List of winners of the 23rd edition of Mecal Pro (On Line)
GREAT ANIMATION AWARD, by the Animation Jury
Souvenir Souvenir – Bastien Dubois

The Grand Prix for Souvenir Souvenir was clear and elected by unanimous decision. It touched us all equally, meeting all of this jury’s expectations of what a film should be. Beyond its technique and quality excellence – of which it has plenty of – it captivated us for its committed and sensitive story, told from a personal and sincere point of view, starting from family and intimacy to reach what’s global. One might say it’s historically, socially and morally committed. Both Bastien’s proposed narrative structure and the aesthetic proposal flawlessly complement the purpose of the message. Its exploration is both daring and coherent, never missing the film’s ultimate goal.

SECOND AWARD, by the Animation Jury
Mon ami qui brille dan la tuit – Grégoire De Bernouis, Jawed Boudaoud, Simon Cadilhac, Hélène Ledevin

Mon ami qui brille dans la nuit was a pleasant surprise in many ways. First of all, due to its thematic proposal, dealing with the idea of death and loneliness from a poetic perspective –  from the character’s curiosity and simplicity – turning the story into a continuous, fluent and beautiful metaphor. We were captivated by this little ode to friendship and self-acceptance. We really appreciate the distinctive narrative and aesthetic style, as it offers new ways to tell stories. The technique works really well to refer to the idea of what’s real and what’s unreal. The use of pictures to convey realism plus overlaying a refined and simple aesthetical synthesis onto these backgrounds, strengthens the idea of an encounter of two apparently opposing realities.

THIRD AWARD, by the Animation Jury
Todo es culpa de la sal – María Cristina Pérez

The innocent, simple and sensitive look of the author of this film convinced us that she deserved one of the awards. His choice of characters, the sloths, which meets that innocence and easy assimilation of this species with that of a human family, make the story close, creating an easy empathy. The technique also complies with this minimalist simplicity to be able to focus on the story and allow ourselves to be accompanied by evocative images while they tell us the real events of loved ones in serious mental and physical health situations.

SPECIAL MENTION, by the Animation Jury
Je me gratte – Chenghua Yang

We did not want to leave this short film without a distinction, for it tackles a very personal issue – insecurities and facing your own fears – with such an original and optimistic outlook. The animation proposal is excellent and the technical delivery is impeccable. It succeeds in conveying the feelings described and it creates a connection with the protagonist’s experience.

Horacio – Caroline Cherrier

The Animation Students’ Jury has decided to award the short film Horacio, directed by Caroline Cherrier, for being a brilliant proposal both visually and script-wise. The film’s eloquent criticism of prisons, based on the main character’s personal circumstances, is really spot on. Throughout the film, symbolisms lead viewers to acrimoniously predict that his time in jail won’t make any difference. The characters have a lot of depth and charisma and the dynamism and fluidity of the animation bring out the key moments of the film.

GREAT INTERANTIONAL AWARD, by the International Jury
White eye – Tomer Shushan

White eye captivated the jury for its fine workmanship and for the social/political issue tackled: a simple story of a stolen bike that reveals a lot about a country and about our humanity.

SECOND INTERNATIONAL AWARD, by the International Jury
Heading South – Yuan Yuan

The second award goes to Heading South by Yuan Yuan, for its delicate but overwhelming portrait of the empowerment process of a young girl in Mongolia. For its clever approach to a social and political situation and for its empathetic, affectionate and tender nature.

THIRD INTERNATIONAL AWARD, by the International Jury
What We Don’t Know About Miriam – Morad Mostafa

What We Don’t Know About Mariam is a beautiful film about the status of women in a Muslim country and how, at the very end, she chooses the life she wants to lead. A great directing and sound work accompanies a very interesting actress in her role of Mariam.

SPECIAL MENTION, by the International Jury
Piao Liu (Drifting)Hanxiong Bo
(China / USA)

Drifting tells the story of an illegal second child born during the one-child policy. The film has a harmonized aesthetic style that focuses on family, gender identity and social expectations, as the teenager struggles with his gender identity amidst the intolerance of his peers and parents. To avoid government punishment, Yan’s parents hid their oldest daughter in the countryside and raised Yan as a girl. Now a young adult, Yan struggles with his gender identity and with being treated as an outcast in a conservative society. His only escape route is to drive his father’s old cab around abandoned parking lots. The director uses creative audiovisual elements to create a realistic story with a surreal atmosphere.

GREAT OBLIQUE AWARD, by the Oblique Jury
La marche – Yoakim Bélanger

La Marche is transformative, profound, subtle and feminist. In a poetic, clear and expressive way, it reflects the power of a collective joining together to liberate itself and reclaim its existence, its freedom and its rights.

OBLIQUE FILMIN AWARD, by the Oblique Jury
Red Aninsri; or, Tiptoeing on the Still Trembling Berlin Wall – Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke

Red Aninsri is a story that wisely combines humour and social criticism, but it’s also an astonishing and beautiful homage to anti-communist Thai cinema.

THIRD OBLIQUE AWARD, by the Oblique Jury
Genius Loci – Adrien Merigeau

An intriguing, intuitive and beautiful journey into the inner world of a character. A multi-layered narrative in which music, illustrations and narrative drive intertwine to immerse the audience in Reine’s, the main character, emotions.

SPECIAL MENTION, by the Oblique Jury
Candela – Anna solanas and Marc Riba

Candela, an endearing grandmother, lives alone. She is alone. She feels alone.

Loneliness, described as an illness, and shown with crudeness in this short film, can also be treated with the attention of others. This is a necessary and actual short film to recognize the affective needs of the elderly.

Panteres – Èrika Sánchez

Transmits through the recognizable, close and almost tangible bodies of their character, the feelings of these women.

Different, plural, in grow phase, they dare to look themselves in the mirror and open wide to the camera and the gaze of others and recognize their personal, social and aesthetics conflicts.

Quebrantos – Maria Elorza, Koldo Almandoz

The simple and direct story of a woman in love who ends up fleeing from her husband even though she has to continue living persecuted, frightened, traumatized by violence. Quebrantos reveals, through archival material, the fear experienced by thousands of women and the suffering of thousands of people; and shows the complicity of those mentalities and societies where “holding on for love” is the right thing to do.

A powerful and clear testimony against male violence.

La caída del vencejo – Gonzalo Quincoces (ESCAC)

GREAT DOCUMENTARY AWARD, by the Documentary Jury
The Ballet of Service – Marlies Smeenge

The short film “Ballet of Service” by Marlies Smeenge was granted the 1st prize of the Mecal 2021 Documentary section. The power of documentaries often lies in the capacity of opening windows into unknown realities; in this case the film delves into the very niche and bizarre world of buttlering, portraying a layered depiction of a quasi-feudal hierarchy in the elite hospitality sector. The director succeeds in introducing the viewer to an uneven world where perfection reigns at the cost of the students’ dignity. The film skillfully balances humour and ethical questioning, and the characters and their lives are relatable and touching. The photography is creative and successfully brings out grandiosity and pretensions – fine examples being a crew of butlers struggling to feed a tablecloth through an ironing machine and a choreographed sequence of serving dishes akin to synchronised swimming.

SECOND DOCUMENTARY AWARD, by the Documentary Jury
Grab Them – Morgane Dziurla-Petit

Arresting from the start, this film invites us to empathise with a woman who is ostracized because she looks like Donald Trump. Utilising new facial replacement CGI technology, the film does more than offer special effects by asking us how it might feel to be mistaken for such a reviled man. We’re also faced with questioning where documentary might be heading when completely fake likenesses can be utilised in the form.

THIRD DOCUMENTARY AWARD, by the Documentary Jury
The Game – Roman Hodel

Like Zidane, A 21st Century Portrait by Douglas Gordon, the camera is mainly focused on one character during a single football match. This time it’s the referee and we see and feel the enormous stress and pressure he is placed under. The film appears well conceived and shot, with a great opening sequence and denouement where the referee’s father – previously seen as a spectator – gently correcting his son while driving, as if to say that even referees need boundaries.

Piao Liu (Drifting) – Hanxiong Bo
(China / USA)

For the thematic sense of its proposal, as well as for its formal decisions. Its cinematography and mise-en-scène raise interesting questions about the protagonist’s accelerated state of mind and about gender construction.

Red Aninsri; or, Tiptoeing on the Still Trembling Berlin Wall – Ratchapoom Boonbunchachoke

The young jury has decided to award as the winner of the Oblique Section the short film Red Aninsri, by RATCHAPOOM BOONBUNCHACHOKE for being an innovative proposal, which plays with the codes of spy movies and uses them in all their aesthetic possibilities, providing a new queer imaginary that rewrites on this, and offers new readings in the purest style of exploitation.

With a story in which privacy and critical discourse converge, Red Aninsri presents an impeccable staging that stays completely at the service of the characters. A piece that dialogues with the viewer, that understands well the grammar of cinema, that puts its faith in formal games, dubbing with fake voices and artificial shots to build a fiction with a touching universal message in which, paradoxically, its amusing artifices play in favor of transmitting true emotions.

Not only is it a solid film where romance, comedy and activism are mixed in a way worthy of admiration, but it is also a brave and unprejudiced short film.

SDR – Alexa-Jeanne Dubé

The Young Jury considers that SDR is worthy of special mention for its risky proposal to take an aesthetic as distinct as the ASMR is, to a couple’s breakup, two concepts that seem very distant from each other. It uses the cinematic language, from the visual codes, the split screen and the sound work that seems to be implicit in the subject of the proposal.

A story that starts from a simple argument to give all the protagonism to its particular narrative, which generates different sensations in the viewer. Some of them, even contradictory: its capitalist aestheticism of ASMR videos on the Internet with the pain, jealousy and emptiness of a traumatic moment such as a breakup, causing this paradox between superficial desire and personal pain.

The director reflects on tactile and aural codes through a narrative that, although it is already used in multiple fictions, is subordinated to the originality of its form. It is undoubtedly an interesting and stimulating practice of fusion of formats.

Before I Die – Nazareth Torres e Iker Esteibarlanda y Gran Premio – Alex Rademakers
(Spain – Spain)

The union ALMA has decided to award ex aequo the prize ALMA to the works Before I die and Gran Premio for the best Spanish short film script, wich have a high quality.

Before I Die
By choosing this short film, the ALMA jury wants to highlight the value of a non-fiction script to show us a story that moves us by its harshness with a original and touching point of view.

Gran Premio
By choosing this short film, the ALMA jury outlines the effective way of narrate the contradictions and fears that a human being faces when faces the death of another, and the importance of the second chances to heal wounds.

Unraveled – Arden Colley, Asil Atay, Kellie Fay, Isabel Wiegand

The young jury has decided to award as the winner of the Plançó Section the short film Unraveled, by ARDEN COLLEY, ASIL ATAY, KELLIE FAY and ISABEL WIEGAND for being a short piece that quickly attracts the emotion of the viewers. The refined animation technique they have used and how it is linked to the subject of the short film, makes it be a little minimalist jewel that does not need more to reach the viewer.
Its simple proposal shows that no great artifice is needed to make a sensitive and emotional short film. It’s an intimate piece that uses successfully an animation at the limit of figuration and metaphor, that with its voice-over, completely demands the emotions of the audience.

David – Zach Woods

The Vibrant Village – Weronika Jurkiewicz

Normal – Julie Caty

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