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twenty second MONSTRA ANIMATED FESTIVAL OF LISBON 15 – 26 March 2023 Lisbon, Portugal

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     The twenty second version of the MONSTRA Animation Pageant had a lot to have fun. It was no coincidence that the competition declared 2023 the Yr of Japan. Portugal has a powerful fascination and reference to the Orient and Japan particularly; nearly 5 Centuries in the past Portuguese sailors had been the primary Westerners to sail to the coast of Japan. The Japanese had been fascinated by the Portuguese due to their ships, unique look, gown, language and merchandise they usually depicted these foreigners in nice element in work and on screens.

  One other trigger for celebration this yr is that 100 years in the past the illustrator Joaquim Guerreiro directed O Pesadelo do Antonio Maria (The Nightmare of Antonio Maria), the primary recognized Portuguese animated movie. Precisely 100 years after the beginning of Portuguese animation, Joao Gonzalez’s Ice Retailers grew to become the primary Portuguese animation to be awarded the Leitz Cine Discovery Prize on the Cannes Worldwide Movie Pageant. The tender story of household love went on to grow to be the primary Portuguese movie to be nominated for an Academy Award.

  Traditional animated movies had been first made in Japan in 1910. The oldest surviving instance of Japanese animation, Namakura Gatana (Blunt Sword) by Junichi Kouchi, dates again to 1917. Sadly, a lot of the earliest animated movies had been misplaced following a large earthquake in Tokyo in 1923. The Blunt Sword was found by an Osaka movie historian in 2007 and expanded with further discovered footage in 2014.

  This system Pioneers of Japanese Animation screened the 9-minute movie The Whale by Noburo Ofuji. He initially made the movie in 1927 as a silent black-and-white movie, utilizing shadow puppets. He remade The Whale in 1952 impressed by the likelihood to make use of coloration. For the second model, he used cutouts of clear coloured cellophane silhouettes and a multiplane digital camera. The Whale was the primary Asian animated movie proven on the Cannes Movie Pageant in 1953.

Nonsense Story, Vol.1: Monkey Island

  Kenzo Masaoka’s 1930 The Monkey’s Island was additionally a part of the Pioneers of Japanese Animation program. Within the 24-minute movie, a child is thrown out of a wrecked ship and drifts onto an island populated by apes. He’s introduced up by them, however ultimately, hassle erupts and he’s ostracized as a result of he doesn’t have a tail.

  Kihachiro Kawamoto is finest often known as a stop-motion puppet maker. In 2003 he directed Winter Days. The 39-minute piece, which the Western World would name an “Beautiful Corpse” movie, was a collaboration by poets and animators from all over the world to create what is thought in Japan as a Visible Renku.

  A Renku is a mode of poetry particular to Japan made up of alternating three- and two-line stanzas. For the movie, every poet created a verse and 35 animators from all over the world animated a verse in their very own model.

  Tribute was paid to Renzo and Sayoko Kinoshita, animators and founders of the Hiroshima Worldwide Animation Pageant in 1985. The couple made quick movies at their Studio Lotus. Lots of them had been within the animated documentary style resembling Pica-dom, the highly effective antiwar movie that depicts the horrors of the bombing of Hiroshima.

  Their 1972 movie Made in Japan satirizes in a non-narrative method the “financial animal” that Japan was at the moment. It additionally predicted the financial recession of the Nineteen Seventies lengthy earlier than most Japanese noticed what was coming.

  Renzo and Sayoko continued their message in regards to the futility of warfare with The Final Air Raid Kumagaya (1993). The 29-minute movie is predicated on historic information, interviews with witnesses/survivors, and paperwork belonging to survivors. It’s crucial of home propaganda.

  The multi-award-winning Japanese animator Koji Yamamura launched a retrospective of his work. Starting along with his 2002 Oscar-nominated movie Mount Head, this system took us right down to his very intelligent 2017 Notes On Monstropedia. The movie is an animated archive of imaginary monsters written by a fictitious “monsterologist” in Medieval Europe.

Mt. Head

Koji additionally created the fanciful competition emblem and poster in addition to the attractive trailer and he organized two packages. One screening launched the movies of Japanese Masters Kihachiro Kawamoto, Tadanari Okamoto, and Taku Furukawa who used traditional Japanese material and magnificence whereas exploring completely different animation methods to inform conventional tales.

My Exercise

  Koji’s second presentation targeted on the brand new technology of younger Japanese animators. They’re thought-about the third technology of Japanese animators. The excellent rising star is Yamamura’s pupil Atsushi Wada. His 3-minute movie, My Train, that includes a chubby boy doing workouts along with his canine is extraordinarily humorous. It has had nice success on the competition circuit and was subsequently become an animated sport.

  No retrospective of Japanese animation can be full with no tribute to the legendary Studio Ghibli.  Miyazaki has stated that Porco Rosso (1992) is just not a movie that he’s significantly keen on. I’ve watched this movie in regards to the WWII flying ace Marco Pagot, higher often known as Porco Rosso, time and again and it’s nonetheless a favourite movie of mine. Together with Porco Rosso, Miyazaki’s 2008 movie Ponyo was additionally proven.

Porco Rosso

After I consider Japanese animation summary animation doesn’t come to thoughts. The Japanese Summary Animation Panorama opened my eyes to a complete new world of movie. The 16 summary movies in this system explored conventional hand-drawn animation, video composition, camera-less direct-on-film scratching, drawing or portray.

  The centerpieces of any competition are the competitors packages. This yr at MONSTRA there have been only a few surprises when it got here to the awards. The juries chosen wonderful, sturdy movies that for probably the most half have been awarded at different festivals or award ceremonies. A whole record of all the successful movies is on the finish of this text.

The large winner of the competition was Joao Gonzalez along with his lovely 14-minute movie Ice Retailers. Together with its Oscar nomination, the movie has already received an Annie and the Leitz Cine Discovery Prize on the Cannes Movie Pageant. At MONSTRA the superbly crafted movie about grief, loss, recollections and familial love took house the Grand Prix, the Vasco Granja Award for Finest Portuguese Movie, and the coveted Viewers Award.

  I’m an enormous fan of Estonian animation. I recognize their sense of absurdist humor, so I used to be delighted when Priit Tender obtained the MONSTRA Brief Movie Grand Prix for Canine House. Primarily based on the poem To Be a Canine-House by Estonian surrealist poet Andres Ehin, the movie is intelligent, witty, and but unhappy in equal components. The stop-motion puppet animation is about an getting older, over-the-hill ballet dancer and his barking residence.

Dog-Apartment (Koerkorter)

  Along with his dancing profession over, he has been relegated to a Soviet state collective farm the place he’s being pushed loopy by the vicious barking of the canine head in his room who calls for to be fed. Day by day he drives via the rain-drenched wasteland to his job at a dairy. There he performs swish ballet strikes to Swan Lake for an viewers of dairy cows. The soothing music and swish strikes stimulate the cows’ milk manufacturing. He’s paid in sausages, which he feeds to the canine residence to maintain it calm and briefly quiet.

  Characters additionally embrace a hatchet-headed hen and a fish swimming in milk in a locked guitar case. Really my form of movie.

  An essential a part of MONSTRA is Monstrinha, which screens movies, particularly for younger audiences. Two packages had been designed for 3- to 5-year-olds. One other screening featured animation for 6- to 9-year-olds, and at last a program of extra subtle quick movies for 10- to 14-year-olds was proven. Two different screenings had been designed with movies to please all the household.

Monstrinha doesn’t finish when the competition is over. It continues yr round to achieve out to younger folks not solely in Lisbon however in additional than 140 different Portuguese cities as nicely. Via Monstrinha kids are capable of watch animated movie and find out about making animation at hands-on workshops.

Joao Gonzales receiving the Monstrinha Grand Prix from jury members  L. To R. Catarina Ramalho, Elisa Marques, and Carla Simons

  Ice Retailers added the Monstrinha Grand Prix to its laurels. Czech Republic animator Lucie Sunkova’s pretty movie Suzie within the Backyard obtained a particular point out within the Monstrinha class. Suzie is somewhat woman who goes along with her mother and father to their allotment outdoors of their metropolis. In the middle of her explorations, she discovers a secret backyard. Whose backyard is it? The reply is slowly revealed as Suzie finds a misplaced key on the backyard path.

  In speaking in regards to the movie Lucie stated “I see Suzie within the Backyard as a dialogue with childhood. I attempted to enter into the pondering of the little woman, to grasp her creativeness, fears, and charming childishness. I attempted to create a movie that may converse a language comprehensible to kids and on the similar time have the ability to evoke recollections of moments and conditions we skilled as a baby.”  I loved the movie very a lot and suppose that she achieved what she got down to do.

The Queen of the Foxes (La reine des renards)

  Though Swiss animator Marina Rosset’s 9-minute hand-drawn movie The Queen of the Foxes was in a kids’s program, it’s equally touching for adults in addition to kids. The queen of the foxes is extremely unhappy. In an try to cheer her up and make her smile once more, her fearful topics scour town late at night time, rummaging via the human’s trash cans, searching for all the love letters that had been by no means despatched. They lay the letters filled with declarations of affection on the queen’s toes to point out her how cherished she is. Ultimately, the queen will get one thing that she didn’t even know that she was lacking, a way of well-being that figuring out that you’re cherished provides you. The queen smiles once more and life for the foxes within the forest can return to regular. Queen of the Foxes has received quite a few awards. At MONSTRA it obtained the Viewers Award for Finest Youngsters’s Movie.

Nancy and Jose Miguel Ribeiro

  For 16 editions of MONSTRA, the Lisbon Puppet Museum has hosted particular reveals of paintings from movies offered on the competition. This yr in honor of 100 years of Portuguese animation, the exhibition was A Journey into the World of Portuguese Animation Puppets. The exhibition room was filled with memorabilia from previous and current stop-motion movies. It was a pleasure to see units and puppets from Jose Miguel Ribeiro’s 1999 traditional movie The Suspect. The movie, a few killer free on a practice, is certainly one of my favourite movies and its ending, ala Hitchcock, at all times makes me smile.


    A couple of years in the past, the MONSTRA exhibition on the Puppet Museum was dedicated to Bruno Caetano’s pleasant movie The Peculiar Crimes of Oddball Mr. Jay.  Bruno is a grasp of intricate set constructing. His craftsmanship and a focus to element make his units stand out. It was pretty to see his work once more included on this exhibition.


    The exhibition additionally featured items from very current movies such because the jackets and set from Monica Santos’ The Pink Jacket which was in competitors on the present competition. We had been additionally given a glimpse into the long run with the paper puppets from Joana Imaginà Rio’s The Time Keepers Home which premiered at this yr’s MONSTRA.

  No go to to Lisbon can be full with no go to to the Marionette Museum. Based in 1987, it moved into its permeant house within the historic Convento das Berardas in 2001.  Constructed underneath the reign of King Joao IV, the convent is positioned in Lisbon’s Barrio Alto district. The museum’s unique purpose was to protect the custom of Portuguese touring puppet theatres and operas. Through the years the museum has grown to accommodate over 1,000 puppets, a few of them courting again to the seventeenth and 18th centuries, from all over the world. The gathering additionally now shows props and masks associated to the artwork of puppetry.

  In honor of this yr’s featured nation Japan, the Museo de Oriente hosted Koji Yamamura – Dozens of Drawings, an exhibition of over 50 unique drawings by the famend Japanese animator. Art work from Koji’s 2002 Academy Award-nominated movie Mount Head, function movie Dozens of Norths (2021), the multi-award-winning Franz Kafka’s Nation Physician, and the 2011 movie Muybridge’s Strings had been on show.

  As a part of the exhibition, Koji carried out a Masterclass and in addition led a guided tour of the exhibition.

  Opened in 2008 in a wonderful constructing on Lisbon’s waterfront, the Museu de Oriente is a multicultural museum that preserves the heritage of the hyperlink between Asian international locations and the Portuguese presence within the Far East. Their particular exhibitions together with an intensive everlasting assortment is nicely price a go to.

Poster for Raimund Krumme’s exhibition

  Multi-award-winning German director and professor of animation Raimund Krumme believes that animation can have all types of visible expressions, resembling graphics, theatre, dance, and even structure. His exhibition on the Sociedade Nationwide de Bela Artes (Nationwide Society of Advantageous Arts), Traces of Motion, encompassed the previous and current of Krumme’s work, combining graphic analysis, research, and unique drawings from a few of his movies. He additionally created direct spontaneous work on the museum’s gallery partitions. The exhibit was solely up throughout the competition and the spontaneous work solely existed throughout the exhibition.

Raimund Krumme’s spontaneous paintings

  The Nationwide Society of Advantageous Arts constructing dates again to the start of the twentieth century. It’s a invaluable instance of the Portuguese architectural eclecticism. Together with its particular exhibitions, the Society has an exquisite everlasting assortment representing completely different durations of Portuguese artwork.

  My favourite exhibition, The Centenary of Portuguese Animation Cinema: 100 Years, 100 Movies was held on the Portuguese Cinema Museum. The exhibition showcased over 100 photos representing the wealthy variety, creativity, and originality of the nation’s animators.

The Nightmare of António Maria (O Pesadelo do António Maria

  The primary Portuguese animated movie is credited to Joaquim Guerreiro who was a pioneer in comics in addition to in animation. O Pesadelo de Antonio Maria was launched on 25 January 1923. It includes a caricature of Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Maria de Silva as he walks house from his workplace. The movie was thought-about misplaced for a few years however within the late Nineteen Nineties, 150 of the unique drawings of this animated quick had been rediscovered by a collector in a second-hand bookstore. In 2001 a reconstruction of the film was made.

  The Portuguese Cinema Museum is an excellent place to go to. Together with their revolving exhibitions, in addition they have a everlasting interactive pre-cinema exhibition. It’s a chronological journey that begins with shadow puppet exhibits and their relationship to cinema, passing via the magic lanterns, and all the innovations of the 18th and nineteenth centuries that had been animating photos earlier than the projector was invented. The museum additionally has an intensive movie gear assortment.

Together with two screening rooms devoted to displaying traditional movies, the middle is house to a conservation heart, a film vault, and a nitrate-safe vault. There’s additionally a well-stocked bookstore catering to cinephiles and a restaurant with inside eating and outside patio service. The meals is scrumptious and really fairly priced.

Jury members Buba, Joanna Quinn, and Les Mills at lunch at the Portuguese Cinema Museum

Pageant friends keep on the historic Lodge California. Every room is called after a special film or director. The rooms are adorned with traditional film posters of the movie or star the room is called after. This yr we stayed with German director Wim Wenders and posters from Paris Texas. In earlier years Nik and I’ve slept within the Taxi Driver room with Travis Bickel wanting down at us and within the Steve McQueen room together with a The Nice Escape film poster. While you enter the elevator, you’re greeted by a life-sized picture of both Audrey Hepburn or Humphrey Bogart. The resort is a spot for any cinema buff to really feel proper at house.

Nancy and Humphrey

  Together with all the movies and exhibitions, MONSTRA additionally had 13 displays by famous members of the movie neighborhood. Amongst these talking had been Michael Dudok De Wit, Jose Miguel Ribeiro, Martin Smatana, Maya Yonesho, and Radostina  Neykova.

Nancy with Martin Smatana and his puppets from THE KITE

  My favourite presentation was Joan Gratz’s The Journey from Excessive Artwork to Cat Movies. She in contrast her pioneering clay portray approach, which she utilized in her 1992 Academy Award-winning movie Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase along with her current combined media cat movies. That’s proper, cat movies! It was one of many funniest animation displays I’ve ever seen. It defies phrases!

Joan Gratz with images from MONA LISA DESCENDING A STAIRCASE

  Over the 12 days, Pageant Director Fernando Galrito created a tremendous, memorable tribute not solely to 100 years of Portuguese animation however to animation worldwide. It took a 200-page catalog to showcase all of the competitors movies, particular displays, exhibitions, and particular occasions. The 2023 Version of MONSTRA was fairly an achievement.

An animated Signe Baumane with Festival Director Fernando Galrito

A heat thanks goes out to Galrito and his fantastic, hard-working employees. A particular thanks goes to Rui Pereira, Manufacturing and Program Coordinator, for caring for all the particulars of my go to.

  I additionally should give a particular thanks to Vitor Carrico of the Lisbon Vacationer Workplace for making my journey to his lovely metropolis for the competition potential.

  After this yr’s spectacular competition, I can’t think about what Galrito will do to prime the 2023 version however I’m wanting ahead to seeing what he may have in retailer for us subsequent yr.  In 2024 MONSTRA will probably be held between 7 – 17 March. The visitor nation will probably be Eire and Tomm Moore is already onerous at work making ready the illustration for the poster.

  You possibly can be taught extra about MONSTRA 2023 and the way your movie will be submitted for the 2024 version at:

The Monstra awards




Jury: Carla Simões, Catarina Ramalho and Elisa Marques


“Ice Retailers”, João Gonzalez, 2022 (PT)

One portray per body and a placing soundtrack serving a mysterious story, which seduced us for its inventiveness. A movie of unavoidable magnificence, which we can not resist.


“Suzie no Jardim” [Suzie in the Garden], Lucie Sunková, 2022 (CZ)

“Suzie within the Backyard” is an animated portray in vibrant colors the place all kids need to reside and make them reside. A young movie about taking steps into the unknown and overcoming fears with arguments – aesthetic and narrative – to educe audiences of all ages.

“Em Nome das Plantas” [In The Name of Plants], Hervé Bressaud, 2022 (FR)

The movie “In The Identify of Vegetation” stands out for its experimental character (a mix of an actual picture and a cartoon) and for its uncommon theme: the vegetation by the aspect of any street or path, which nearly no person sees. Uncommon in animation cinema aimed toward youthful audiences, the mix of those components is finished in a really seductive manner and subsequently worthy of point out.


“A Rainha das Raposas” [The Queen of the Foxes], Marina Rosset, 2022 (CH)


Jury: João Prates, Nöel Palazzo and Ioana Nicoară


“M2”, Ana Martin, Bela Tagliabue, Paola Bellato, 2021 (AR)

For the sturdy connection between the visible decisions and the subject material and rising timeless questions that challenge the actual into the common.


Sponsored by Ageas Seguros (750 €)

“Period Uma Vez Uma Nêspera” [Loquats Poem], Leonor Silva, 2022 (PT)

For its surrealistic strategy to cinematography and suave poetic narrative.


“PLSTC”, Laen Sanches, 2022 (FR)

For displaying there’s loads of room for experimentation within the tremendous shorts format via the tight connection between music, sturdy imagery and related points.


Senior Jury: Andrea Perri, Maya Yonesho and Sandra de Almeida

Junior Jury: highschool college students from António Arroio, Casa Pia de Lisboa, Francisco Simões and D. Dinis


Senior Jury: “Com amor, Pai” [Love, Dad], Diana Cam Van Nguyen, 2021 (CZ)

An trustworthy autobiographical movie through which the director opens a door into her feelings. With the cautious use of various methods, her emotions and struggles are recreated in our personal minds.

Junior Jury: “Diplomacia do Eclipse” [Diplomatie de l’Éclipse], Cesar Luton, Achille Pasquier, Selim Lallaoui, Clemence Bailly, Axel Mechin, 2022 (FR)

An intriguing and enigmatic story that makes wonderful use of 3D animation and combines harmonious and coherent visuals with admirable sound design.


Sponsored by Ageas Seguros (500 €)

“A Semente que Palpita” [The Beating Seed], Alice Carmo, Laura Pires, Marta Ribeiro, Tiago Pimenta, 2022 (PT)

Junior Jury: This movie stood out for the distinctive manner through which it handled its idea, each visually, with the colors that complement one another, and by way of sound, the way in which it accompanies the motion.

Senior Jury: This movie invitations us into its universe, portraying the thriller and fantastic thing about life. The mixture of images and sounds leads us right into a world of hope and concord.


Senior Jury: “Recursos Humanos” [Human Resources], Isaac Wenzek, Titouan Tillier, Trindad Plass Caussade, 2022 (FR)

A movie the place the eye to element within the animation and artwork course, and in addition the skillfully lifelike digital camera strikes, brings us a powerful social message depicted with obvious lightness and irony.

Junior Jury: “Raízes” [Roots], Maddalena Brozzi, Sara Moschini, Laura Cagnoni, 2022 (IT)

The movie left us an enormous mark for the way in which the administrators fluidly executed the animation. The weather used and represented translated a symbolic cost that helps in understanding the theme.


“Com amor, Pai” [Love, Dad], Diana Cam Van Nguyen, 2021 (CZ)



“Baratas” [Cockroaches], Adel Khan Farooq, 2022 (NO)


“Bizarros Peixes das Fossas Abissais” [Bizarre Fish From the Abyssal Zone], Marcelo Marão, 2023 (BR)


Jury: Joan Gratz, JP Simões, Lucija Mrzljak, Monika Łuszpak-Skiba and Paulo Silva

MONSTRA RTP2 GRAND PRIX – FEATURE FILM (5000 € in tv rights)

“Guerras de Unicórnios” [Unicorn Wars], Alberto Vázquez, 2022 (ES/FR)

For mixing genres in an sudden and highly effective method and growing amusing and surprising characters in a superbly designed world.


“Nayola”, José Miguel Ribeiro, 2022 (PT)

The music and results observe reinforces the sense of place and story on this compelling narrative.


“Os Demónios do Meu Avô” [“My Grandfather’s Demons”], Nuno Beato, 2022 (PT)

A younger girl’s journey via modern stress, previous mysteries and sorrows, to a hopeful future. An optimistic movie, as uncommon as a unicorn.


“Perlimps”, Alê Abreu, 2022 (BR)

Baby-like dialogue and superbly composed backgrounds distinction to a world of battle.


“Nayola”, José Miguel Ribeiro, 2022 (PT)


Jury: Iolanda Ferreira, Joanna Quinn, Ligia Soare, Margit “Buba” Antauer and Martin Smatana

MONSTRA RTP 2 GRAND PRIX – SHORT FILM (1500 € in tv rights)

“Apartamento de Cão” [Dog-Apartment], Priit Tender, 2022 (EE)

An absurdist movie the place abnormality turns into regular – barking sinks and fish in milk. Unforgettable!


“Ice Retailers”, João Gonzalez, 2022 (PT)

A superbly constructed movie that manages to say a lot with out phrases — a movie about household, every day struggles and the inevitable pressure of nature.


“Carta para um Porco” [Letter to a Pig], Tal Kantor, 2022 (FR/IL)

A mesmerizing and visually beautiful exploration of a posh and emotional topic that continues to problem technology after technology.


“A Sombra das Borboletas” [Shadow of the Butterflies], Sofia El Khyari, 2022 (FR)

A gently haunting movie with lovely poetic imagery – nearly a dancing portray.


“Ice Retailers”, João Gonzalez, 2022 (PT)


Jury: Florence Miailhe, Les Mills and Pandora da Cunha Telles

SPA / VASCO GRANJA AWARD (2500 € for the manufacturing of the winner’s subsequent movie)

“Ice Retailers”, João Gonzalez, 2022 (PT)

The sturdy relationship between a father and a son in a fragile and threatening universe the place all the pieces can disintegrate, expressed by animation and graphics that take this sense of vertigo additional. Primarily, this can be a movie in regards to the fragility of existence.


“Ana Morphose”, João Rodrigues, 2023 (PT)

An ode to books and the imaginary world we’re invited to witness. The animation dives us in a surrealistic journey with vivid dreamlike photos.


“Ice Retailers”, João Gonzalez, 2022 (PT) 



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