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Festival Updates: Winners at Shortsfest, Kaboom, BAFTA Games; YMA Nominees & More

Freedom Swimmer
'Freedom Swimmer' won the Oscar-qualifying Animation prize at Aspen Shortsfest

Festivals & Events


Festival Updates: Winners at Shortsfest, Kaboom, BAFTA Games; YMA Nominees & More

Winners of the 31st Aspen Shortsfest ( were announced Sunday, qualifying top films in six juried categories including Animation. In addition, the festival presented Student Short, Youth Jury, Ellen Jury, Audience Award and Vimeo Staff Pick Award honors. On Tuesday, April 12 at 7 p.m., these award-winning films will be showcased in a program at The Arts Campus at Willets (TACAW; The winners, receiving cash prizes of $1,250 or $2,500, include:

  • Animation Winner: Freedom Swimmer by Olivia Martin-Mcguire (Australia/France) — “Strong and timely story about political turmoil, and generational handing of struggle against oppression. An elegant marriage between animation and live action.” (OSCAR QUALIFYING)
    • Also Ellen Jury Winner — “Looking to the past to offer insight into the present, this poetically animated documentary interweaves hand-drawn animation with archival historical footage. In this story of escape, a grandfather tells about his perilous swim from China to Hong Kong, as he encourages his granddaughter in her own quest for freedom at a dangerous time in history.”
  • Animation Special Mention: The Shaman’s Apprentice by Zacharias Kunuk (Canada) — “For its mastery of stop-motion animation, and the importance of sharing Inuit stories with the world.”
  • Animation Special Mention: A Brief History of Us by Etgar Keret (Poland) — “For taking us on a compelling journey through life, from new love humor to middle-aged darkness. Powerful yet seemingly artistic simplicity.”
Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver

Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver

  • Short Short Winner: Stranger Than Rotterdam with Sara Driver by Lewie Kloster, Noah Kloster (U.S.) — “This is a great storyteller telling a great story, where limited and eccentric animation helps lift an absurd and eccentric story.”
  • Student Short Special Mention: Charlotte by Zach Dorn (U.S.) — “For its impressive artistry, ingenious faux-documentary approach, and moving story about dedication to one’s artistic ambitions against all odds.”
  • Student Short Special Mention: Soft Animals by Renee Zhan (U.K./U.S.) — “For its hilarious juxtaposition between hallucinatory hand-drawn animation and self-conscious verité voiceover dialogue, resulting in an evocative statement about the things we don’t say to each other.”




Amsterdam’s Kaboom 2022 ( animation festival also wrapped recently, announcing winners across 13 juried and audience-voted categories. The winners are:

  • Best VR Award: Swarm by Maarten Isaäk de Heer (Germany)
  • Best Dutch Short Award: Bekeken by Kim de Ruyter (Netherlands)
  • Best Music Video Award: Kai – “A Little Too Much” by Martina Scarpelli (U.S.)
  • Nancy Award: Camouflage by Jantiene de Kroon & Remco Polman (Netherlands)
  • Best Documentary Award: Scum Mutation by OV
  • Best Student Short Award: A Film About a Pudding by Roel van Beek (U.K.)
  • Jamie Bolio Award: Green by Karolina Kajetanowicz
Navozande, the Musician

Navozande, the Musician

  • Best Short Award: Navozande, the Musician by Reza Riahi (France)
  • Best Short Audience Award: Pig by Jorn Leeuwerink (Netherlands)
  • Best Feature Audience Award: Bob Spit – We Do Not Like People by Cesar Cabral (Brazil)
  • Best Experimental Audience Award: Abandoned Village by Mariam Kapanadze (Georgia)
  • Best Kids Audience Award: Battery Daddy by Seung-bae Jeon (South Korea)
  • Best Commissioned Audience Award: Save Ralph – A Short Film with Taika Waititi by Spencer Susser (U.K.)


YMA nominees

Canot Cocasse (top left), Les mimistoires (top right), Dounia (bottom center)

The Youth Media Alliance (YMA) announced the nominees for their French-language Awards of Excellence, with the winners to be revealed during the gala on May 24 at Radio-Canada’s Salle Jean Despréz in Montreal. Jury member select the nominees based on the YMA’s Statement of Quality. Animated contenders this year include:

  • TV/Web – Stimulation of Imagination and Creativity: Les mimistoires “Le donjon des fantômes” – produced by Maki Média, aired by TV5/ and TFO
  • TV/Web – Commitment, Openness and Respect (short, under 20 minutes): Dounia “Alep, Syrie” – produced by Tobo, aired by Télé-Québec
  • TV/Web – Commitment, Openness and Respect (long form, 20 minutes and over): Canot Cocasse “Les bons conseils de Louis” – produced by Manito Média Inc, aired by UnisTV, Radio-Canada and APTN
  • Interactive – Acquisition of Knowledge and Critical Thinking Skills: Math Makers – Application produced by ULULAB
  • Interactive – Stimulation of Imagination and Creativity / Commitment, Openness and Respect: Tom Sawyer: La patrouille de Tom / La grande course – Website /Mobile application produced by PVP Média Inc.




The winners of the 2022 BAFTA Games Awards were announced last week, narrowing down the titles worth adding to your Steam library to get through the last few gloomy days of Spring. Returnal (Housemarque/Sony Interactive Entertainment) won Best Game as well as the awards for Audio Achievement and Music; Forza Horizon 5 (Playground Games/Xbox Game Studios) was named Best British Game; and Unpacking (Witch Beam/Humble Games) won the public vote for EE Game of the Year.

Other notable triumphs include Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (Insomniac Games/SIE), which won the Animation and Technical Achievement honors; The Artful Escape (Beethoven & Dinosaur/Annapurna Interactive) won for Artistic Achievement; Toem (Something We Made) won Debut Game; and It Takes Two (Hazelight Studios/EA), which is getting a feature film adaptation, won for Original Property. See all the winners and learn more at

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart


More Dates & Details:

  • Cartoon Movie issued the final report for 2022. The next edition is set for March 7-9, 2023.
  • Gallery Nucleus presents an in-person/virtual panel and book signing for The Art of The Bad Guys on April 14, with director Pierre Perifel, author Aaron Blabey, production designer Luc Desmarchelier, VFX supe Matt Baer and art director Floriane Marchix.
  • Animation Nights New York is hosting its #70 virtual screening April 24.
  • E3 organizers have canceled the 2022 event to “focus its resources” on presenting “a reinvigorated showcase” in 2023.
  • BIAF calls for entries for its 2022 animation film festival in Bucheon, S. Korea (Oct. 21-25). Deadlines: June 30 (short, graduation, TV & commissioned) / July 31 (feature, VR).
  • Submissions and exhibitor reservations are open for SIGGRAPH Asia 2022 in Daegu, S. Korea (Dec. 6-9).
  • Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival has rescheduled for Jan. 5-16, 2023. The Palm Springs ShortFest is still set for June 21-27, 2022.



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