22 November 2023
Czech animation is once again in the spotlight. Four Czech animated short films have qualified to compete for their place on the shortlist for the 2024 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. So far, the selection includes ninety short films from around the world. The list will be open until the official shortlist is announced. Non-American films can qualify either by winning awards at major Academy-qualifying festivals around the world or by being theatrically exhibited outside of the United States and its territories for at least seven consecutive days in a commercial motion picture theater for paid admission. The official shortlist of the 15 films will be announced by the Academy on 21 December 2023.
One of the four Czech short films on the list is the animated film by Philippe Kastner, a young filmmaker and FAMU student, entitled Dede is Dead. The story of a boy who is saddened by the sudden death of his dog impressed the young audience at this year's Berlinale not only with its topic but also with its original animation style, earning it a special mention from the Kplus Generation children's jury. This successful start was followed by invitations to many other national and international festivals, including IndieLisboa, DOK Leipzig, and Tallinn Black Nights, as well as competitions at Annecy IAFF and Cinekid.
Daria Kashcheeva is one of the few Czech filmmakers to have succeeded at the Academy Awards in the past. In 2020, she was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Animated Short Film category for her film Daughter. This year, she is up for the statuette with a very different, visually stunning film, Electra, which premiered at the Festival de Cannes' La Cinef and participated at numerous other major festivals. Electra has to go through the most painful memories to let her suppressed feelings come out. In the end, she is ready to reveal what has really happened during her 10th birthday. The film qualified at the Toronto IFF, where it won the Best Short Film award. Electra is produced by MAUR Film in co-production with FAMU, the French Papy3D Productions, and the Slovak company Artichoke. Miyu Ditribution, which also handles the rights of Daugther, is the sales agent of the film.
The short animated essay Doubt, a student film by Slovak director Adela Križovenská, qualified for the selection at the Fest Anča International Animated Film Festival – the only Slovak festival to have the status of Academy Awards qualifying festival – where it won the Best Slovak Short Film Award. The author, who is a student of animation at FAMU, uses non-narrative abstract animation to depict her struggle with her own creativity. In 2023, the film competed at the domestic Anifilm, in the PÖFF shorts section at Tallinn Black Nights, and also at the Slovenian Animateka IAFF.
The fourth film with Czech participation is the Belgium-France-UK-Czech Republic co-production entitled Scale by British director Joseph Pierce, which qualified thanks to its theatrical exhibition. Driving along the motorway, Will loses his sense of scale. As his crippling drug addiction deepens, he struggles to unpick the sequence of events that led to his predicament before he is lost forever. The film premiered at Semaine de la Critique in Cannes in 2022 has participated in international competitions at domestic and international festivals, including Animafest Zagreb, Tallinn Black Nights FF, and the Clermont-Ferrand Festival where it won the Audience Award. The Czech minority co-producer of the film is endorfilm.