Glamour, Diversity and (almost) Personal Interaction
Press Release, Stuttgart, May 9, 2021
After six exciting days filled with highlights from the world of animation, the 28th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film has come to an end on the evening of May 9, 2021 with the grand award ceremony. And the magic’s not over yet: the entirety of the ITFS media library (including recordings of lectures and presentations) will be available to accredited users until May 16, 2021.
The motto of this year’s festival was Creating*Diversity. In addition to film and gaming events centred around this year’s theme, diversity was reflected thematically in programme strands such as Focus on France, Pandemic Animation or Women in Animation and Games. Equally, ITFS 2021 was also set up extremely diverse regarding its formats and media. The programme was comprised of screenings, videos on demand, numerous video conferences, virtual exhibitions and concerts, as well as the great ITFS live stream. The ITFS VR Hub even elevated digital encounters to a news level: visitors were able to mingle and interact virtually in numerous locations as their preferred avatar – on Stuttgart’s Schlossplatz, in the cinema, in the workshop room and even in the club, which boasted various musical performances.
Via the website OnlineFestival.ITFS.de, viewers could enjoy more than 400 short and feature films both on the ITFS website in the ONLINE FREE, ONLINE+ and ONLINE PRO categories as part of the competition and supporting programmes and broadcast in the free online live stream. The six-day live stream, running daily from Tuesday to Sunday, successfully conveyed the Schlossplatz feeling to all visitors at home and disseminated by numerous streaming partners. International animation celebrities and promising young filmmakers presented themselves and their work in numerous talks, lectures, master classes and workshops, including David Silverman (“The Simpsons”), Tomm Moore (“Wolfwalkers”), Shoko Hara (“Just a Guy”), Regina Pessoa (“Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days”) and Jalal Maghout (“Have a nice dog!”). Both the general public and industry professionals such as distributors, world sales agents, festivals and filmmakers made full use of the available programme – the short films have totalled more than 16,000 views so far, the feature films were watched more than 5,000 times. Almost 8,000 viewers watched the live stream between Tuesday and Saturday, and around 500 users logged onto the ITFS VR Hub during the festival. The workshops for children and young people inspired more than 200 participants. 1,400 accredited professionals attended the lectures available on ONLINE PRO. Over 160,000 page views were recorded on the festival website OnlineFestival.ITFS.de: 5,500 users* from a total of 59 countries since May 3. The projected revenue was exceeded by 20 percent and almost doubled compared to the year before.
Ulrich Wegenast, Artistic Managing Director of ITFS: “We have professionalized our online festival. Initially planned as a hybrid event, the complete changeover to an online only ITFS21 may have been unfortunate at first glance. However, we have been able to hugely benefit from last year’s experience. We succeeded in creating glamour at the galas and personal interaction through our ITFS VR Hub as well as numerous interactive lectures. Those formats created the possibility of excellent face-to-face discussions and chance encounters – in a much more pleasant atmosphere than created through video conferences! Regarding the programme line-up, we are pleased to have been able to represent diversity not only in gender and sexuality, but also in ecological, social and, above all, aesthetic terms. This year, we also witnessed an incredible variety of animation techniques, which honestly didn’t make the task of our juries easier. Content-wise, the corona crisis has been reflected in animation production: ITFS has seen many grave animated films that dealing with illness and care.
Dieter Krauß, Commercial Managing Director of ITFS: “For quite a long time, we have kept our hopes up for organising a hybrid festival, in line with last year’s announcements. Once again, we enjoyed the advantage of reaching people all around the world with the second online edition – visitors that would otherwise not have been able to attend the festival at all. And we were able to try out different ways of translating various parts of the programme into new digital formats. Thanks to the support of our fans from all over the world as well as our partners and supporters, we were able to master the challenge and put on a great festival. Nevertheless, we look forward to the upcoming edition of ITFS from May 3 to 8, 2022, allowing audiences and industry representatives alike to be able to meet in person.”
The official award ceremony on May 9, 2021
The core of the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film are the competitions – their results were announced on Sunday evening, as every year. The lucky winners joined via video message or live in the studio, where they were able to receive their prize in person. Selected competition films were shown in full length. The FANtastic Award, AniMovie, Trickstar Nature Award, Young Animation, Lotte Reininger Promotion Award for Animated Film and the Grand Prix were awarded – the latter, by the way, qualifies the winning film directly for the Oscar longlist! Either digitally via video message or live in the studio were, among others, State Secretary Petra Olschowski, Stuttgart’s Mayor Fabian Mayer and Carl Bergengruen, CEO of MFG Film Funding Baden-Württemberg. The awards ceremony reception took place in the ITFS VR Hub at 20:30 pm (CET), musically accompanied by Linda & Andrew.
At the SWR OnlineFilm Audience Award, the audience chooses its favourite from all the entries in the International Competition, sponsored by SWR (Südwestrundfunk). The films will be screened within different programme blocks that started on different days of the festival week. To ensure equal opportunities, voting will remain open until Sunday, May 16 (until this date the films will be available on ONLINE+). The winning film will be announced after 16 May.
The winner of the competitions Tricks for Kids, Animated Games Award, German Animation Screenplay Award und Trickstar Business Award were already awarded on May 7 and 8.