18th edition
October 6-15, 2023
Meniu blog

Animest International Competition Reshapes Imagination


Animest International Competition Reshapes Imagination


This year, we’re redefining creativity, frame by multi-colored frame. Between October 6-15, the 18th edition of the Animest International Animation Film Festival – the only Oscar-qualifying film festival in Romania – is bringing its richest, most diverse film selection to date to Bucharest screens. 63 animated short films are competing for the Animest Trophy, while another 25 student films representing some of the world’s most prestigious universities are vying for the dedicated section award. What’s more, the International Feature Film Competition will host no less than five national premieres. Are some of your must-sees on the list? Read all about the Animest.18 Official Competition on www.animest.ro.

In 2018, Mizuki Tsujimura’s Lonely Castle in the Mirror took the Japanese book market by storm, winning over half a million readers. Among them was multi-award-winning director Keiichi Hara, known for films such as Miss Hokusai and Colorful. Fascinated by this story of teenagers discovering that the mirrors in their rooms are portals to an enchanted castle, Hara designed a mesmerizing animated production that premiered internationally in competition at the Annecy Festival. At Animest, Lonely Castle in the Mirror is competing in the Feature Film Competition.

Also hailing from Annecy, where this year it snagged the Contrechamp Jury Award, Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light will have its national premiere at Animest.18. Czech director Filip Pošivač’s debut is a stop-motion puppet show that celebrates diversity through the story of a boy whose parents want him to hide his superpower: the fact that he glows. But his new friend doesn’t mind. Juanjo, an asthmatic boy whose parents are also trying to protect him to the extreme, and Miquel, whose mother tries to take care of him despite his absentee father, take refuge from the gray world in their friendship and heavy metal music, across the backdrop of Barcelona of the 90s, in Tender Metalheads (directed by Joan Francis Thomas Monfort and Carlos Pérez-Reche).

With a meticulous eye for detail in her storytelling and a minimalistic 2D animation style, director Sepideh Farsi’s debut depicts the 1980s outbreak of the bloody Iran-Iraq war through a 14-year-old boy’s struggle for survival in a besieged city, the oil-rich city of Abadan, and his encounters with people at a turning point in their lives. The premiere of The Siren opened the Panorama section of the Berlinale.

Matt Kiel enters the Feature Film Competition with Unicorn Boy, a colorful and surprising personal story peppered with humor and metaphors about the modern world. When a heartbroken young artist is sucked into a unicorn-run alternate dimension, they must help conquer a dark force in order to bring peace to the kingdom and themselves. How’s that for a breakup cure?

French filmmaker and choreographer Jean Charles Mbotti Malolo, our special guest at Animest.18, will review the films in the Feature Film Competition alongside José Miguel Ribeiro, the Portuguese director of Nayola – winner of the section at Animest in 2022 – and Ilze Burkovska Jacobsen (Latvia). Ilze directed the 2020 feature film My Favorite War, awarded with the Annecy Contrechamp Award and French Critics Prize. The three jurors will also preside over the Romanian Short Film Competition, the section dedicated to our country’s best voices in the animation industry.

The Most Coveted Trophy: The International Short Film Competition

Only one of the 63 short films selected in the International Short Film Competition will take home the 2023 Animest Trophy and automatic Oscar-qualifying eligibility. This year’s selection abounds in stories that excite the imagination, as well as in animated documentaries competing for the Best Anidoc Award.

Every year, we up the ante. Animest.18 has something for everyone: animated productions representing multiple genres, with remarkable stylistic touches and touching stories. For the first time in Romania, you’ll get to enjoy films such as 27 (directed by  Flóra Anna Buda) – winner of the 2023 Palm D'or, the fantastic Electra (directed by Daria Kashcheeva) and Peeping Mom (directed by Francis Canitrot), both presented in competition at Cannes, as well as Berlinale standout Eeva (directed by Lucija Mrzljak and Morten Tšinakov).

But what about the fresh new voices in animation? Explore their vision in the Student Film Competition, whose selection includes 25 short films from some of the best schools in the world: Gobelins, Rubika, Poudrière, Filmakademie, Famu Prague, MOME Budapest. The productions dare to use surprising techniques to discuss important themes such as violence, bullying, and even the complexity of the human psyche.

Sabīne Andersone (Latvia) – film producer and director of the Atom Art animation studio in Riga, Marta Pajek (Poland) – multi-awarded director competing at Cannes with III, together with animator and illustrator Britt Raes (Belgium) make up the jury for this edition’s International Short Film Competition and Student Film Competition.

Read more about the films in the Animest.18 International Competition at www.animest.ro. To enjoy the full festival experience and access all the screenings, purchase one of the limited edition full passes on the Eventbook platform.



The Animest Festival is a project of the Animest Association, co-financed by the MEDIA Program of the European Union and AFCN–the Administration of the National Cultural Fund.

The Animest.18 project is co-financed by the Bucharest Municipality through ARCUB. The project does not necessarily represent the official position of the Bucharest Municipality or of ARCUB.

Partner: CNDB–The National Center for Dance Bucharest.

Media partners: Radio România Cultural, Agerpres, IQads, Zile și Nopți, Vice, Scena9, Ziarul Metropolis, Mindcraft Stories, Happ.ro, LiterNet, MovieNews, Cinefan, Cinefilia, AaRC.ro, AIVImedia.hub, Munteanu.

Monitoring partner: mediaTRUST.


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