From June 9 to 15, the largest animated film festival in the world took place in Annecy, France. The Czech production company Maurfilm had a significant representation with five films, and took home awards for three short films: Audience Award for a Short Film – Hurikan; Young Audience Award – Hello Summer; and Award for Best Original Music Award for a Short Film – Joko.

“This hattrick of awards represents films made with wide range of animation techniques and shows the immense creativity of our authors,” say producers Kamila Dohnalová and Martin Vandas. “We are thrilled that Žižkov’s idiosyncrasies, humor and the atmosphere of the 1990s are internationally comprehensible and entertaining for audiences from all over the world who visit Annecy every year,” adds producer Kamila Dohnalová regarding the film Hurikan. “The reasoning of the young jury, which gave its award to the film Hello Summer, moved us and reassured us of the empathy and sense of playfulness of the upcoming generation,” adds Martin Vandas.

Hurikan, a black-and-white romance with comedic elements directed by Jan Saska, takes the viewer back to the 1990s in Prague’s Žižkov. Here, the titular hero embarks on an odyssey in an attempt to get a new keg of beer for the barmaid Bára, whom he has a crush on. A seemingly simple mission if it didn’t take place in this wild Prague district. The picture was created by cartoon 2D animation using 3D references and several dozen animators from the Czech Republic, France, Slovakia and Bosnia and Herzegovina participated in it. It is the director’s professional debut and follows his latest short Happy End (2015) in genre, for which he collected a number of festival awards and was shortlisted for the Oscars.

“I would like to thank the whole team for a great job! I am also very grateful to the audience for such a warm and beautiful reception. There was also a great atmosphere among the creators in our section, from whom I also received a number of encouraging messages. We thank Annecy for the opportunity to meet each other at such a great festival,”
– says the film’s director, Jan Saska.

Joining the line-up is the holiday slapstick by director duo Martin Smatana and Veronika Zacharová Hello Summer which charmed the festival audiences in the Young Audience competition section. The short film combines stop-motion and hand-drawn animation and delivers an eleven-minute spectacle full of unexpected twists and turns.

The trio is completed with an adaptation of a theatre drama Joko by Ronald Topor in co-production with a Polish and German studio. The grotesque story of exploitation and domination of man over man appealed to the jury with its music performed by Aliaksandr Yasinski, who also created the music for the film Hello Summer.

“I am proud of our film crews, whose commitment turned our participation in Annecy into a triumph we never dreamed of. We also thank the co-producers, funds and distributors who, with their trust, enable us to create and grow,”
– says Martin Vandas.

A record 3,277 films from 108 countries of the world applied for this year’s festival, and two more films from the Maurfilm studio made it to the prestigious selection. The student section included Weeds, which recently had its world premiere at the Cannes festival. And in the Perspectives category, debuting Ukrainian director Anastasia Falileieva presented her intimate documentary diary I Died in Irpin. A poignant exploration of survival during the Ukrainian conflict, told through the lens of personal experience.


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Hello Summer

I Died in Irpin

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