The 17th edition of Fest Anča International Animation Festival has this year’s award-winning directors. The winning films were announced on 29 June at a ceremony at historic Žilina Town Theatre, while the festival programme continues until Sunday. The international jury appreciated visually impressive films full of mysticism that communicate with audiences in a refreshing and sincere language.

La Voix des Sirènes by Gianluigi Toccafondo is the winner of the Anča Award for Best Animated Short and overall festival winner. Special mention in the same category went to director Pernille Kjaer with her film Spring. The Anča Award for the Best Slovak Animated Short went to animation student Niko Mlynarčík for his film Wereawolf. La Voix des Sirènes and Wereawolf are now eligible to compete in the short film category at next year’s Academy Awards®.

La Voix des Sirènes


This year’s winning Fest Anča film, La Voix des Sirènes, is a poetic narrative about the power of voice in the space between sea and land. A mermaid lives underwater with her two daughters, who have been pursued by predators since birth. The main competition jury – Waltraud Grausgruber, Gabriel Gabriel Garble and Daniel Gray – awarded this film the main prize because it is “as visually spectacular as it is aurally compelling.” They appreciated that “with a distinct vision of beauty and symbols of strength through matriarchy, the characters exhibit drive and resilience. They possess their universe, able to create in death as well as life.

The main jury awarded a special mention to Spring, which with a touch of mysticism tells the story of waiting for spring in a remote farmhouse, where local ghosts slip into dreams. The jury said the film was “unconvoluted in its voice and technical execution.

The main jury also awarded the Anča Award for Best Student Animated Short to Zhen  Li’s fur, which depicts how a romantic relationship can turn mouldy. The main jury said: “With all our senses directed through a microscopic view of discovery, the character deconstructs the object of her desires. This granularity is reflected in both the visual design and movement: flesh is both mystical and loaded with weight.”


In the student films category, the jury also awarded a special mention to Pipes.  The jury praised this film about a plumber who discovers his sexuality while repairing a pipe for being “effective as it is refreshingly concise.”

Jakub Spevák, the festival’s programme director, also commented on the results of the international competition of short animated films, “We are pleased that the jury selected innovative and personal films that carry a lot of mystery, which also connects with this year’s theme of the festival, Nightmare.


Student director Niko Mlynarčík won the Slovak competition with Wereawolf, which comprehensively describes online harassment and manipulation. The Slovak competition jury – Nikita Diakur, Élodie Dermange and Benoît Berthe Siward – praised the film’s “heartfelt, fresh and unique story that made us forget we’re in cinema.”


Special mention in the same category went to Hello Summer by director duo Martin Smatana and Veronika Zacharová for “its playfulness, outstanding execution achievement, and its capacity to celebrate summer holidays in all shades and shapes.”


The music video jury – Helga Fodorean, Dávid Štumpf and Helena Hájková – awarded the Anča Award to the American director Amanda Bonaiuto for D’un Feu Secret.  This left a deep impression and appealed to the jury for its “remarkable work with the music dynamic, immersive visual world.”  At the same time, the clip left a deep impression on the jury members.

D’un Feu Secret

Special mention was given to the music video Worm directed by Mattis and Yoann Dovier. The jury commented: “The roughness of rhythm, the composition of every single shot, and the overall flawless direction of this black and white animation just felt so right we decided we cannot not award it.”

The Anča Award Best Film for Children was decided by a special children’s jury: Battery Mommy.


Best Animated Short: Gianluigi Toccafondo – La Voix des Sirènes (France, Italy, 2023)

Best Animated Short – Special Mention: Pernille Kjaer – Spring (Denmark, 2023)

Best Student Animated Short: Zhen Li – fur (United States, 2022)

Best Student Animated Short – Special Mention: Kilian Feusi, Jessica Meier, Sujanth Ravichandran – Pipes (Switzerland, 2022)

Best Slovak Animated Short: Niko Mlynarčík – Wereawolf (Czech Republic, 2023)

Best Slovak Animated Short – Special Mention: Martin Smatana, Veronika Zacharová – Hello Summer (Slovakia, 2024)

Best Animated Music Video: Amanda Bonaiuto – D’un Feu Secret  (United States, 2023)

Best Animated Music Video – Special Mention: Mattis Dovier, Yoann Dovier – Worm (France, 2023)

Best Animated Short for Children: Seungbae Jeon – Battery  Mommy (South Korea, 2023)


Fest Anča International Animation Festival is the only Slovak multimedia festival that focuses on animated film primarily for adult audiences. This annual festival is held at various locations in Žilina: New Synagogue, Stanica Žilina-Záriečie cultural centre, Town Theatre, Rosenfeld Palace, Ster Century Cinema multiplex, and Artforum.

The festival aims to present contemporary progressive animated films together with the best from the genre’s history. The festival seeks to raise awareness of animation as a well-rounded art form, and to educate audiences about the various forms of animation.

Fest Anča International Animation Festival is the first and only film festival in Slovakia with the prestigious status of Academy Awards® Qualifying Festival. So films that receive the Anča Award in the Best Animated Short and Best Slovak Animated Short categories are eligible to compete in the 97th Academy Awards®’ short film category.

Fest Anča International Animation Festival 2024 is financially supported by the Audiovisual Fund, the LITA Fund, the SPP Foundation and the FPU Fund.

The event took place under the patronage of the Mayor of Žilina, Mr. Peter Fiabáne.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.