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LIAF 2020: Judges Award Statements

Each year we search for the finest panel of judges: educators; independent animators; producers; authors, curators and more. All are experts in their field and all possess an informed and exploratory eye for excellence in the animation world.

This year we were honoured to welcome a carefully selected judging panel who perfectly filled our criteria: Chris Shepherd, Max Hattler and Sophie Koko-Gate (our international competition programme Judges); Noel Palazzo and Ana Santos (our abstract film award judges), Abigail Addison, Ben Wheele and Shaun Clark (our Late Night Bizarre and music video judges) and Lilith Silver and Martha Stanners (our children’s competition judges).

They valiantly viewed, assessed and debated the finer points of every single one of the films selected for competition.

We cannot emphasise enough, just how difficult a task this is. It takes an awful lot of time, an immense level of concentration, diligent note-taking, as well as debating skills to make these decisions. And so we’d like to extend a heart-filled ‘thank you’ to our Panel of Judges.

Below you’ll find out a little more about their decisions and why each of the following animations were awarded their prizes and awards.

Best Film of the Festival: Wood Child and Hidden Forest Mother – Stephen Irwin

Jury Statement:

Nature in technicolour, a savage, who is savaged by their own kin. We loved this wild unpredictable storyline full of colour and darkness. Survival, motherhood, death and beyond to alternate dimensions, parallel lives – we’ve never seen anything like it before, truly unique. Think twice before shooting a rainbow goblin in the woods.

Chris Shepherd, Sophie Koko-Gate and Max Hattler

Best British Film Award: Wood Child and Hidden Forest Mother – Stephen Irwin

Jury Statement:

This film confused and delighted us in equal amounts. Propelled by a triumphant orchestral score it takes us into the depths of weirdness where birth and death meet in an endless cycle of rainbows, blood and breast-milk.

Chris Shepherd, Sophie Koko-Gate and Max Hattler

Best Sound & Music Award: Average Happiness – Pater Braker (Sound Design), Joy Frempong (Music)

Jury Statement:

This exceptional film made the mundane fantastic taking us on a playful aural journey of discovery. This film didn’t make the jury averagely happy but incredibly happy.

Chris Shepherd, Sophie Koko-Gate and Max Hattler

Best Abstract Film Award: Serial Parallels – Max Hattler

Jury Statement:

In this marriage of technical prowess and poetic observation, the artist serialises Hong Kong’s urban landscape into an overpowering mega-creature. Following its claustrophobic visual pulse, thousands of raw photographs are mindfully reframed and sequenced into surprising compositions of concrete and glass cells, punctuated by fleeting traces of those who inhabit them.

Noel Palazzo and Ana Santos (Punto Y Raya)

Special Commendation: (INVADE) (Wong Man Sze)

Best Music Video Award: Kai ‘A Little Too Much’ – Martina Scarpelli

Jury Statement:

The jury enjoyed the striking and sensual visuals, and their powerful representation of femininity and the female experience. The animation drove home the sentiment of the song successfully, making visible subconscious thoughts about our identities and bodies and the need to feel comfortable about who you are.

Abigail Addison, Shaun Clark and Ben Wheele

Special Commendation: Stormzy ‘Superheroes’ (Taz Tron Delix)

For its inspiring narrative which really conveys the message of the music. The 2D animation is also well constructed with fluid movement and strong design work.

Best Late Night Bizarre Award: Ghosts – Jee-Youn Park

Jury Statement:

A striking and surreal animation. The creator explores the fears bound up in a stagnating relationship through unexpected imagery, weaving portals and dreamlike spaces into a mundane existence. The sound design effectively heightens the tension and the emptiness of the relationship.

Abigail Addison, Shaun Clark and Ben Wheele

Special Commendation: Cage Match (Bryan Lee)

For its absurd study of masculinity. Resembling a daydream doodled in biro, this comical animation contains some truly fantastical characters and action sequences.

Best Childrens’ Film 0-7 year-olds: Patchwork Penguin – Angela Steffen

Jury Statement:

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Patchwork Penguin, Angela SteffenThe look and storyline was gentle and comforting, perfect for small children. The intro song was really catchy. Instead of the classic type of kids cartoon imagery, they used loads of different beautiful fabrics to bring everything to life. The narrator was really good and I loved how kids would be able to get to know all the little patchwork characters and their stories.

Lilith Silver and Martha Stanners

Special Commendation: The Bird and the Whale (Carol Freeman)

Best Childrens’ Film 8-15 year-olds: Archie – Ainslie Henderson

Jury Statement:

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Archie, Ainslie HendersonI was drawn in by the sober music and the unique style of animation. This was perfect for the upper end of the age-group. A very warm and heartfelt film. Lovely characters, music and general atmosphere.

Lilith Silver and Martha Stanners

Chris Shepherd’s Special Mention: Washing Machine (Alexandra Májová)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Washing Machine, Alexandra Májová

I loved this cheeky colourful film of desire, jealousy and fast spins. It’s comic timing was perfection. Even though it’s short it has the power to surprise and charm. I felt the washing vibrations and could watch it all over again.

Chris Shepherd

 

Sophie Koko-Gate’s Special Mention: Naked (Kirill Khachaturov)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Naked, Kirill Khachaturov

 

I was drawn in by the gnarly design, the strange movement of their bodies. I loved how calm and poetic the characters’ dialogue was despite their bewildering circumstances, I believed in their surreal interactions. Most of all it left me feeling intrigued and inspired.

Sophie Koko-Gate

 

Max Hattler’s Special Mention: Opera (Erick Oh, South Korea/USA)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Opera, Erick Oh

Symmetrical society in controlled complexity: Opera is like the 4-way lovechild of Fritz Kahn’s Man Machine, Marco Brambilla’s Civilization, Hieronymus Bosch’s Last Judgement and Jossie Malis’ Bendito Machine. Respect!

Max Hattler

Best International Competition Programme 2: From Absurd to Zany

Little Miss Fate (Joder von Rotz, Switzerland)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Little Miss Fate, Joder von RotzIs there such a thing as destiny and, if so, is it possible to change it? Chaos ensues when fate ends up in the wrong hands.

2020, 8min

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Best International Competition Programme 3: Playing with Emotion

Ties (Dina Velikovskaya, Germany/Russia)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Ties, Dina VelikovskayaA daughter leaves the family home to lead a life of her own as an adult. Still, she remains connected to where she’s from, which has consequences for everyone.

2019, 8min

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Best International Competition Programme 4: Being Human

Mascot (Leeha Kim, South Korea)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Mascot, Leeha KimA fox wants to become a city mascot and studies at the Mascot training academy. He lives in a tiny house, juggles with part-time jobs, and takes out a loan to finance plastic surgery.

2019, 7min

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Best International Competition Programme 5: Into the Dark

Polka-Dot Boy (Sarina Nihei, France)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Polka-Dot Boy, Sarina NiheiA boy suffers from a polka-dot disease on his arms which leads him to discover a hidden connection between the disease and a religious group.

2020, 8min

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Best International Competition Programme 6: Animated Documentaries

Just A Guy (Shoko Hara, Germany)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Just A Guy, Shoko HaraThree women share glimpses of their affection, attraction and relationship with Richard Ramirez, a serial killer and rapist they contacted after he had been convicted.

2020, 15min

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Best International Competition Programme 7: Looking for Answers

Eli (Nate Milton, USA)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, Eli, Nate MiltonA true story based on the filmmaker’s experiences within the realms of high strangeness, magical thinking and manic delusion.

2019, 11min

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Best International Competition Programme 8: Long Shorts

The Passerby (Pieter Coudyzer, Belgium)

LIAF, London International Animation Festival, The Passerby, Pieter CoudyzerA day in the life of two boys who ostensibly have nothing in common. It is the last day for one of them, the other still has his whole life ahead of him. On this summer’s day their paths unexpectedly cross.

2020, 16min

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