As part of our effort to preserve projects from film festivals that would otherwise be lost, we have curated the list of winners from the 2021 Imaginaria Film Festival below. These creative animated films have provided entertainment and inspiration, not least to us as a specialist explainer video production company. The Imaginaria Film Festival continues to be held and the festival’s new website can be found at www.imaginaria.eu.
Below is more information about the award-winning entries from the 2021 Imaginaria Festival.
Best Animated Feature Film – Winner
Bestia is a 2021 Chilean stop-motion animated short film directed by Hugo Covarrubias. The film revolves around the character inspired by Íngrid Olderöck, a police major and DINA agent during the Chilean military dictatorship, known for human rights violations. While not a biography of Olderöck, the film delves into her secret life, her relationship with her dog, her fears, and her frustrations, reflecting the fractured and wounded state of Chile.
Using stop-motion animation, the film explores lesser-known characters and darker aspects of Chilean history. The protagonist’s design is based on porcelain dolls, emphasizing her inexpressiveness and coldness. The short film was produced by Trébol 3 and financed through the “Audiovisual Development Fund” of the Ministry of Cultures, Arts, and Heritage of Chile.
Bestia has received widespread acclaim and won several awards, including Best Animated Short Subject at the 49th Annie Awards. It was also nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 94th Academy Awards, making it the second Chilean animated short film to achieve this honour. The film’s unique approach to storytelling and impressive animation techniques have earned it recognition and accolades at various international film festivals.
Best Animated Short Film – Special Mention
Noir-Soleil is a mysterious and thought-provoking animated short film directed by Marie Larrivé. The film follows Dino, a middle-aged man who receives a call from the Italian police, asking him to travel to Naples for a DNA test. They believe a forty-year-old corpse found recently might be his father. Reluctantly, Dino sets off on a ship to Naples, where he unexpectedly meets his daughter, Victoria, who has also been contacted for the same reason. Together, they embark on a journey to trace their connection with the deceased man and confront the weight of their past.
The film uses minimalist storytelling and elegant animation techniques to explore the emotional dispositions of the characters. As the story unfolds, the past constantly echoes, revealing old memories, hidden tension, and undiscussed emotions that have long been buried. The characters’ struggles with their relationships with their fathers and their own presence in each other’s lives form a central theme.
The animation technique, done entirely with paint on paper and digitally transformed, adds to the film’s mysterious and melancholic atmosphere. The expressive and evocative style, along with the rich colour palette, reflects the characters’ inner emotional states. The original score by Maël Oudin and Pierre Oberkampf complements the story, evoking a sense of unease and despair.
Noir-Soleil skillfully captures the intangible feelings of loss and the repercussions of the past, offering its characters a chance for redemption and providing the audience with a compelling and immersive journey.
Best Animated Short Film (Student Category) – Winner
La Confiture de Papillons
La Confiture de Papillons (Butterfly Jam) portrays the story of a young woman describing her father’s relationship with numerous pets that he struggles to take care of properly. The animals consistently die, contributing to the family’s disintegration.
The film delves into the theme of clumsy expressions of love that push loved ones away. The narrative follows various animals, from fish to birds and reptiles, each representing a different stage in the family’s life and relationships. Despite the simple plot, the film emphasizes the underlying emotional dispositions of the characters through moments of reflection and contemplation. The past and its impact on the present are explored, creating a melancholic and introspective atmosphere. The animation technique and expressive visuals enhance the emotional impact of the story, conveying a sense of loss and unresolved emotions.
Best Animated Short Film (Student Category) – Special Mention
BusLine35A is an animated short film that takes a unique perspective on harassment. Created by director and animator Elena Felici and a team of students from the Animation Workshop of the VIA University College in Denmark, the film was released on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It uses a mix of 3D stop-motion animations and 2D animated sketches to tell the story of a sexual harassment incident from the point of view of the passive spectators, the other passengers on a bus.
The film is influenced by directors Roy Anderson, Don Hertzfeldt, and Wes Anderson, adopting a covertly ironic narrative and visual style. The narrator’s childish and simplistic tone reflects how bystanders tend to fabricate absurd excuses rather than intervening in such situations. The irony aims to create a dualism in the audience, making them laugh while witnessing a tragic situation, just as the characters in the film try to downplay the severity of the harassment to avoid taking action.
The director’s personal experiences and reflections on egoism and individualism inspired the film’s theme, focusing on the bystander effect. The film aims to encourage viewers to introspectively consider the complexities of episodes of sexual harassment. It depicts the detachment and embarrassment felt by passive spectators, contrasting the violence happening in the background with the comical inefficacy of those who witness it. The narrator represents the voice in their head making justifications to avoid intervening.
The film was technically created using Autodesk Maya for 3D animation, Arnold for rendering, and Substance Painter for texturing and shading. Crayon textures were scanned and utilized as well in the production process.
Best Animated Short Film For Kids – Winner
Là dove la notte
Là dove la notte is a film directed by Francesco Filippini that tells the story of Pic Whitman, an eight-year-old boy who embarks on a mystical journey with his grandmother to discover their Native American origins.
Best Animated Short Film For Kids – Special Mention
Hugo Caby, Antoine Dupriez, Aubin Kubiak, Lucas Lermytte and Zoé Devise
Migrants is a digital animated film that follows two polar bears forced into exile due to global warming. Along their journey, they encounter brown bears and attempt to cohabitate. The film’s animation impressively imitates the textures of stop-motion puppets, with the animal characters appearing to be composed of knitted materials.
The attention to detail in the woven characters, reminiscent of other stop-motion filmmakers’ work, adds to the film’s appeal. The believable movements and mannerisms of the animated bears contribute to their emotional portrayal, allowing their sorrow and fear to be expressed subtly through their bodies rather than their faces. The film also incorporates environmental themes, with ocean foam resembling ecologically harmful materials, highlighting the impact of human actions on wildlife and nature.
Il Mondo di Sotto
Il Mondo di Sotto (The Underworld) is an animated short film directed by Benedetta Sani. The film tells the story of a divine maiden who discovers the intoxicating beauty of the narcissus flower. She realizes that the radiant beauty of the flower exists on the surface because of the existence of the underworld, a hidden world beneath the ground where a buried seed has fertilized the earth. The film explores the concept that nothing can be born without death and nothing can shine without the unknown darkness of the underworld.