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This is part of an interview series in collaboration with CEE Animation. We would like to introduce award-winning animated short films directed by upcoming young creators from the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region and the story behind the creation of each film.

SH_T Happens

An apartment building full of self-centered inhabitants. Utterly exhausted caretaker and his sexually frustrated wife. Widowed deer drowning his sorrows in loads of alcohol… While trying to cope with their problems, they find themselves in a hard to solve triangle asking for absurd and irrational solutions. The consequences can easily become permanent, sometimes maybe too permanent. The film is a loose adaptation of a well-known biblical story while transforming it into a contemporary ironic narrative about how the world sometimes works.

Film Credits
Director: Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf
Authors: Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf
Art Director: Michaela Mihályi
Animation: David Štumpf
Producer: Peter Badač (BFILM, Slovakia)
Co-producers: Patrick Hernandez (Bagan Films, France), Véronique Siegel (Bagan Films, France), FAMU (Czech Republic) and Arte (France)
Editor: Katarína Pavelková
Music: Olivier de Palma
Sound Design: Damien Perrollaz and Francesco Porcellana

SH_T Happens is a 2D-animated short film about interpersonal dramas centering on a human couple and a deer, with the story split into chapters dedicated to them. The two directors Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf has transformed the biblical story Noah’s Ark into a comedic story in which the majority of characters exhibit free, romance-addicted and self-centred behaviors. The story is depicted with simple visuals and bright colors, and it works as a cushion for some of the more outrageous parts of the film, making it a well‐balanced film for a wider audience.

The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival 2019 and has been selected and screened at many international film festivals, including the Sundance Film Festival 2020, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival 2020, Ottawa International Animation Film Festival 2020, and Zagreb International Film Festival 2020. Through its worldwide circulation over film festivals, it has been winning many awards, such as Best Student Short Film at Anima Brussels International Film Festival 2020, Audience Award at London International Animation Festival 2019 and Anča Award for Best Slovak Film at Fest Anča International Animation Festival 2020. The film is also included into the selection of CEE Animation Talents program in 2020.

We are delighted to deliver you the insightful and interesting words from the young two directors on their journey of developing their multi-award-winning film SH_T Happens.

This interview does include spoilers, so we strongly recommend watching the film first before reading this article.

Interview with Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf

Hideki Nagaishi (HN): This film needed about five years to complete, right?

Michaela Mihályi and David Štumpf: Yes. We think that it took us around five years all-together. Development was about four years and last year was the production part of it. But of course, it was not a consistent five years. We did it on and off in-between our individual films for school and some commercial work.

HN: Is this film the graduation film at FAMU for both of you? If so, did you develop the film as the graduation film of FAMU from the beginning?

David Štumpf: Both of us couldn’t finish school with the film, because Michaela was in a bachelor programme and I was in a masters programme. So, it ended up being my graduation film.

Michaela Mihályi: Well, the development had different stages. At first, it was my bachelor film treatment at our previous film school, the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, Slovakia. After we left the school, we started to develop the film during our gap year. At that time, we tried to get some development financing, and we started to work with our producer, Peter Badač (BFILM). When the development was close to being finished, we brought it to our school FAMU in Prague, Czech Republic that we were attending at that time. They were very kind to let us continue the film in the school.

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