 winners:

International Competition – Feature Film
Grand Prize: Children of the Sea | Ayumu Watanabe (Japan)
Jury Prize: Calamity | Rémi Chayé (France, Denmark)
Special Distinction Prize: My Favorite War | Ilze Burkovska-Jacobsen (Norway, Latvia)
Special Distinction Prize: True North | Han Eijin Shimizu (Japan, Indonesia)
Audience Prize: Promare | Hiroyuki Imaishi (Japan)

International Competition – Short Film
Grand Prize: Genius Loci | Adrien Mérigeau (France)
Jury Prize: Salvia at Nine | Nari Jang (South Korea)
Special Distinction Prize: Precious | Paul Mas (France)
Special Distinction Prize: Polka-dot Boy | Sarina Nihei (Japan, France, Denmark)
Special Distinction Prize: Just A Guy | Shoko Hara (Germany, Japan)
Audience Prize: The Fabric of You | Josephine Lohoar Self (U.K., Scotland)
AniB’s Choice: Precious | Paul Mas (France)

International Competition – Graduation Film
Jury Prize: When We Leave | Mitchelle Tamariz (France, Mexico)
Special Distinction Prize: Sura | Haeji Jeong (South Korea)

International Competition – TV & Commissioned
Jury Prize: Shooom’s Odyssey | Julien Bisaro (France, Belgium)
Special Distinction Prize: The Tiger Who Came to Tea | Robin Shaw (U.K.)

International Competition – VR
Jury Prize: Ghost in the Shell: Ghost Chaser | Hiroaki Higashi (Japan)

Korean Short Film
Jury Prize: Tiger and Ox | Seunghee Kim (South Korea)
Special Distinction Prize: Salvia at Nine | Nari Jang (South Korea)

Special Prize Awards
EBS Prize(Short): If Anything Happens I Love You | Will McCormack, Michael Govier (U.S.)
Cartoon & Animation Studies President’s Prize – Korean Film (Feature): Climbing | Hyemi Kim (South Korea)
Unity Prize – Korean Film (Feature): Climbing | Hyemi Kim (South Korea)
Unity Prize – Korean Film (Short): Beyond the Line | Jinuk Choi (South Korea, U.S.)
COCOMICS Music Prize: Calamity | Rémi Chayé (France, Denmark)
Music Prize – Special Mention: Children of the Sea | Ayumu Watanabe (Japan)


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