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Animarkt Review: A Must Event for Stop Motion Film-makers

// Reviews (Event)

5 days, 4 judges, 15 projects from 11 countries, and many prizes… Animarkt has just wrapped up its second edition, and Skwigly was present to witness all the stop-motion goodness on offer.

Taking place between 2-6 October, Animark is a mixture of a pitching forum, series of workshops, and film screenings; topped off with some of the best networking opportunities.

The pitching forum takes up the bulk of the programme – to sum up how it works: each year Amimarkt accepts stop-motion project submissions from all over Europe and then selects 15 projects to take part in pitching at the event. The lucky 15 are then offered two training sessions on the days before they pitch. This year they had one session with Nancy Denney-Phelps (“How to pitch and promote your project”) and one with Wim Vanacker (“Script session”). From talking to Nancy and the participants, I understand how invaluable these sessions were, as most spent the night before their pitch furiously re-working their pitches! It showed, as all 15 presentations were of a very high standard. Following the day of pitching, the judges convene and decide on which projects should be awarded which prizes; which are then presented at the closing ceremony on the final night (see the winners below).

Workshops, screenings and talks fill up the remainder of the event. A few highlights included:

UK animator, Tim Allen, led a 2-day stop-motion workshop, where a group of individuals received personalised help and advice on improving their animating skills. Tim was also present for the reunion and screening of the animated special ‘The Magic Piano’. For anyone who marvels at those intricate Laika behind-the-scenes shots they show after the credits, should watch The Magic Piano for one of the most intricate puppets I have seen animated. Tim took us through the challenges of animating 52 points of articulation per frame!

Kim Keukeleire shared her experience of working on many stop-motion projects, including Chicken Run, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Frankenweenie, and My Life As A Courgette, and gave tips on starting a career in the animation business.

Zofia Jaroszuk, producer at Animoon, presented a case study of the feature-length puppet animation “Moomins and the Winter Wonderland” which will be coming out this winter. We will be bringing more news on this project in the coming month.

Of course, no event like this would be complete without networking – this is something Animarkt does extremely well – from the lunches, dinners and informal trips to bars, to the structured ‘one-to-one’ sessions on the final day where you can pre-arrange meetings with directors, producers, distributors and others. The whole event is very relaxed and comfortable, and by the end you will know every participant.

Although no dates have been announced yet, Animarkt will be taking place in September/October 2018; bigger and better, with more workshops, guests and opportunities to meet and do business. Submissions for next year’s pitching event will be opening March//April 2018 (for shorts and TV specials made in a puppet technique). A massive thanks are due to the Momakin team that put this event together each year – Paulina Zacharek, Iwona Buchcic, Kasia Gromadzka, Agnieszka Kowalewska, Olivia Jary and the others behind the scene. We look forward to what next year’s event will bring!

Why Łódź?

I couldn’t review this event without a mention of the wonderful city that hosts it. Anyone who has visited Annecy for the festival will realise the importance a location plays in hosting an event or festival. So what is so special about Łódź? Here are a few facts about it and its relevance to animation and stop motion:

  1. Łódź has a very rich history of puppet theatre and stop motion animation. The stop motion studio Se-Ma-For (which ‘technically’ still exists today), was founded in 1947 and has produced films such as Suzie Templeton’s Peter and the Wolf, the Moomin TV series, and more.
  2. The third largest city in Poland, it has the nickname ‘Poland’s Manchester’ due to involvement in the textile industry. The city has some amazing buildings and factories left over from this era. The city is also peppered with sculptures and wall art every way you turn – it’s truly a visual city, perfect for any artist to explore.
  3. Fun fact: If you have been reading this article pronouncing the city like the word ‘lots’, it is in fact pronounced like the word ‘woodge’!

The 2017 Prize Winning Projects

1st Prize:  “The Kite” – Martin Smatana, Czech Republic
Prize: Contribution in-kind, 60 000 PLN (ca €14.200)

Synopsis: The Kite is a film for children that attempts to explain the fact that none of us are here forever and all living creatures must die, using metaphor and hyperbole and perceiving death as a finish line of a life-long journey. At the same time it hints that the one’s journey doesn’t have to end with their death.
Martin also picked up an additional prize of Accreditation to the MIFA 2018 market.
View Martin’s work here

2nd Prize:  “Bear Hug” – Margrethe Danielsen, Norway
Prize: Contribution in-kind, 30 000 PLN (ca €7100)

Synopsis: A little bear is sitting all alone at his birthday party. As he leaves the party, he is surprised to see that some birds are landing on his birthday table. Little bear goes back, but the birds are frightened by the sight of the little bear… 

3rd Prize:  “Sacculina Carcini” – Kasia Nalewajka, Poland
Prize: Contribution in-kind, 20 000 PLN (ca €4700)

Synopsis: Sacculina carcini is a parasite that preys on crabs. This tiny barnacle can make a male crab believe that he’s a pregnant female. The film blends the elements of narrative storytelling and nature documentary to explore the adventures of Cornelius – the crab infected by a mind-controlling parasite.

View Kasia’s work here

“The Bridge” – Izumi Yoshida, Poland
Prize: Dragonframe 4 + Bluetooth controller

Synopsis: The plot, from a 10 year old boy’s perspective, tells the story of orphans who have lost their families and homeland, who have had to become adults and fight for their lives, who thanks to people of goodwill were saved and given their childhood back.

“Cassandra’s Head” – Paweł Czarzasty, Poland
Prize: Armature Kit from Animation Supplies

Synopsis: Inspired by the well-known story with the same title. Tells the story of a lonely hero in a post-apocalyptic world, who defuses dormant missiles hidden under the ground.

“The Man in the Door” – Wolfgang Matzl, Germany
Prize: Accreditation to the MIFA 2018 market

Synopsis: A man sits in a dark and sparse room. Attracted by a noise, he looks through an open door. Suddenly a doppelganger appears, who not only takes the man’s place but also seems to have taken his head. “
The Man in the Door” tells the surreal story of a man’s attempt to find and regain his missing head. It consists of 3 acts – with each act beginning where the last one ends and revealing more and more with each viewing.
View Wolfgang’s work here

“Man Wanted” – Irida Zhonga, Greece
Prize: Weekend in SPA resort

Synopsis: Stuart is a young man who enters a metro station full of poster and ads of beautiful women. Walking down the stairs, he gets immersed in a world he cannot control, and finds himself in a strange trajectory that leads to a chase in empty wagons, full of whispers and shadows in half-lit stations. He tries to get away from all the things that chase him and make him commit: the faces of women at the poster which come to life and haunt him…
View Irida’s work here

The Other Pitched Projects

Train Tracks
Tom Madar
Synopsis: Jonah doesn’t speak. Jonah has no friends. One day maybe her dad will come back. One day she might be brave. But until then, she has t find the box that dad sent, fight the school bully, and meet a couple of strange new friends.
Contact Tom at

Szandra Pataki & Zsuzsa Kemény, Hungary
Synopsis: Despite knowing the fact, that our life is heading to a wrong direction, we don’t do anything against it until we lose even what we had before.
View Szandra’s work here and View Zsuzsa’s work here

Katalin Egely, Hungary
Synopsis: One of the main problems of our time is that our expectations are too high. Since we can’t all be perfect or special, we’ll never reach the ideal state, and so we’re looking for someone else to blame instead of changing our own point of view. The movie One draws a parallel between the struggle for survival in the nature and an urban environment.
View Katalin’s work here

The Bird
Daria Kashcheeva, Czech Republic
Synopsis: The girl was hurt as a child and keeps alive the memory of it. She lacked love from her father and now she is not able to share her feelings with him. She can’t get rid from painful memories taking her back to when she brought home a little dead bird and her father didn’t support her. Sometimes it is too hard to open your feelings to a close one. Sometimes it is too late.”
View Daria’s work here

Carrus Navalis
Antonia Begusic, Croatia
Synopsis: A dark satire about 4 carnival characters that are presenting how to become Human by mocking cardinal human virtues – Temperance, Prudence, Justice and Courage, to a masked Crowd. By showing the exact opposite of those virtues they make fun of social institutions and themselves, leading to the question: is there a way for society to escape the chaos they created?
View more from the production company

Birutė Sodeikaitė & Agnė Adomėnė (producer), Lithuania
Synopsis: A story about choice and its haunting consequences. A young mother, Elena, loses her son after giving in to the satisfaction of her personal needs. Plagued by guilt she tries to get to terms with the consequences of her choice by physically harming herself.

The Side Effects
Olga Titova, Russia
Synopsis: The sci-fi comedy for young audience, kids about 8-12 ages. Curious case of little Mr. Myszkowicz, lab mouse. With a light dose of genre noire. The mouse falls into the secret laboratory. And becomes a subject of the test. He demonstrate one special property: the “elevated survival”. Now, he can’t die. So, more experiments! And no pity to poor Mouse…
View Olga’s work here

The Garden of Theodore
Jeremy Warder, UK
Synopsis: The Garden Of Theodore is about a musician Theodore and the magic powers he has to
create life from the music he plays. It is also a story about kidnap and isolation of the
creative individual in the modern age.
View Jeremy’s work here and follow on Twitter

Animarkt Event Gallery

Photos by Tomasz Kaluzny (

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