Last weekend proved very successful for Polish animators. At the animated film festival 24th ANIMAFEST, which ended in Zagreb yesterday evening, as many as four awards went to the Poles.

From among 1725 films produced in 73 countries, which were submitted to the festival this year, the selection committee chose 144 films. There were three Polish films that screened in the main competition and competed for the festival's Grand Prix  - "Ziegenort" by Tomasz Popakul, "The Baths" by Tomek Ducki and "Hippos" by Piotr Dumała. "Ex Animo" by Wojciech Wojtkowski was screened in frame of panorama screening  while in the student film panorama, two animations by the students of Film School in Łódź were shown - "Luke and Lotta" by Renata Gąsiorowska and "Ab Ovo" by Anita Kwiatkowska-Naqvi. The music video "Shape" - made by the duo KIJEK/ADAMSKI screened in the competitive commissioned film category. 

At this yesterday's closing ceremony, the first award went to the film "Ziegenort." Tomek Popakul was given the Zlatko Grgić Award for the best début. On presenting the award the jury gave the following explanation - A story about a young man-fish who faces the difficulties of growing up boasts outstanding technical qualities, ambitious and complex narrative which carefully explores the issues of self-harm and youth relationships and supporting drawings that contribute to the tactile experience. "Ziegenort" was produced by  the NoLabel studio.

The jury of the main competition also granted the Poles two honourable mentions. In accordance with the festival tradition, each of the jury members chooses one favourite film and awards it with the honourable mention. Joan Ashsworth - British director of animated films, currently associated with Royal College of Art - selected "Baths" by Tomek Ducki (produced by Studio Miniatur Filmowych and Peek and Boo). Ashworth was captivated by the interesting juxtaposition of two dimensions - the past (or imaginary world) and the present. The second honourable mention went to Piotr Dumała for his "Hippos" (produced by Fumi Studio).  The film was awarded by Marie-Hélène Girod - the commissioning editor from Arte Creatif, who chose the film because it tackles a difficult subject of violence against women.

The last award of the evening went to the music video "Shape" made by the duo Kijek/Adamski to the song by Shugo Tokumaru. The jury appreciated the creativity with which the authors used cut-outs to illustrate surprising forms and their subsequent transformations.

After the French Annecy, ANIMAFEST is the second oldest festival in the world dedicated exclusively to animated films. The festival was launched in 1972 thanks to the global reputation of the filmmakers sprung from the Zagreb School of Animation. Until 2005, the festival was organised in the form of biennial, but now it takes place annually, alternating between short films and feature-length films. The films awarded the Grand Prix in Zagreb are nominated for the Cartoon d'Or and also have an easier way of applying for Academy Award nomination.

You can find the full list of awarded films and learn more about the festival itself here