© Emma de Swaef & Marc James Roels

16th Animation Division New Face Award

Oh Willy…

Animated short film

Emma De SWAEF / Marc James ROELS [Belgium]


Oh Willy… is a stop-mot ion film made with puppets that were animated frame by f rame on sets ranging from 10 x 10m to 2 x 2m for interiors. All props and characters were made out of wool and fabric. Forced to return to his naturist roots, Willy bungles his way into noble savager y. The filmmakers were inspired by Diane ARBUS’s photos of people living in nudist colonies. The photos are as poetic as they are uncomfor tably banal and confronting. The artists wanted to achieve the same tension between poetry and shockingly uncensored imagery by combining the wool with the theme of naturism and the question of what it means to live in a natural way. Oh Willy… is the first collaboration by ROELS and de SWAEF, who are currently developing a new short us)ing the same technique.

Reason for Award

This masterpiece by a male-female directing duo is a doll-animation film for adults that depicts, without dialogue, the life of a man who has returned to peculiar circumstances to be with his dying mother. Everything from the stage art and furnishings to the fibrous, pale flesh of the human figures perfectly matches the world conjured by this work, which is made with the care of a full-fledged studio film. Particularly sublime is the impression it gives of being filmed in natural light, as one might on a live-film location. The mood is playful and absurd, yet at the same time limpid and tranquil; it is a work that arouses the joy one feels on discovering a film one really likes. The co-directors are only in their twenties, and I look forward to their next effort.