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21st New Face Award

The First Thunder

Animated short film

Anastasia MELIKHOVA [Russia]


This short lm is a musical fantasy peopled by nature and characters. It depicts the awakening after a win- ter hibernation and the coming of spring, as well as the way to a world full of beauty and adventure. Artists from the Ural National Art University are becoming regulars at the Japan Media Arts Festival, having won the 20th Media Arts Festival Excellence Award in the Animation Division for “Among the Black Waves.” They have teamed up with Studio Ural-Cinema to create this graduation project. The proud tradition of old-fashioned musical cartoons draws out the spirit of Russia. A comical orchestra per- formance, the drawings that look like water color paints have been dripped on, and animations depicting meta- morphoses that shimmer like the surface of water all combine to give the viewer an experience of spring’s coming, together with a child’s per- spective.

Reason for Award

The combination of classical music and animation made me think of the Disney movie “Fantasia” (1940). This lm is so effective in weaving together sound and images to thrill the viewer that it reminded me of this master-piece. The fun of the metamorpho- ses, the movements with a sense of jumping, and the freedom expressed in three-dimensional movement all showcase the unique appeal of hand-drawn animation. The screen practically over ows with the joy that this young 25 year-old director felt in creating this work, which is a dy- namic and sparkling lm. I am look- ing forward to future progress and have high hopes for her future lms. (MORINO Kazuma)