The 7th edition of the CEE Animation Film Forum, a European pitching competition, which took place May 6–8 in Třeboň, Czech Republic, chose winners across three main categories (feature film, short film, and series/tv specials) for projects in development.

The 32 projects selected for competition came from across the European continent and were presented in front of almost two hundred film professionals, including producers, tv programmers, festival directors, distributors, investors, and representatives of national film funds.

The majority of selected projects came from Central and Eastern Europe: the Czech Republic (6 projects), Hungary (3 projects), Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Romania (two projects each), Slovenia, Latvia, and Ukraine (one project apiece), though France was well represented too with five projects.

The forum serves as a bridge between these regions so that mutually advantageous partnerships can develop for co-productions, pre-sales, and promotion across international markets. Participants also had the opportunity to discuss their projects with invited experts and received feedback on how to improve their presentation, script, and production strategies.

The winner of the feature film award was Allah Is Not Obliged (pictured at top) by Zaven Najjar. The film is about a 10-year-old Guinean orphan who becomes a child soldier as he tries to join his aunt in Liberia. Here’s what the jury said about the project:

We found the project fascinating due to the use of a child’s perspective. The topic of the film is strong and told in a way that has a very clear development and structure. The characters seem well grounded in reality. The light tone of the film set by the beautiful colors and playful voice of the child – balances out nicely with the cruel and dark topic.

Alan Holly’s Piece received a special mention in the feature category. Jurors were enthusiastic about the project in their statement regarding the acknowledgment:

We felt that the teenage audience is targeted really well in this project. It’s an interesting take on the coming of age genre – and a project that we felt take the conflicts, drama and difficulties of being a teenager seriously with an honest and humble approach. At the same time, the idea for the film is clever, with unique, varied and colorful visuals. It seems to become a dark film but not depressive and we are really looking forward to see an important film about the climate challenges that lay before us told in a way that will reach a wide audience!

A complete list of winners is below. Take a look at the full list of participating projects here.

Winners and other participants at CEE Animation Forum 2019

Best Feature Film Award

  • Allah Is Not Obliged
    Zaven Najjar (France)

Special Mention – Feature Film

  • Piece
    Alan Holly (Ireland)
‘Piece’ by Alan Holly

Best Short Film Award

  • Kafka in Love
    Zane Oborenko (Latvia)

Best Series/TV Special Award

  • The Cat Princess
    Iván Tamás (Hungary)

Special Mention – Series/TV Specials

  • Grandma’s Pond
    Friedrich Schäper (Germnany)
‘Kafka in Love’ by Zane Oborenko

Nespresso Audience Award – Feature Film

  • Twice Upon a Time
    Vojin Vasovic (Serbia)

Animation Sans Frontieres Scholarship Award- Short Film

  • The Family Portrait
    Lea Vidaković (Croatia)

Anomalia Scholarship Award – Feature Film

  • Twice Upon a Time
    Vojin Vasovic (Serbia)
‘Twice Upon a Time’ by Vojin Vasovic

CEE Animation Workshop Scholarship Award – Short Film Producer

  • Where To
    Produced by Vessela Dantcheva
    Dir. Asparuh Petrov (Bulgaria)

Eave Marketing Workshop Scholarship – Short Film Producer

  • Viskovitz
    Produced by Ioana Lascar
    Dir. Serghei Chiviriga (Romania)

Pop Up Film Residency Scholarship Award

  • Piece
    Alan Holly (Ireland)

Carlos Aguilar

Carlos Aguilar is a contributing writer to Cartoon Brew.