ITFS Winners ITFS Winners

The 29th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS) came to an end last weekend, after six days of festivities.

This year’s edition was the first to go hybrid, with aspects available in person and online. The previous two editions were entirely online, while those held pre-pandemic had no online components. Guests who were able to attend this year included Steven Appleby (Captain Star), Joanna Quinn (Affairs of the Art), Thomas Renoldner (Sunny Afternoon), Jan-Dirk Bouw (I Love Hooligans), Mark Shapiro (former marketing/brand lead at Laika), and producer Emely Christians (A Stork’s Journey).

Ulrich Wegenast, artistic managing director of ITFS said:

Due to Corona and the war in Ukraine, we had more difficult conditions for the festival this year than ever before! It was therefore all the more gratifying that we were not only able to register a record number of entries (approx. 2,100 submissions), but also to offer an intensive program that dealt with the burning questions of our time and once again made it clear that animation and games are socially and artistically extremely relevant media for adults!

Dieter Krauß, commercial managing director at ITFS added:

The greatest success of this year’s ITFS is that it could take place again on site at Schlossplatz and in different locations, thus not only fulfilling the cultural mission of conveying international animation art, but at the same time – for the first time since the pandemic – qualitatively revitalizing Stuttgart’s city center.

Below, a full list of Stuttgart prize-winners and the juries’ statements about why they were selected.

International Competition

Grand Award
Bestia, Hugo Covarrubias (Chile)

Bestia is a complex, multi-layered, infinitely re-watchable portrait of a torturer. A person who surfaces over and over again throughout human history. It is a puzzling, mysterious, and genuinely disturbing piece of art.

Special Mention #1
Hysteresis, Robert Seidel (Germany)

Seidel’s drawings merge with performer Tsuki and machine learning strategies in a feedback system to create a pulsating flow of images in folded spatial configurations. Oval’s music also makes the viewer lose contact with the last points of reference.

Special Mention #2
Steakhouse, Špela Čadež (France, Germany, Slovenia)

A brave and shocking study of passive aggression in a relationship. A quiet but powerful rebellion against the ordinary familiarity of domestic abuse. The artwork and beautifully observed acting create a suffocating atmosphere. However, the window is open and the smoke slowly clears, leaving us some room for hope.

Lotte Reiniger Promotion Award

The Immoral (L’Immoral), Ekin Koca (France)

A simple and dramatic comment on the savagery and dangers of the group mentality, told with delightfully dark humour and beautifully observed body language.

SWR OnlineFilm Audience Award

To the Last Drop (Bis zum letzten Tropfen), Simon Schnellmann (Germany)

Young Animation

Underwater Love, Andrea Falzone, Maria Cristina Fiore, Veronica Martiradonna (Italy)

The main award goes to the authentic, punk, and imperfect film Underwater Love which is about an emotional carousel called life. The raw, vibrant technique perfectly supports a passionate story of becoming a woman. The jury was amazed by the shameful, courageous animation, and the openness of the directors to risk and explore.

Special Mention
The Seine’s Tears (Les larmes de la Seine), Alice Letailleur, Eliott Benard, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Lisa Vicente, Nicolas Mayeur, Philippine Singer, Yanis Belaid (France)

The Special Mention goes to the film Les Larmes de la Seine which is about the clash of ideas and the brutal forces of history that tend to repeat themselves. It is a poetic story made with an impressive cinematographic and technical mastery.


Flee, Jonas Poher Rasmussen (Denmark, France, Sweden, Norway)

The ITFS Festival gave us – the jury – quite a challenge. Various films, each with its own unique and beautiful characteristics, were put before us. Some films were driven by deep humanitarian content and cruel displacement of families living under the unbearable rule of authoritarian leaders. Some featured colorfully vivid journeys where friendships were forged and heroes were born. Some were a mixture of the above.

Special Mention
My Sunny Maad, Michaela Pavlátová (France, Czech Republic, Slovakia)

First we would like to draw attention to the position of women in a patriarchal society, not east, nor west, but globally. In her film, director Michaela Pavlátová highlights not only the harsh clash between the European and Afghan cultures, but also the warm relationship between the more progressive patriarch of the Kabul family and the young European wife of his son. The character of the little adopted son was strongly developed, drawn and placed in a picturesque cinematographic setting. The little boy was, for us, the real hero of the film.

Trickster Nature Award

Pig, Jorn Leeuwerink (Netherlands)

The film shows the immeasurable audacity of human incorrigibility, in all its facets, in an entertaining and cheeky way; the short movie weaves together everyday stories about an electric blanket, a kettle, or a smoothie blender, revealing a paradoxical, exploitative, selfish system. The film gets to the point.

Tricks for Kids

The Most Boring Granny in the Whole World, Damaris Zielke (Germany)

The animation is extremely detailed and the perspective of the images so exciting that we felt as if we had slipped under the covers too. We also noticed a good atmosphere among the audience. The film left us thoughtful but not sad with the following idea: If there are no good memories, then let’s make some!

Special Mention
Mum is Pouring Rain, Hugo De Faucompret (France)

The topic of depression is relevant to many people, and we think it’s important that films deal with the disease and educate audiences. The depiction of depression seemed very believable to us, and we think that younger children should be exposed to the topic. The film made that possible in a beautiful way.

Audience Award
Giuseppe, Isabelle Favez (Switzerland)

FANtastic Award

The Soloists, Celeste Jamneck, Feben Elias Woldehawariat, Mehrnaz Abdollahina, Razahk Issaka, Yi Liu (France)

We have never been so united in the FANtastic jury as this year – because we all liked one film in particular. Produced by an international team and in view of the political developments worldwide, this year’s award-winning film convinced us above all with its exuberant creativity full of pop-cultural references and simultaneous return to the traditions of animated film. Filling such a serious and depressing topic as systematic gender injustice with humor is a special art – which is why we are awarding Mehrnaz Abdollahinia, Razahk Issaka, Celeste Jamneck, Yi Liu and Feben Elias Woldehawariat with the FANtastic Award 2022 for their film The Soloists.

Special Mention
The Seine’s Tears (Les larmes de la Seine), Alice Letailleur, Eliott Benard, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Lisa Vicente, Nicolas Mayeur, Philippine Singer, Yanis Belaid (France)

We give our Special Mention for a film that has inspired us in a unique way. As we all know, democracy is fragile and not available everywhere or to everyone – this is what The Seine’s Tears… clearly shows us. With a coherent overall concept, impressive music, sophisticated technique, and convincing metaphors, this film makes the massacre of Algerian immigrants in Paris 1961 visible without being moralizing.

Crazy Horse Session – 48H Animation Jam

Bath, Shantanu Karkare, Siddhi Vartak (India)

Animated Games Award Germany

Minute of Islands, Studio Fizbin

Minute of Islands is an independent game with depth in both the artistic design and the narration. Animations are used sparingly, but purposefully and carefully within the hand-drawn graphics. They either enliven the 2D graphics or draw attention to objects that are important for the story or further gameplay.

Special Mentions
Lacuna, DigiTales Interactive

Lacuna not only impresses visually with technically perfectly implemented and detailed pixel graphics, but above all with its gripping, fantastically told story, which captivates the player and motivates them to keep playing. The irreversible, partly moral decisions to be made unfold a dramaturgical tension, increase the appeal of the game and invite you to get to know the world and its characters as well as the plot in general in different ways. Cultural and socially relevant topics also find their place in the course of the story and thus give the game a real-life connection.

Pictured Above: ‘Steakhouse,’ ‘Bestia,’ ‘To the Last Drop’