Polish Animation Film ‘Zima’ Wins Silver Conch at MIFF 2024

Polish Animation Film ‘Zima’ Wins Silver Conch at MIFF 2024

INDIA: In a remarkable achievement, the Polish animation film ‘Zima,’ directed by Kasumi Ozeki and Tomek Popakul, clinched the Silver Conch for Best International Animation at the 18th Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF).

‘Zima’ tells a profound story about violence and man’s relationship with the world, highlighting the exploitation of nature and the justification of this domination through folk traditions and religious beliefs. The narrative is set in a town isolated from the world, where animals, plants, and the planet itself fall prey to human exploitation. The film deftly portrays the complex relationships between people and their attitudes towards nature, making a poignant statement on the consequences of human actions.

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Bharat Bala, an acclaimed Indian filmmaker and jury member at MIFF 2024, praised ‘Zima’ for its innovation and creative storytelling. “We had some amazing submissions of documentaries and animations from across the world, but when we looked at ‘Zima,’ it was something very innovative. It was breaking barriers creatively and in a very simplistic way telling a very complex story,” Bala remarked.

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Keiko Hagihara Bang, another jury member, was equally impressed by the film’s unique design and effectiveness. “‘Zima’ was so extraordinary, so brave and effective. It must be very difficult for the makers to come up with design, the look and feel which was so good. Congratulations to the entire team of ‘Zima.’ I loved this movie and was the first one to vote for the award,” Bang commented.

Tomek Popakul expressed his joy and a touch of regret for missing the award ceremony. “We are happy and honored that our movie got appreciated in India. This joy has a small shade of sadness as due to our engagement with the current film project, we couldn’t come to the award ceremony. As a child, I loved to browse the illustrated Bhagavad Gita—without understanding, those images got deeply engraved in my soul. I once had the chance to work with a great animator from India while working on my previous movie, ‘Acid Rain.’ I have huge respect for the Indian people, and I hope to visit it one day. Thanks a lot, we really appreciate this award.”

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Dr. Magdalena Filipczuk, Acting Director of the Polish Institute, lauded Popakul’s artistic vision and the film’s innovative use of animation techniques. “When telling the story of rebels from a small seaside town, Popakul boldly uses various artistic styles. He draws his characters with a minimalist line, making them look as if they were taken from a sketchbook, but he paints the world around them differently—focusing on the plasticity of colorful spots, not on the detail or realism of the image. By creating his own vision, the director also encourages the viewer to look for associations and inspiration,” Filipczuk explained.

Filipczuk further added, “In the story about the settlement submerged in snow, I personally found echoes of my favorite painting of all, ‘Hunters in the Snow’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, but also ‘Spoor’ by Agnieszka Holland. Popakul masterfully uses the tools of film animation—combining various artistic techniques and controlling the rhythm, interweaving contemplative images with spectacular sequences like a village sleigh ride. He boldly uses editing possibilities available only in animation: interpenetrations, surreal transformations of image into image, and transformations of detail into a wide plan. I really liked the music and searched for songs after seeing the movie.”

‘Zima’ continues to receive accolades for its profound narrative and innovative animation, setting a high standard for future works in the genre. The film’s success at MIFF 2024 highlights the global recognition of its powerful message and artistic excellence.

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