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The online version of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival and Mifa has commenced on 15th June 2020. They welcomed animation lovers worldwide with a sophisticated and intuitive site design, despite it being one of their biggest challenges in the history of Annecy in such a short notice.

They also took a brand-new approach in holding the festival and Mifa that will sure appeal to animation fans. For the first time ever, they will keep the web platform open for about 2 weeks to enable festival-participants to have enough time to sink into each of the world’s animation in the comfort of their own homes.

We would like to mention 10 films that impressed or attracted us on some or all elements of animation content among the nominated films for “Short Films in Competition L’officielle”, which includes story, visual design of the universe, sounds, theme or topic, message, and idea or approach of visual storytelling.

Our picks

Altötting (Directed by: Andreas HYKADE) [Germany, Canada, Portugal]

A film with simple and symbolic character designs, contrasting with the emotional visuals in collaboration with Regina Pessoa. It appears to be a story of the director’s confession of his recognition and comprehension of his relationship with the Virgin Mary, carrying the message of innocence and comfort in humanity’s collective behaviors without confronting the truth of the world.

Empty Places (Directed by: Geoffroy DE CRÉCY) [France]

Many everyday machines do their simple work repeatedly in the world devoid of humans. Loops of CGI animation with the appearance of vivid illustrations, accompanied by Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, gave us the impression of nihilism with enigmatic fear.

Freeze Frame (Directed by: Soetkin VERSTEGEN) [Belgium]

The creatures trapped in the ice blocks are faithfully depicted with accented staging and camera work portrayed in the style of an actuality film. It gives the audience an immersive, visual experience of the film’s original and realistic universe.

Happiness (Directed by: Andrey ZHIDKOV) [Russia]

A unique and mysterious film from beginning to end: a man appears as the embodiment of fear and loneliness in his futile search for happiness. An addictive film with eccentric visual design and movement, accompanied by an immersive soundscape.

Homeless Home (Directed by: Alberto VAZQUEZ RICO) [France, Spain]

A surreal fantasy story of dark creatures who ironically have their own problems that many of us can relate to. The visual design and dialogues of the film stands with the dark side of human nature as a metaphor.

Machini (Directed by: Frank MUKUNDAY and Trésor TSHIBANGU) [Congo, Belgium]

This film is one of the best uses of the power of animation. The visual of the film’s universe, composed with actual stones as the material to depict workers at a mining site, complemented with chalk drawings, shows us the true nature of the issue in Congo without resorting to a more representational style of animation.

No, I Don’t Want to Dance! (Directed by: Andrea VINCIGUERRA) [Italy, United Kingdom]

This film is a funny dark comedy of people totally misunderstanding what a person nearby, who is facing a precarious situation, is doing. For me, this film is impressive because it shows a big issue in humanity: the lack of initiative on others that relates to many unresolved social issues we have.

The Passerby (Directed by: Pieter COUDYZER) [Belgium]

A story of two boys: one in a life-or-death situation, and the other indifferent to his plight, makes us keen on the fact that our world is an unjust, unfair and uncertain place. The unique composition and staging in this film are essential in communicating the tragedy of the situation, making the story much more heartbreaking.

The Physics of Sorrow (Directed by: Theodore USHEV) [Canada]

A captivating film that utilizes a unique animation technique with hot-wax paintings, resulting in beautiful imagery with an impressive use of color. The film follows the complex life journey of a man who leaves his communist homeland in a trail of bittersweet memories.

The Shoreline (Directed by: Sophie RACINE) [France]

With delicate and elaborate usage of the color of white, this film animates the naturalism, sereneness and grandeur of Earth through several representative depictions of a shoreline, where diverse living things coexist. It brings back the moments of in childhood of looking outside a large window, taking in the wonders of nature.