Nienke Deutz’s “The Miracle” Triumphs at Animafest Zagreb 2024

Winners of the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2024. Image: Animafest Zagreb
Winners of the World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2024. Image: Animafest Zagreb

Short Summary:

The World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2024 concluded with the Grand Prix awarded to The Miracle by Nienke Deutz. Other notable winners include Reborn with You for the Zlatko Grgić Award and Entropic Memory for the Golden Zagreb Award. Audience awards went to Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child! and Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds. The 35th festival is scheduled for June 2-7, 2025, in Croatia.

The World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2024 ended tonight with an award ceremony at the SC Cinema in Croatia. The jury for the Grand Competition Short Film, composed of Sofiia Melnyk, Naomi Van Niekerk, Marta Pajek, Malte Stein, and Vjeran Šalamon, awarded the Grand Prix to the Belgian-Dutch-French film The Miracle, directed by Nienke Deutz. The film, produced by Lunanime, Keplerfilm, and Les Productions de Milou, was praised for its subtle and nuanced treatment of an invisible subject, leaving viewers with a sense of hope.

The Golden Zagreb Award for creativity and innovative artistic achievement went to Nicolas Brault for the independently produced Canadian film Entropic Memory. The jury commended the film for its depiction of decaying memories, drawing viewers into another layer of beauty.

The Zlatko Grgić Award for the best first film made outside of an educational institution was awarded to the South Korean film Reborn with You by Inju Park. The film, an independent production, was recognized for its tender portrayal of an inner journey through a mesmerizing world of loss.

Special prizes were also awarded by the jury members. Sofiia Melnyk chose the French film Aaaah! by Osman Cerfon for its original and humorous take on school pressures and the effective use of the animation loop. Naomi Van Niekerk awarded the Slovenian-Croatian film Three Birds by Zarje Menart for its layered visuals and captivating sound design. Marta Pajek's special award went to the Colombian-French film The Bitch by Carla Melo Gampert for its brutally honest yet touching mother-daughter relationship. Malte Stein selected the Polish film Zima by Tomek Popakula and Kasumi Ozeki for its impactful narrative on forgiveness. Vjeran Šalamon gave his special award to the South Korean film Circle by Yumi Joung for its simple and sophisticated elegance.

In the Grand Competition Feature Film category, the jury, consisting of Barry JC Purves, Vassilis C. Karamitsanis, and Vera Neubauer, awarded the Grand Prix to the Spanish-German film Sultana’s Dream by Isabel Herguera. The jury praised the film for its beautiful design, profound narrative, and lasting impact. A special award was given to the Hungarian film Pelikan Blue by Lászlo Csáki for its well-structured, well-researched, and historically resonant storytelling.

The combined jury of the Student Film Competition and the Croatian Film Competition, comprising Diana Cam Van Nguyen, João Gonzalez, and Ivana Kvesić, awarded the Dušan Vukotić Award for the best student film to the German film Carrotica by Daniel Sterlin-Altman. The jury appreciated the film's humorous, original, and human portrayal of a relationship.

Special awards in this category went to the Polish film Such Miracles Do Happen by Barbara Rupik for its innovative animation technique and examination of traditions and religion, and the South Korean film The Posthuman Hospital by Junha Kim for its creative visualization of the post-human era.

The best film of the Croatian Film Competition was Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child! by Milivoj and Veljko Popović. The film, produced by Prime Render Studio, Bagan Films, and 3D2D Animator, was praised for its endearing, touching, and humorous approach to a personal and historical topic. The film also received a financial award of 1,000 euros from the Croatian Film Directors Guild. Eugen Bilankov's Windows from the South received a special award for its subtle and imaginative storytelling.

The Films for Children and Youth Competition jury awarded the main prize to the Mexican-French-Hungarian film Nube by Diego Alonso Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada and Christian Arredondo Narváez, while the Polish film The Grand Mother by Julia Hazuka received special recognition in the Films for Children Competition. In the Films for Youth Competition, special recognition went to the French film On the 8th Day by Agatha Sénéchal, Alicia Massez, Elise Debruyne, Flavia Carin, and Thé Duhautois.

Audience awards were also presented, with Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child! winning the Audience Award Mr. M for the Grand Competition Short Film, and Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds by Benoît Chieux winning the Audience Award Mr. M for the Grand Competition Feature Film.

The 35th World Festival of Animated Film - Animafest Zagreb will be held from June 2 to 7, 2025, in Croatia.

Awarded Films List

  1. Grand Prix (Grand Competition Short Film):
    • The Miracle / Nienke Deutz / Belgium, Netherlands, France
  2. Golden Zagreb Award:
    • Entropic Memory / Nicolas Brault / Canada
  3. Zlatko Grgić Award:
    • Reborn with You / Inju Park / South Korea
  4. Special Prizes:
    • Aaaah! / Osman Cerfon / France
    • Three Birds / Zarje Menart / Slovenia, Croatia
    • The Bitch / Carla Melo Gampert / Colombia, France
    • Zima / Tomek Popakula, Kasumi Ozeki / Poland
    • Circle / Yumi Joung / South Korea
  5. Grand Prix (Grand Competition Feature Film):
    • Sultana’s Dream / Isabel Herguera / Spain, Germany
  6. Special Award (Grand Competition Feature Film):
    • Pelikan Blue / Lászlo Csáki / Hungary
  7. Dušan Vukotić Award:
    • Carrotica / Daniel Sterlin-Altman / Germany
  8. Special Awards (Student Film Competition and Croatian Film Competition):
    • Such Miracles Do Happen / Barbara Rupik / Poland
    • The Posthuman Hospital / Junha Kim / South Korea
  9. Best Croatian Film:
    • Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child! / Milivoj and Veljko Popović / Croatia, France
  10. Special Award (Croatian Film Competition):
    • Windows from the South / Eugen Bilankov / Croatia
  11. Best Film (Films for Children and Youth Competition):
    • Nube / Diego Alonso Sánchez de la Barquera Estrada, Christian Arredondo Narváez / Mexico, France, Hungary
  12. Special Recognition (Films for Children Competition):
    • The Grand Mother / Julia Hazuka / Poland
  13. Special Recognition (Films for Youth Competition):
    • On the 8th Day / Agatha Sénéchal, Alicia Massez, Elise Debruyne, Flavia Carin, Thé Duhautois / France
  14. Audience Award Mr. M (Grand Competition Short Film):
    • Žarko, You Will Spoil the Child! / Milivoj and Veljko Popović / Croatia, France
  15. Audience Award Mr. M (Grand Competition Feature Film):
    • Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds / Benoît Chieux / France