The winners of the 6th Animarkt Stop Motion Forum are here. Check them all, and find the complete list of the 15 projects pitched, plus our own top picks. 

Τhe breezy Slovakian 'Hello Summer' by Martin Smatana (The Kite) and Veronika Zacharova was the big winner of the 6th Animarkt Stop Motion Forum (7-12 December 2021, Lodz and online), a 5-day event that captured the best in upcoming stop-motion animation, rounded by insightful discussions and masterclasses on all aspects of stop-motion filmmaking, from production and cinematography to legal aspects of stop-motion filmmaking.

The jury, (Bea Bartolome, Alicja Gancarz, and Denis Walgenwitz) praised the quality of the 15 projects pitched, presented at different stages of development/ production.

Despite many years of work in this industry, the quality of selected projects this year is new to me  In recent years, in the stop-motion animation industry, we have observed a tendency to have better and better cooperation between producers, directors, teams and technical teams. That is why we have this variety, quality and the ability to tackle many topics and issues, which I think is good news for everyone - Denis Walgenwitz

Difference and the need for acceptance was a central theme in all the projects pitched (such as the energetic 'The Last Sock' by Carolina Batista or the 'Three Comma Fourteen'  by Joana Nogueira). There were some risque topics as well, such as 'Galaxia' by Robinson Moreno (Chile), the first sexual experience and a street sex worker. We also noticed the constant mix of stop-motion animation with other techniques, such as 2D animation (Antis and Giant Woman by María Rosario Carlino, Tomas Tamosaitis), live-action (Humanity by Tereza Kovandová), a sign that not only reflects the cost of stop-motion animation, but also marks a sign of experimentation and a creative vision that seeks to expand beyond the traditional stop-motion methods.

And we couldn't help but notice the need for humanism; almost all 15 projects pitched had something to say about the need to include other people, to connect with the others, to try to be honest about your feelings; this might be a sign of the prolonged lockdown+pandemic, but it surely has been absorbed in the most welcome way in the projects presented.

  • The complete list of awarded projects follows, as well as the synopsis of all 15 projects, and our own top picks from the event (scroll to the end).

List of awarded projects:

  • 2000 euro to be spent on production in one of the Visegrad Group countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) was won by Martin Smatana and Veronika Zacharova for "Hello Summer", Slovakia
  • Sound Award funded by The Audiovisual Technology Center (CeTA) went to: "3 cups of coffee", dir. Natalia Krawczuk, Poland;
  • A voucher worth PLN 60,000 funded by The Audiovisual Technology Center (CeTA) won: "9 Million colors", dir. Bara Anna Stejskalova, Czech Republic
  • Dragonframe software won "Desire to win", dir. Michaela Rezova, Czech Republic;
  • Consultation with Marcin Zalewski - in the field of building the puppet, went to three projects - "9 Million colors", dir. Bara Anna Stejskalova, Czech Republic; Becarias, dir. Marina Donderis, Nuria Poveda and Maria Corton, Spain; "Humanity", dir. TerezaCovandova, Czech Republic;
  • Industry accreditation for the Mifa 2022 fair in Annecy was won by "Petra & the sun" dir. Maria Luisa Furche and Stefania Malacichini, Chile;
  • RIA ANIMATION RESIDENCY AWARD by Apa and Apa Lab – residence including accommodation in Unquillo (Argentina) for 10 days, creative writing workshops, advice on directing and script, or full accreditation for Apa Lab went to "Galaxia", dir. Robinson Moreno, Venezuela;
  • The festival distribution led by RADIATOR IP Sales was won by the animation "Petra & the sun", dir. by Maria Luisa Furche and Stefania Malacichini, Chile;
  • CEE Animation Forum Award went to the project "3 cups of coffee", dir. Natalia Krawczuk, Poland;
  • ANIMOND Award went to "Hello Summer", dir. Martin Smatana and Veronika Zacharova, Slovakia.

Due to the high level of the projects, the jury also decided to award two special non-competition awards to "Butterfly", directed by Suncana Brkulj, and "Becarias" (dir. Marina Donderis, Nuria Poveda, Maria Corton).

T         The full list of the 15 stop-motion pitching projects at Animarkt 2021

1. 3 cups of coffee, dir. Natalia Krawczuk, prod. Róża Misztela (Lele Crossmedia Production), Poland
Cut-out under camera, budget: 57,000 €

A woman comes back to a town she once lived, to meet a man she once cared about. They meet in a café, they used to meet many times before. The rhythm of the talk is set by sips of coffee, and the whole meeting lasts as long as you need to drink 3 cups. This much time she needs to deal with her past.

2. 9 Million Colors, dir. Bára Anna Stejskalová, prod. Jakub Košťál (Bionaut), Czech Republic
Stop motion puppet animation, budget: 240,000 €

Beautiful and murderous shrimp Fran falls in love with a hideous blind fish, Milva, and the ocean will never be the same. Songs will be sung, organs borrowed, all in search of love.

3. Antis and Giant Woman, dir. María Rosario Carlino, Tomas Tamosaitis, prod. Maria Rosario Carlino (OSA STUDIO), Tomas Tamosaitis (JONI ART), Lithuania, Argentina
Stop motion, traditional 2D, budget: 123,500 €

Christmas is approaching, and Antis, a 5-year-old blue boy, is preparing to spend the night alone in the orphanage where he lives: no foster family has asked for him. The appearance of an extravagant aunt will change his plans, and Christmas will become a fantastic adventure, in a strange world.

4. Becarias (Interns), dir. Marina Donderis, Núria Poveda, María Cortón, prod. Leticia Montalvá (Pangur Animation), Spain
Stop motion, budget: 93,800 €

Three young friends face the challenge of paying the flat rent each month.

5. Butterfly, dir. Sunčana Brkulj, prod. Draško Ivezić (Adriatic Animation), Croatia
Claymation, budget: 30,000 €

Butterfly is a single shot short film about a community that overcomes a crisis by adapting to new situations.

6. Desire To Win, dir. Michaela Režová, prod. Kamila Dohnalová (Last Films), Czech Republic
Stop motion mixed with 2D animation, budget: 95,000 €

Sport statutes come to life to tell the story of their author – his struggle with communist regime while keeping his artistic excellency. Zdeněk Němeček is introduced by interviews with his family and art theorists.

7. Galaxia, dir. Robinson Moreno, prod. Carlos Zerpa (Mecha Cooperativa), Venezuela
Stop motion, ink on paper, budget: 60,000 €

Kevin, an indifferent teenager, though he knew what sex was until the day Galaxia, a street sex worker, shows him her universe. From then on, reality twists into a journey of bodies, feelings and darkness, during which Kevin discovers the fatal price of fulfilling one’s fantasies.

8. Hello Summer, dir. Martin Smatana, Veronika Zacharova, prod. Martin Smatana (Studio Bororo), Slovakia
Combination of stop motion animation of objects and digital 2D animation, budget: 119,000 €

Hello Summer is a short comedy film for children and their parents about a family, that expects to have the best summer holiday ever, but instead they end up going through a rollercoaster of troubles until they find out what their holiday is really about. Combination of stop motion and 2D animation.

9. Humanity, dir. Tereza Kovandová, prod. Kristina Škodová (Cinepoint), Czech Republic
Stop-motion combined with live-action, budget: 52,586 €

Sometimes we hate other people for seemingly insignificant reasons. And the problem is, you can’t kill your partner just because they chew too loudly. Not in the real world. But in this film, all your dark wishes will come true.

10. In Her Face, dir. Margarida Madeira, prod. Ana Paula Catarino (BRO Cinema, Portugal) / Les Valseurs (Justin Pechberty and Damien Megherbi, France)
Stop motion and 2D animation, budget: 170,000 €

During a rainy afternoon, Margarida notices that the old picture of a bearded lady disappeared from her grandmother’s house. Intrigued and determined to find the culprit, she begins an investigation through the story of her family that ends with a reflection on the roles women have played in society.

11. Interiors, dir. Milly Miljkovic, prod. Michela Pini, Amel Soudani (Amka Films Productions), Switzerland
Cut out, budget: 50,000 €

Iskra wants to get rid of a cardboard box, which contains her memories of Senka... her best friend. On the verge of throwing it away, the box swallows her up. What journey will Iskra take?

12. Petra and the Sun, dir. Malu Furche, Stefania Malacchini, prod. Yeniffer Fasciani, Chile
Stop motion, budget: 99,019 €

Petra (66) lives alone in the mountains; her only outside contact is a radio and her outings for supplies. During an unprecedented thaw, she finds the Corpse of a perfectly preserved mountaineer. She takes the Corpse to her cabin and embarks on a love affair, as the police search for the missing body.

13. Reni’s Worlds, dir. Claudia Ruiz, prod. María Laura Mó, Argentina
Stop motion cutout, budget: 30,305 €

Reni (6) likes to draw, sing, read, but his classmates make fun of him. With his friend Andina, he finds an origami book and gets into a magical world. After fighting a tiger and riding a dolphin, Reni and Andina release a flock of cranes that invade the school, leaving their classmates speechless.

14. The Last Sock, dir. Carolina Batista, prod. Paulo d’Alva (Amarela Mecânica Filmes), Portugal
Stop motion puppets, budget: 131,132 €

In a village where using two different socks is seen as an outrageous and offensive action to the social system, the inhabitants become the target of extreme persecution, repression and surveillance when suddenly all pairs of socks began to disappear.

15. Three Comma Fourteen, dir. Joana Nogueira, Patrícia Rodrigues, prod. Vanessa Ventura (Animais avpl), Portugal
Stop motion, budget: 30,305 €

An inner journey on the condition of children diagnosed with ADHD that must struggle with what’s expected of them and their own vision of the world. An allegory where society seeks to normalize the mind and behaviour of these children to better deal with them, without truly integrate them.

Οur Top Picks from Animarkt 2021

1. 3 cups of coffee, dir. Natalia Krawczuk, prod. Róża Misztela (Lele Crossmedia Production), Poland
A multi-perspective relationship drama, which has both its narrative and technique axis aligned within the same creative vision. 

2. Butterfly, dir. Sunčana Brkulj, prod. Draško Ivezić (Adriatic Animation), Croatia
It is daring in its directorial vision (a single-shot film), and its painterly feel brings forward an urgent request for wholeness

3. Hello Summer, dir. Martin Smatana, Veronika Zacharova, prod. Martin Smatana (Studio Bororo), Slovakia
Relatable characters and situations, and a story which can easily be imagined (and enjoyed) in the tangible stop-motion environment.

4. Petra and the Sun, dir. Malu Furche, Stefania Malacchini, prod. Yeniffer Fasciani, Chile
For taking a much-neglected topic, and investing it with warm, imperfect puppet characters

5. In Her Face, dir. Margarida Madeira, prod. Ana Paula Catarino (BRO Cinema, Portugal) / Les Valseurs (Justin Pechberty and Damien Megherbi, France)
An interesting personal story of woman empowerment in a man's world, in fittingly placed interiors

Animarkt Stop Motion Forum took place from 7 to 11 December 2021 in Łódź, Poland. It is co-financed by the International Visegrád Fund and co-financed by the Polish Film Institute. The main partners of ANIMARKT Stop Motion Forum 2020 are EC1 Łódź - City of culture and Lodz Film Commission.

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