Anča Awards 2021 winners – Sarina Nihei’s Polka-Dot Boy and Eva Matejovičová’s Sanctuary

The 14th Fest Anča International Animation Festival has its winners! Awarded films’ themes such as predispositions, destiny, and family legacy freely allude to this year’s festival theme: Traditions.

The main category winner of the Anča Award for Best Animated Short is French film Polka-Dot Boy by Sarina Nihei from 2020. South Korean director Kangmin Kim’s Kkum (Dream) was awarded a Special Mention in the same competitive category. It has already received awards at the Ottawa Animation Festival and the SXSW Festival. The Anča Award for Best Student Animated Short goes to Sanctuary by Eva Matejovičová from FAMU.

The winners were announced at the closing ceremony on 4 July at the New Synagogue, which was streamed online. Viewers can watch all the winning films and other festival programme at until 11 July.

Patterns and their (dis-)integration

Fest Anča’s 2021 winning film Polka-Dot Boy narrates, as the title suggests, the slightly horror-like story of a boy with a dot disease on his hands. He then learns about the connection between his disease and a mysterious religious cult. The main festival jury (comprising Estonian animator and founder of the Animist Festival, Mari Kivi; Chilean animator Joaquín Cociña; and last year’s Anča Award winner, Osman Cerfon) appreciated that the film “can offer a new interpretation upon each viewing”. The jury also highlighted the film’s rhythm, and sense of narration within the narration.

The jury awarded a special mention to the black-and-white stop-motion Styrofoam animation KKUM (Dream) from South Korea, which depicts the relation between the protagonist’s life events and his mother’s dreams. She protects him with her prayers and dreams, which he trusts more than religion. The jury liked the film’s “rarely seen fresh technical approach”.

Kangmin Kim: KKUM

The Anča Award for Best Student Animated Short goes to the Russian film Naked. The animated post-socialist noir picture tells the story of a boy from Eastern Europe who unwillingly becomes a hero in a lab accident. But he wants to live his life as before, rather than saving the world from villains. In Kirill Khachaturov’s 3D animation, the jury applauded his ability to transform something usually considered a mistake into something gentle and beautiful.

Special Mention in the student category goes to the film Ten, Twenty, Thirty, Forty, Fifty Miles a Day by Mathieu Georis. It paints the story of snails, bedwetting, and child memories. “The film tells a delicate story in a mature, original, and ingenious way,” the jury said.

The topics addressed by the awarded films – returning to childhood, coming to terms with new “super” powers, religious cults, and also exploring the relationship between a mother and son – seem to freely roam around this year’s festival theme, Traditions. The main jury commented on the high quality of the films selected for the competition, which made choosing the winner a real challenge.

Slovak Awards

The Slovak competition’s winner is Sanctuary by Eva Matejovičová, a student at FAMU. The story of an animal saver unravels into micro stories of adopted animals with disabilities. The jury (Katarzyna Gromadzka, organiser of Polish Animarkt Forum; Chilean animator Cristóbal León, and Slovak animator Martin Smatana) appreciated the film’s “personal story straight from the heart,” adding that the film carries a strong legacy supported with emotion and funny moments. The Special Mention for student film goes to Home Sweet Home by last year’s main competition winner David Štumpf. The film depicts the pandemic era in a humorous and light way.

Eva Matejovičová – Sanctuary

Music videos and films for kids

Among 24 international music videos, Slovak animator Matej Mihályi’s video for  Prezident Lourajder – Osud (Destiny), received the Anča Award for Best Animated Music Video. The jurors (Jair Salvador Flores Alvarez alias Kropka, Katarzyna Gromadzka, and animator Thịnh Nguyễn) all acknowledged that “the music video presents numerous visual references and philosophical metaphors,” adding that it’s the perfect combination of music and visuals.

Devours – Garnet Graves from the collective Flavourcel was awarded the Special Mention in the music videos category.

The winner of the Anča Award for Best Animated Short for Children was once again selected by a special committee comprising only children. This year the jury met before the festival began at Stálicová 2 kindergarten in Bratislava. They selected the film Om Nom Nom… by Minato Matsuda, Haruna Ueno and Tomoko Taiga about a hungry dinosaur that eats a peculiar egg in the jungle.

Matej Mihályi – Prezident Lourajder – Osud

Ivana Sujová, Fest Anča’s director also comments on this year’s programme and the selected winning films: “I am very happy about this year’s film selection, diversity and high quality. And I’d also like to mention the artists’ efforts to seek new forms of expression and new animation techniques. It is great to see Slovak production represented in the international winning films. Matej Mihályi’s music video to Prezident Lourajder – Osud shows that Slovakia can offer world-class animation.

Fest Anča 2021 until 11 July

Fest Anča International Animation Festival 2021 takes place in a hybrid form this year – both live and online. As usual, the live event took place at the New Synagogue and Stanica Žilina-Záriečie station from 1 to 4 July. And it’s online until 11 July at Fest Anča’s streamed version offers almost the whole film programme, including all competitive sections and winning films, feature films, and special screening sections for kids. You can buy online festival passes for the whole festival, or single tickets for the adult and kids’ programme.

Anča Award 2021 winners

Best Animated Short: Sarina Nihei – Polka-Dot Boy (France, 2020)

Special Mention: Kangmin Kim – KKUM – Dream (South Korea, 2020)

Best Student Animated Short: Kirill Khachaturov – Naked (Russia, 2019)

Special Mention: Mathieu Georis – Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty miles a day (Belgium, 2020)

Best Animated Music Video: Matej Mihályi – Prezident Lourajder – Osud (Slovakia, 2021)

Special Mention: Flavourcel – Devours – Garnet Graves (Canada, 2019)

Best Slovak Animated Short: Eva Matejovičová – Sanctuary (Czech Republic, 2021)

Special Mention: David Štumpf – Home Sweet Home (Czech Republic, 2020)

Best Animated Short for Children: Minato Matsuda, Haruna Ueno, Tomoko Taiga – Om Nom Nom… (Japan, 2019)


About Fest Anča

Fest Anča International Animation Festival is the only Slovak multimedia festival focused on animated film targeted mainly at a mature audience. The festival presents contemporary progressive animated films and classic gems of the genre and aims to raise awareness about animated film as an autonomous art form, and to educate about multiple types and aspects of animation.

Fest Anča International Animation Festival 2021 is financially supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and LITA Fund. Traditions, Fest Anča’s 2021 thematic focus is an implementation of the Student Forum Fest Anča.

The Student Forum Fest Anča benefits from a € 120 609 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants. The project has been co-financed from the State Budget of the Slovak Republic in the amount of € 18 091. The aim of the project is better approaches towards training in animation and multicultural European cooperation.