Zippy Frames, a solid European resource that covers animation festivals and films, surveyed an esteemed group of 28 industry professionals, including festival programmers, academics, and filmmakers (among them Tomm Moore, Konstantin Bronzit, and Sarah Saidan), about their favorite animated shorts of 2016.

Each particpant was asked to list three independent animation shorts that impressed/impacted them during 2016 (films that started their festival run in 2015 were also eligible). Two films tied for first place, with six votes apiece: Theodore Ushev’s Blind Vaysha (Canada/France) and Špela Čadež’s Nighthawk (Slovenia/Croatia). Rounding out the top five were Alberto Vázquez’s Decorado, Marta Pajek’s Impossible Figures and Other Stories II, and Réka Bucsi’s Love.

The top twelve films are listed below, along with trailers for each. Overall, it’s an excellent group of films. When I was on the jury at 3D Wire Fest a couple months ago, we recognized three of the films on this list with awards, and I highlighted another three of the films in a single post earlier this year.

A note of caution: don’t expect these selections to yield many clues about the upcoming Oscar contest. The Academy, which is far removed in taste from the rest of the animation community, shortlisted just two of the twelve films included on this list, both of which happen to be NFB projects: the aforementioned winner, Blind Vaysha, and Franck Dion’s The Head Vanishes.

  • 1 (tie). Blind Vaysha, Theodore Ushev (NFB/Arte France), Canada/France, 2016

    Nighthawk, Špela Čadež (Finta/RTV Slovenia/Bonobostudio) Slovenia/Croatia, 2016

  • 3. Decorado, Alberto Vázquez (UniKo & Autour de Minuit), Spain/ France, 2016
  • 4 (tie). Impossible Figures and Other Stories II (Figury niemozliwe i inne historie II), Marta Pajek (Animoon), Poland, 2016

    Love, Réka Bucsi (Boddah Production), Hungary, 2016

  • 6. The Head Vanishes (Une Tête disparaît), Franck Dion (NFB/ Papy3D Productions), France, 2016 (Read more about Franck Dion’s The Head Vanishes.)
  • 7. Before Love, Igor Kovalyov, Russia 2015
  • 8. Peripheria, David Coquard-Dassault (Autour de Minuit, Schmuby Productions), France, 2015
  • 9. Three Fitted Flies (Tres Moscas a medida), Maria Alvarez and Elisa Morais, Spain/ Lithuania, 2016
  • 10. Black, Tomasz Popakul, Poland / Japan, 2016
  • 11. In the distance, Florian Grolig, Germany, 2015
  • 12. Lõss, Yi Zhao, Netherlands, 2015