The animated documentary by director Joanna Kożuch has been exceptionally successful in recent days. The film was awarded at three festivals – Animest in Romania, Ekofilm in the Czech Republic, and Sedicicorto in Italy.

At Italy's Sediciocorto International Film Festival, Joanna Kożuch's film received the Animalab Award in the best animation & experiment category. You can read more about the festival and other winning titles here. In turn, at the Czech festival Ekofilm, Once There Was a Sea… was named the best short film of the event. For more information about the event itself, click here. The third award came from Romania. The Polish-Slovak production received the title of Best Anidoc at the Animest – Bucharest International Animation Film Festival. All of this year's winners can be found on the event's website.

Once, there was a sea…

The Aral Sea.

A sea that has vanished…

And seaside life disappeared along with it. Fishermen lost their jobs, factories closed down, even the Rebirth Island (home to a secret Soviet military base and biological weapons test site) is no longer an island. Only a dead desert littered with wrecks of huge fishing boats remains… along with people who have been living on these dry shores for years and dreaming of “high water”… And only the salty desert is spreading, while dry salt crystals shimmer on the former seabed.