Marc James Roels and Emma de Swaef's animated short Oh Willy… won the Grand Prize at this year's 7th Anim'est International Animation Film Festival in Bucharest (5-14 October). A best of the fest programme will start touring at the end of this month, and will call in at cities such as Cluj-Napoca (26-28 October) and Chișinău (1-4 November). Last month, Oh Willy… also won the Cartoon d'Or, the award for the Best Animated Short in Europe.
In this 17-minute stop-motion animated film, fiftysomething Willy returns to the naturist community where he spent his youth to visit his dying mother. When she dies shortly after he arrives, Willy is confronted with the choices he made in his life. In confused sadness he flees into the forest. After a rough start, he finds the motherly protection of a big, gentle, hairy beast. The Anim-fest Jury called Oh Willy… 'a great achievement that looks exactly how it feels: sensitive and gentle while playing with a subtle palette of emotions.'
In total, the film can now boast well over 100 festival selections and 23 awards around the globe. Oh Willy… is produced by Ben Tesseur and Steven De Beule for Mechelen-based stop-motion studio Beast Animation (A Town Called Panic). It was made with the support of the Flanders Audiovisual Fund (VAF).