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    We did it again. After the successful run of the 2016 top animation shorts at Zippy Frames (where Blind Vaysha by Theodore Ushev and Nighthawk by Spela Cadez shared the top honours), we asked animation professionals worldwide to pick up their 4 top animation choices for 2019 (2 professional animation shorts, 2 student shorts) for the best animation shorts.

    ? animation professionals had to choose from films that were screened in a competitive festival screening or a panorama section (but not tributes or retrospectives) during 2019, and they had to give their reasoning (so films produced in 2018 would also qualify). All techniques were eligible, as well as all kinds of animation films (films for children, experimental, narrative etc.).

    Another requirement proved to be trickier. All participants could not choose a film in which they were directly involved in a primary role (director, screenwriter, art director, producer, distributor, school director/tutor). So, in effect we asked our voters to vote 'against their own interest' in a way and not choose the films they represent. The reasoning behind this was simple. At Zippy Frames, we care for the idea of the independent animation community: promotion of your own work is justifiable and welcome, but equally desirable is the need to connect with your peers. Of course,  working together as a team is not new in animation,  but here we wanted this connection in terms of appreciating one another, highlighting the achievements of others, and declaring this in public. It is time for an animation film culture to begin, which involves everyone.

    This is the reason we did not isolate ourselves to just animation experts; we also included in our voting pool young and more experienced directors, festival programmers and directors. Huge thanks to everyone who participated.

    Participants (in alphabetical order)

    Milen Alempijevic (Artistic director of Intl. animation festival ANIMANIMA, Serbia), Kieran Argo (Animation Programmer - Encounters Festival), Olga Bobrowska (StopTrik IFF Festival Director), Spela Cadez (animation director), Olivier Catherin (Producer), Shaun Clark (Animation Director), Fabian Driehorst (Distributor, Fabian & Fred), Nancy Denney-Phelps (Animation Journalist/Historian), Petrit Gora (art director, Anibar),  Mikhail Gurevich (film/animation critic/scholar), Pavel Horáček (Anifilm programme director),  Piotr Kardas (Program Director O!PLA, CRAFT, Rising of Lusitania) Daria Kashcheeva (Director -Animator), Uri Kranot (filmmaker), Kropka (Cartoon), Anna Ida Orosz (Programme director, Primanima World Festival of First Animations, Hungary),  Agnieszka Kowalewska-Skowron (Momakin - Animarkt), Anders Narverud Moen (Festival Director Fredrikstad Animation Festival), Jelena Popovic(Producer / NFB),  Igor Prassel (Animateka International Animated Film Festival Program Director),  Daniel Šuljić (filmmaker and artistic director World festival of animated film Animafest ZAGREB),Yiorgos Tsangaris (artistic director, Animafest Cyprus), Péter Vácz (animation director), Karin Vandenrydt  (programmer, Anima Brussels), Tünde Vollenbroek (Animation producer, curator and journalist), Steven Woloshen (filmmaker)

    Our Top Animation Shorts:  Professional

    XXXX number of films were voted in the two categories,  31 for professional shorts and 30 for students shorts.


    1. Acid Rain, Tomek Popakul (Animoon), Poland 2018
    ACID RAIN is set in post-industrial Eastern Europe and follows a young woman who runs away from her depressing hometown. That’s how she meets Skinny – a kind of unstable weirdo who lives in a camper and runs his not-so-legal errands. Their journey gradually leads them towards more and more eerie settings, revealing the attraction and repulsion of rave culture.

    -Outstanding writing, perfectly fitting unique style - Fabien Driehorst
    -One of the best scripted animated shorts i saw in many years. Great use of UGLY animation aesthetics to tell a story of a stoned and self-centered generation - Igor Prassel
    -The film takes us on a fantastic cinematic journey rendered at a perfect pace -Daniel Šuljić
    -Exquisite trip, tale and annals of an era, all at once - Jelena Popovic
    -Poignant, bold, refreshing, compelling, menacing -Karin Vanderydt
    -The next step in the animated short film -Daria Kashcheeva

    2. The Physics of Sorrow, Theodore Ushev (National Film Board of Canada), 2019
    The Physics of Sorrow tracks an unknown man’s life as he sifts through memories of his youth in Bulgaria through to his increasingly rootless and melancholic adulthood in Canada.

    -Utterly moving piece of filmmaking- Shaun Clark
    -Beautiful, very personal and upsetting. It’s a film that stays in your mind forever - Olivier Catherin
    - Pioneering technique, atmosphere, thematic depth, authenticity of its emotional content - Yiorgos Tsangaris

    An extraordinary mastery of image, sound, technique, storytelling resulting in a very moving and melancholic film - Karin Vanderydt

    3.  Egg, Martina Scarpelli (MIYU Productions, LATELOVE Production), France/ Denmark 2018
    A woman is locked in her home with an egg. She eats the egg, she repents. She kills it. She lets the egg die of hunger.

    a gorgeous, gripping animated short that does what animation does best: evoke strong feelings through visual metaphors - Tünde Vollenbroek
    The beautiful hand drawn animation is in stark contrast to the horror of the film's subject, a woman's fight with her own body - Nancy Denney-Phelps
    Intimate story with disturbing and ascetic image and sound - Agnieszka Kowalewska-Skowron

    Natalia has captured the feeling we all had as a child that time passes so slowly when we are waiting for something.  The film portrays a child's impatience to get back into the ocean when her mother orders her to rest for 5 minutes with an elderly couple who feel that time is rushing past them.  All of this in beautiful watercolour - Nancy Denney Phelps

    - Five Minutes to Sea, Natalia Mirzoyan (Peterburg Animation Studio), Russia 2018
    The mother issues her decree: before you get back in the water, you have to take a break and sit quietly for five minutes

    Beyond and beneath the plot-line, freshly touching in itself, - a pointed instrumental meditation on time and timing; and in execution - a rather sharp cross between the sketchy and the polished - Mikhail Gurevich

    It transports you to the seaside on a summer's day and conjures up all the sensations that go with it - Kieran Argo

    - I'm going out for cigarettes, Osman Cerfon (MIYU Productions), France 2018
    Jonathan, twelve years old, lives with his sister, his mother and also some men. They all have the same face and nest in closets, drawers, TV set…

    6. DONT KNOW WHAT, Thomas Renolnder, Austria 2019
    a slapstick avantgarde film

    -Mr. Mare, Luca Tóth (MOME Animation), Hungary  2019.
    Looking at an x-ray image, a young handsome man is horrified to learn that the weird, tumor-like lump on his chest is the top of a tiny plump man`s head. Nested in his body, he is waiting to be born…

    Our Top Animation Shorts:  Student Films


    1. Daughter, Daria Kashcheeva (FAMU/ MAUR Film), Czech Republic 2019.
    In a hospital room, the Daughter recalls a childhood moment when as a little girl she tried to share her experience with an injured bird with her Father. 

    2. Sounds Good, Sander Joon (Estonian Academy of Arts), Estonia 2018.
    Boom operator is trying to record the sound of mushrooms.

    3. Sister, Siqi Song (CalArts), China/US, 2018
    A man remembers his childhood memory of growing up with an annoying little sister in 1990s China. How would his life have been if things had gone differently?

    4. Entropia by Flóra Anna Buda (MOME Animation), Hungary 2019
    Entropia is a container encompassing three parallel universes where three women are living in different circumstances.

    - Marbles, Natalia Spychała (National Film School in Łódź), Poland 2019.
    Hypnotizing pendulum sets a particular mechanism in motion. A figure appearing fragmentarily, space and a variety of objects form a rhythmic system of mutual dependence.

    - My Little Goat, Tomoki Misato (Tokyo University of the Arts), Japan 2018.
    The mother goat rescues her little goats from the wolf's belly. But, she can't find Toruku, her eldest son! Where is Toruku?!

    - The Little Soul, Barbara Rupik (National Film School in Łódź), Poland 2019
    A dead body became stuck by a river bank. Its decaying insides still hide a human soul - a miniature of the deceased.

    8- 31 Professional Shorts (alphabetically)

    A Cat is Always Female, Martina Mestrovic, Tanja Vujasinović (Croatia)
    Agouro, David Doutel and Vasco Sá (Portugal)
    Cosmonaut, Kaspar Jancis (Estonia)
    Farce, Robin Jensen (Norway)
    Flood - Malte Stein (Germany)
    Girl in the Hallway,Valerie Barnhart (Canada)
    Guaxama, Nara Normande (France / Brazil)
    Gun Shop, Patrick Smith (US)
    Impossible Figures and Other Stories III, Marta Pajek (Poland)
    Kids/ Michael Frei (Swtizerland)
    Lah Gah, Cécile Brun (Swtizerland)
    Mémorable,  Bruno Collet (France)
    Mind My Mind, Floor Adams (The Netherlands)
    My Generation, Ludovic Houplain (France)
    Purpleboy, Alexandre Siquiera (Portugal)
    Roses in the night, Pencho Kunchev (Bulgaria)
    Selfies, Claudius Gentinetta (Switzerland)
    Si So Mi, Zhang Xu-Zhan (Taiwan)
    Raymond or the vertical escape, Sarah Van Den Boom (France)
    Roughhouse, Jonathan Hodgson (UK)
    The Fall, Boris Labbé (France)
    The Rain, Piotr Milczarek
    Uncle Thomas, Accounting for the Days - Regina Pessoa
    Winter In the Rainforest, Anu-Laura Tuttelberg (Estonia)

    8-30 student shorts (alphabetically):

    A Demonstration of Brilliance in Four Acts, Lucija Mrzljak, Morten Tšinakov (Estonia)
    Adorable, Cheng-Hsu Chung (UK)
    After, Matouš Valchář  (Czech Republic)
    An eye for an eye, Julia Ploch (Poland)
    Animals, Tue Sanggaard (Denmark)
    Applesauce, Alexander Gratzer (Austria)
    Bear With Me, Daphna Awadish (Israel)
    Blieschow, Christoph Sarow (Germany) 
    Facing it, Sam Gainsborough (UK)
    Flight of Monochrome feathers, Arash Akhgari (Canada)
    Flower Found!, Jorn Leeuwerink (The Netherlands)
    Good Intentions, Anna Mantzaris (Sweden)
    Grand Bassin, Héloïse Courtois, Victori Jalabert, Chloé Plat, Adèle Raigneau (France)
    Gravedad, Matisse Gonzalez Jordan (Germany)
    Hide 'n' Seek, Barbora Halířová (Czech Republic)
    Hors Piste, Léo Brunel, Loris Cavalier, Camille Jalabert, Oscar Malet (France)
    Inanimate, Lucia Bulgheroni (UK)
    Jacques' rampage or when do we lose our self-confidence (Hungary)
    Music and Clowns, Alex Widdowson (UK)
    Poetika Anima, Kristina Saganova (Slovakia)
    Sweet Night, Lia Bertels (Belgium)
    West Question, East Answer by Dal Park (Germany)
    You are Overreacting, Karina Paciorkowska (Poland)

    This story first appeared on Zippy Frames animation news magazine (

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