15th Animation Division New Face Award
Rabenjunge (Raven Boy)
Animated short film [Germany]
This is a fantastical animation in which carved wooden dolls move around as a result of clever 3DCG synthesis. The tale develops after Rabenjunge (Ravenboy), who is despised by the boys of the village, meets a beautiful girl one day. The expressions and movements of the dolls, captured using live-action filming against the background of a handmade stage created using materials such as wood chips and grass, undergo CG synthesis to create a mysterious world that transcends the boundaries between analog and digital.
Reason for Award
An adult fantasy transcending puppet animation
It is difficult to decide whether this work can be called animation in the conventional sense. The film is a dreamlike tale spun by a fairy who has emerged from a fantasy painting and become a marionette with a lifelike expression. In the old days — before animation became popular through film and television — puppet theater flourished around the world as a way for children to enjoy watching characters that moved. (In Japan, too, there are animators who got their start in puppet theater). This is a beautiful work of fantasy for grown-ups in which nostalgia for such bygone days coexists with the venomous bite often encountered in works from Eastern Europe.The artist comes from the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg in Germany, which has a track record of producing great talent and is known for a flexible style that makes the most of computer-generated digital images, analog materials, and cinematic productions techniques. Produced by mapping 3DCG computer-generated facial expressions onto images of a manipulated puppet that was then digitally composited into background art, the film cannot really be called stop-motion animation. Yet it can be seen to have adopted a contemporary and aggressive approach toward “animism” in the fundamental sense of capturing images that are alive. It has earned an award because of the outstanding quality, apparent on a first viewing, radiating in its cinematic ambience.