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Acid Rain took the Grand Prix of Stutgart International Festival of Animated Film. Find all winners of the 2020 edition.

One more grand prix for Tomek Popakul in Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, and his Eastern European travelogue of Acid Rain. In the online festival edition of ITFS, a first for all animation festivals (our impressions to follow), the Polish film cemented its place as one of the leading animated shorts of the decade (and it also topped our own poll of 2019 best films). 

The Oscar-nominated Daughter by Daria Kashcheeva got the best student film award, while the latest animation feature by the French master Jean-François Laguionie (co-directed by Xavier Picard), The Prince's Voyage got the Animovie award for Best Animation Feature.

We are overwhelmed by the great demand and the positive feedback on our OnlineFestival,ITFS.de received by users as well as filmmakers. Despite the digital approach, a perhaps new kind of Festival flair has been created, particularly by the programmes streamed live. We are particularly happy that this year people all over the world had the chance to see our great competition films and supporting programmes. That was the way we could give honour to the filmmakers this year - Ulrich Wegenast, Artistic Managing Director

 “In this year of the coronavirus, we have been faced with many challenges which we have been able to overcome thanks to the support of our sponsors and partners as well as the encouragement from our fans We will certainly integrate the experience and know-how gained in the planning of our upcoming Festivals, where hybrid formats will offer the opportunity to provide our fulfilment of public service with a broader perception on an even more international level, thus to reach significantly more people - Dieter Krauß, Commercial Managing Director 

GRAND PRIX, State of Baden-Württemberg and City of Stuttgart Grand Award for Animated Film (15,000 EUR)

"Acid Rain“Director: Tomek Popakul, Production: Animoon Studio (Piotr Szczepanowicz, Grzegorz Wacławek) / Poland 2019



Jury statement: “In coming to decide the winner of this year’s Grand Prix, the short film jury were uniquely impressed by a film whose strength of vision was matched by the boldness of its execution. Through an immersive and radically modern style, this film perfectly illustrates a subculture with specific problems and challenges. It boasts a compelling and relatable story that takes on difficult themes around social engagement, personal demons and loss of control with empathy but without romanticism.  An uncompromising work of art and a trip into the depths of a fluorescent, psychedelic world, the power of this film lies in its synthesis of impressive sound, aspects of rave culture and socio-political issues that are rarely in the spotlight. This film forcefully pulls us into a seemingly unending trip, boasting a strong female lead and astounding storytelling that takes our attention from the very beginning to its unexpected end.”

Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award for Animated Film:Award for the best graduation film by a film student 10,000 EUR, sponsored by MFG Film Funding Baden-Württemberg.

Kujiranoyu („Bath House of Whales”), Director: Mizuki Kiyama / Production: Tokyo University of the Arts (Koji Yamamura), Japan 2019



Jury statement: “In picking the winner of the Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award, the jury were drawn to a film about intimacy and amazement in an adults’ world. Drawing upon Japanese print traditions in the creation of its ethereal visuals, this film evokes the sense of wonder that accompanies a child’s inclusion into the daily rituals of society. With a keen sense of animation and solid direction, the audience can feel the emotions of the film through the rhythm of the bodies, colours and sounds.  The film’s visuals are also matched by the richness and cultural identity of its musical score. In a very brief time the director successfully conveys a special atmosphere between mother and daughter in a shared, distinctly female moment.”

Jury: Jon Frickey (animation director/scriptwriter/illustrator, Hamburg), Waltraud Grausgruber (festival director Tricky Women/curator, Vienna), Ben Mitchell (animation filmmaker/producer/writer, London), Cécile Noesser (co-director Galérie Miyu, Paris), Gerben Schermer (curator Contemporary Art and Animation, Utrecht)

TRICKS FOR KIDS: Award for the best children’s animated film:  4,000 EUR, donated by Studio 100 I m4e Media.
“La vie de château” („My Life in Versailles“) Director: Nathaniel H’limi, Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat / Production: Sacrebleu Productions (Lionel Massol, Pauline Seigland), France 2019

Special Mention:“Coeur Fondant” („Melting Heart Cake”), Director: Benoit Chieux / Production: Sacrebleu Productions (Ron Dyens), France 2019

Jury statement:“The winner of the Children’s film competition is “My life in Versailles” by Nathaniel H’limi and Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat. The film stood out because of its honest and child-friendly depiction of a young girl overcoming tragedy.” “The jury would like to give a special mention to "Melting Heart Cake" by Benoit Chieux for its imaginative and heartwarming tale about friendship.”

Jury: Siri Melchior (animation filmmaker/producer, London) Julia Ocker (animation filmmaker/author, Stuttgart) Martin Smatana (animation filmmaker, Zilina)

YOUNG ANIMATION Award for the best student film 2,500 EUR, sponsored by the Landesanstalt fuer Kommunikation Baden-Wuerttemberg and MFG Film Funding Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Dcera“ („Daughter“)Director: Daria Kashcheeva / Production: FAMU – Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (Ondřej šejnoha, Zuzana Roháčová, Martin Vandas) , Czech Republic 2019

Jury statement: “Moments of misunderstanding and an interplay between two people, who are close to each other but yet so far. A very touching story about a father and daughter relationship, represented in a very special and creative way. Delicate and deep emotional depiction, the film displays a very high level of story telling in a way that a few student films does. The camera work is very effective, using a unique economic labor without forgetting sensibility and emotion.”

Special Mention: “Gravedad”, Director: Matisse Gonzalez /  Production: Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg – Animationsinstitut (Toufik Abdebaim,Matisse Gonzalez) Germany 2019

Statement: “What does it mean to reach the stars? And what, to fall into a whole deep under the earth? A very mature approach on the believe, that one could accept what he or she has, no matter what. Highs and lows are good enough if you can see the good sides of it. 'Gravedad' by Matisse Gonzalez takes us with her lovely and original style into this magic and very whimsical world.”

Jury: Anna Levinson (illustrator/animator/graphic designer, Berlin), Jan-Charles Mbotti Malolo (Director/screenwriter/animator/production designer, Lyon), Chen Xi (animation filmmaker/screenwriter, Beijing)

SWR OnlineFilm Audience Award 6,000 Euro, funded by Südwestrundfunk (SWR) fort he film with best rating in section OnlineFestival+
„Uzi“ („Ties“), Director: Dina Velikovskaya / Producer: Florian Grolig , Germany, Russia 2019

The FANtastic Award for the best animation talent 1.000 EUR , donated by the Animation Family, the most faithful fans of ITFS
„Fragmente“ („Fragments“) , Director: Jonas Hurrle Production: DHBW Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Germany 2020

Special Mention: „The Fox & The Pigeon“, Director: Michelle Chua, Aileen Dewhurst, Sharon Gabriella, Viktor Ivanovski, Sang Lee, Tyler Pacana, SiKyung Kevin Sung, Morgan Thompson, Chelsea van Tol, Matt Walton, Steven Wang / Production: Sheridan College, Canada 2019

Jury statement: “We would like to start with our special mention:
A little fox stole our heart, / Although the story fell apart. / A fluffy dove then joined the fun / And so a friendship soon began/ Therefore we send our special mention/ To send them both to a new dimension!
Thank you Michelle Chua, Aileen Dewhurst, Sharon Gabriella, Viktor Ivanovski, Sang Lee, Tyler Pacana, SiKyung Kevin Sung, Morgan Thompson, Chelsea van Tol, Matt Walton and Steven Wang for your film „The Fox and the Pidgeon”.

Choosing our winner was hard. The variety and quality of all films was breathtaking, but there is one film that truly stood out…
We are more than the sum of our belongings. But these are the things that stay behind when a beloved person dies. New, truly unique stories form between all of the memoires. The floating spines of books, the stair lift to uncertainty and a stack of ID cards telling the story of a soldier’s life are only a few elements of this stop trick film giving us a very personal view of the death of the grandfather. We can hear his voice on the answering machine, delve deep into his life and are given a musical farewell. Jonas Hurrle’s film “Fragmente” is lovingly made and illustrates with apparently easy techniques a long life and its end. Congratulations on winning the “FANtastic Award” and welcome to the Stuttgart Animation Family!”

TRICKSTAR NATURE AWARD: Award for an international animated short film production that deal with the topics of climate protection, biodiversity, environment and sustainability in an informative, entertaining but also humorous way. 7,500 EUR by region Stuttgart

“Au pays de l’aurore boréale“ („Northern Lights“) Director: Caroline Attia / Production: Folimage (Reginald de Guillebon), France Switzerland 2019

Special Mention: „Terre de vers“ („Worms of Earth”) Director: Helene Ducrocq /Production: Citron Bien, Pierre Dron, France 2019
Jury statement: "’Northern Lights’ is a film with clear but poetic images and a strong emotional impact. The film grasps the viewer by telling a solid story about the cautious relationship of a grandchild and her grandfather. The film doesn’t give straight answers or is convicting but raises questions about our relation to the nature to think about. The short film ‘Northern Lights’ receives the Trickstar Nature Award 2020 for its subtle and creative approach of the topic of climate change.”

Special Mention:" Multicolored and minimalistic design with a song that you won't get out of your head anymore, the great performance of earthworms is told in the complex structure of nature. At the same time, the fatal effects of industrial agriculture are simple but impressively illustrated. But there is hope: with the termination of industrial agriculture, there will be a renewing and revival of soil culture. For this stirring, humorous and also serious homage to earthworms, we award ‘Worms of Earth’ with the ‘Trickstar Nature Special Mention’.”

Jury:Jalal Maghout (Animation Filmmaker/Visual Artist, Potsdam), Regina Pessoa (animation filmmaker/animator, Porto), Ralph Thoms (Festival Director NaturVision Filmfestival, Heilbronn), Regina Welker (Film director/creative director/animator, Ludwigsburg)

ANIMOVIE: Award for the best animated feature-length film
"Le voyage du prince“ („The prince’s voyage“), Director : Jean-François Laguionie, Xavier Picard / Production : Blue Spirit Productions, MÉLUSINE PRODUCTIONS (Eric Jacquot, Armelle Glorennec, Stéphan Roelants), France 2019

Special Mention: „L'Extraordinaire Voyage de Marona“ („Marona's Fantastic Tale“), Director : Anca Damian / Production : Sacrebleu Productions, Marmitafilms, Aparte Film, Minds Meet (Anca Damian, Ron Dyens, Tomas Leyers), Romania, France, Belgium 2019



Jury statement: "We had the honour as a jury from three different countries, far away from each other bit virtually connected to review 9 different movies from all over the world: France, Japan, Romania, India, Hong Kong, South Korea, Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg and Mexico.
It was a truly inspiring time to be able to watch so many fantastic animated movies - we enjoyed it very much. Today we want to announce the winner of best animated feature film and also award a special mention.”


“The Princes Voyage is a fantastic and philosophical fable story. It has an incredible contemporary touch, although it describes a very different time. It tells us to be without fear towards the outside or to things strange and unknown to us. It shows us that there are different ways to life a live, ways that shouldn’t be judged. It gently tells us to protect nature and our society - and last but not least to be careful with each other.
The film is beautifully executed and animation and story complement each other excellent in a simple but beautiful presentation and we are sure that it will find a huge audience amongst all ages.”

Special Mention:  “Our Special mention goes to Marona’s Fantastic Tale by female filmmaker and director Anca Damian from Romania. The film is produced by Anca herself, Ron Dyens and Thomas Layers from France and Belgium. The story about a dog’s life is an expressionistic, colourful and visual adventure about human life in its essence told though a dog’s point of view.”
It’s rare and daring animated originality deserves a special mention. The film is like an invitation to open doors to other dimensions. It lets us experience art in its fullest form. In its essence the film is a warm and touching story about love and belonging. It is rare to see such a daring execution in a feature film, never losing its red thread and always staying true to itself and therefore the film deserves a very special mention and conquered our hearts.

Jury: Liu Jian (animator/film director/screenwriter, Zhejiang), Lilian Klages (producer, Munich), Fermin Muguruza (musician/song writer/film director/screenwriter, Bilbao)

DREHBUCHPREISE Award for a German screenplay with the greatest international market potential 1.500 EUR sponsored by PINK PARROT MEDIA.
„Der letzte Sänger der Wale“ („The Last Whale Singer“), Author: Reza Memari, Production: Telescope Animation GmbH, Berlin, Producer: Maite Woköck

Jury statement: “The coming-of-age story of Vincent, a teenage humpback whale on the search for his mystical song in order to save the oceans from a menacing monster, serves as a beautiful reminder for us two-legged mammals, that we too better grow up and find our own “voice” before we destroy our own environment to the point of no return. Like well played music, The Last Whale Singer has the ability to cross over ages and cultures. It offers us a song of hope, and one can truly hope, it will not be the last.”

German Animation Screenplay Award 2,500 EUR sponsored by the Animation Media Cluster Region Stuttgart (AMCRS).
„Stichkopf“ („Stitch Head“), Author: Steve Hudson, Production: Gringo Films GmbH, Cologne, Producer: Sonja Ewers, Co-production: Fabrique d’images, Studios: Lavalabs, Studio Rakete, Pixomondo

Jury statement:“At a time when people are afraid to go outside lest they are attacked by an unseen “monster”, the jury was very much taken by this family of monsters who is afraid to leave their castle lest they meet… a human. This timeless tale of a boy seeking the love and affirmation of his creator-father gets a modern capitalist-twist: Stitch-Head, the boy monster, runs off to the outside world and mistakes the enthusiasm of his captor, the owner of a wandering freak-show on the brink of bankruptcy, for love. Disillusioned, the Prodigal Son returns home to protect his family from the real monster: human greed. By doing so he wins the love and affirmation of his father, which were always there. A story about what truly matters in life, in sickness and in health.”

Special Mention: „Lukas und das Paradoxi“,Author: Henning Ricke, Produktion: Lumatik Film GmbH, Cologne, Producer: Martin Borowski

Jury statement: “Already in its Treatment phase Lukas and the Paradoxi made the jury laugh out loud and embrace the inner chaos, which lies in each and every one of us, brilliantly brought to life in this film in the shape of the Paradoxi. This charming tale of finding the right balance between order and chaos, the adult and the child worlds, won the hearts of the jury. We look very much forward to read the completed script and see the Paradoxi in action.”

Jury: Peter Keydel (producer Mago productions, Barcelona, Düsseldorf), Tania Pinto da Cunha (Vice president/director of Int. Sales & Acquisitions, Pink Parrot Media, Madrid), Ron Segal (writer and director of animations films, Berlin), Holger Weiss (CEO/Head of Animation M.A.R.K. 13, Stuttgart), Silke Wilfinger (Manging director Silkway Films, Munich)

Trickstar Business Award The prize recognises innovative business models in the animation industry, 7,500 EUR, sponsored by Region Stuttgart. For the first time, the Trickstar Business Award will be split this year, with half going to a project and half to a company.

Project: Good enough: Burnout Diary, Studio Pupil, Tünde Vollenbroek (Produzentin/Producer), Dario van Vree (Filmemacher/Filmmaker), Niederlande/The Netherlands

Jury statement: “’Good enough: Burnout Diary’ addresses an issue of great social importance, affecting people from all social strata. The project by Tünde Vollenbroek and Dario van Vree started with a graphic novel, guiding readers though Maaike’s very personal story by means of her burnout diary. The jury particularly liked the 360-degree approach: In addition to a TV format, apps for persons affected by burnout are being planned as well as a social media campaign, workshops, and a special card game. The relaxed and easy narrative style and the pleasantly playful characterisation of the female protagonist are impressive. At the same time, the project conveys profundity and seriousness and provides comprehensible insight into the topic, which is helpful to those concerned too. Alongside the artistic work with its unique visual style, the jury has also been much impressed with the marketing strategies and revenue models.”

Company: E.D. Films / Owner: Archita Ghosh, Daniel Gies, Emily Paige, Canada

Jury statement: E.D. Films, a company founded in 2007 and located in Montreal, Canada, is an award-winning animation studio headed by Archita Ghosh, Emily Paige, and Daniel Gies. In addition to offering the full range of animation-related services and setting up a library of its own animation productions, E.D. Films have created a catalogue of technical IPs in the course of their own projects which is, by now, quite remarkable. These tools for digital image and sound design for, e.g., Photoshop, Maya, AfterEffects and Unreal, are offered by E.D. Films in their own online shop. With this range of products and services, the company has established a diversified market position and significantly increased chances for economic success, with a lasting effect. An exemplary business model.”

Jury: Jens Gutfleisch (Manging director Film Commission Region Stuttgart, Stuttgart), Marc König (Head of Business Development bwcon Research GmbH, Stuttgart), Dieter Krauß (Managing director Film- und Medienfestival gGmbh, Stuttgart), Solveig Langeland (Managing director Sola Media, Stuttgart), Dittmar Lumpp (Former Managing director Organistaion & Finances Film- und Medienfestival gGmbH, Stuttgart), Gabriele Walther (Founder/CEO Caligari Film- und Fernsehproduktions GmbH, Munich)

ANIMATED GAMES AWARD GERMANY: Award for an animation-based computer game from Germany with the best visual design and aesthetics
4,000 EUR, sponsored by MFG Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Wuerttemberg mbH.
“Song of Bloom”, Entwickler/Developer: Philipp Stollenmayer, kamibox e.K. / Deutschland/Germany, 2019

Jury statement: “The winning game unleashes flowers in one´s mind – in the graphic presentation, which combines new forms of animation made of stop motion and clever game design. Mechanics result from a repetitive approach to a narrative, which opens up a different surprise each time like a mantra. From an artistic point of view, the work is particularly exciting in its implementation. It is an associative game with signs from everyday life. This results in new forms of animation, cleverly embedded in an exciting game flow. It skilfully uses the possibilities and conditions of mobile devices:
Gyro sensors are smartly combined with 2D and tilting into the three-dimensional. And last but not least, even the essence of the game is made tangible by spontaneously tilting into the real world (using the hardware). Thus Song of Bloom is a game between worlds – the interface, the animation, the narration and the game experience. It’s surprising, weird and innovative!“

Jury: Margarete Jahrmann (media artist/art theorist.Zürich), Andreas Lange (Chief Operating Officer EFGAMP e.V., Berlin), Kathrin Radtke (Game Programer, Studio Fizbin GmbH, Ludwigsburg)

Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film took place 5-10 May 2020.

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