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Winners of the 2021 Kaohsiung Film Festival International Short Film Competition Announced; animated work "Girl in the Water" wins the Taiwan Section- Golden Fireball Award

Yao Yi-ti and Brando Huang host the ceremony with festival ambassador Wen Chen-ling presenting Asian New Wave Award

The 2021 Kaohsiung Film Festival International Short Film Competition announced the winners on October 24 who would receive a total of over NT$1.2 million prize money. The ceremony was hosted by Yao Yi-ti and Brando Huang while the festival ambassador Wen Chen-ling presented the Asian New Wave Award. The biggest award in the Taiwan section--Golden Fireball Award, was presented to the animated work “Girl in the Water” by the finalist jury member, Wang Shau-Di. The top prize in the International Section- Golden Fireball Award, was given to “The Game,” which triumphed over 39 entries from all around the globe. Meanwhile, the VR competition trophy, VR Golden Fireball Award, was won by “Marco & Polo Go Round,” and “In the Mist” took home the VR Special Mention Award.


This year, 21 short animated films were selected. Unrestrained by traditional filmmaking and the pandemic, apart from the quantity, these works also demonstrate their high quantity, which ignited intense discussions among the jury members. To make matters more interesting, Taiwan Section- Golden Fireball Award was given to an animated work, “Girl in the Water” directed by Huang Shi Rou, which makes a rare example. This film delicately portrays the self-healing process of woman after falling out of love and compares it to the peeling mold on the wall. It has been selected for three major international animation festivals: Annecy International Animation Festival, Animafest Zagreb and Stuttgart Festival of Animated Film. The perspicacious jury of the finalists were highly appreciative of its sensitive touch, the scabbed wounds and the peeling walls, the combination of which successfully portrays the self-healing process of a woman. Director Huang Shi Rou wept on the stage and said, “I have been isolated from the outside world for the past three years, just to finish ‘The Girl in the Water,’ Every drawing and every brushstroke represents my persistence in bringing ‘The Girl in the Water’ to the world. Thank you to everyone who helped me along the way. I have always dreamed of taking my parents to see my work in the cinema, and I thank the Kaohsiung Film Festival for making my dream come true.


The Golden Fireball Award in the International Section went to Roman Hodel’s “The Game,” which focuses on the most crucial and least noticed group of people, the referees, on the soccer field. It captures these characters of the game from multiple perspectives. Jury member Tom Lin also commended the film for its subtle sound and light effects, which would make it an intriguing short film for theatrical release.


“Marco & Polo Go Round”, which won the VR Golden Fireball Award, directed by Benjamin STEIGER LEVINE. The jury unanimously said that the work brilliantly uses weightlessness to echo intimacy, visualizing the abstract relationship into the gravity-free status of space, objects and bodies, allowing the viewer to wander freely in the space from the perspective of the spectator. At the same time, the viewer feels strongly empathetic. The mature narrative technique, and the core of the story are gradually revealed through delicate dialogues and plot ambiguities. It is a rare and outstanding work in terms of VR technology, narrative mastery and creative ingenuity.


The Special Jury Award in the International and Taiwan sections went to “Mild Madness, Lasting Lunacy” and “Solo Trekker” respectively. The documentary animation “Mild Madness, Lasting Lunacy” investigates one day of the patients and caregivers in a psychiatric institution, employing animation to show the unique way the patients perceive things. Director Marine Laclotte also expressed her joy in winning the award through a video clip, dancing happily and amusing the audience. “Solo Trekker” directed by Chang Jing Ye
won the Taiwan Section-Special Jury Award. It stars Shan Cheng-ju and Deven Pan. They play two frustrated characters who are either involved in theft and betrayal or caught in a desperate situation. The jury said that the state of mind of the two characters and the endless natural world ahead of them form stark contrast. It stands out in Taiwanese cinema as it is set in the mountains. Moreover, the director has captured the beauty of various aspects of forests, light and mountains in the mountains, so it deserves all its recognition. 
 At the announcement of their win, the director, Chang Jing Ye, and producer, Yi-Hua Wang, burst into tears, exclaiming, “Everyone in the film industry is like a solo trekker, and the mountain of film is mighty and yet enchanting. So we should never give up.” The Taiwan Student Award was given to “Versus” directed by Chang Tzu Hsiang. It is a film that captures the simplicity and beauty of the students of the outlying islands. The relationship between the subject and the photographer flows naturally. With the camera allowing viewers to grow up with the wrestling team, it becomes a work full of warmth.

The Special Mention in the International and Taiwan sections went to “NAYA” and “Butterfly Jam” respectively. Directed by Sebastian Mulder, “NAYA” explores the curiosity of human beings towards wild animals, and perfectly blends the tracking device on the mother wolf with a surveillance camera to lead viewers to think about the relationship between human beings and nature. Huang Shih Yen’s action work “Butterfly Jam” depicts the relationship between pets and family in the course of life. The jury members highly praised the full-blown aesthetics of animation in the film. “Blue Lion” directed by Zoia Trofimova was awarded with the Children’s Jury Award. 


This year, in collaboration with the National Human Rights Museum, the Kaohsiung Film Festival presented the Formosa Human Rights Award to “Tugging Diary” directed by Yan Wai Yin from Hong Kong.
The jury members pointed out that the film documents the hustled bustle of Hong Kong after the pandemic. It allows the voices suppressed by the totalitarian regime to be recreated and reflects the shared mindset of a generation in the interwoven relationship between their struggle and daily life. Asian New Wave Award
Was presented to “The Poem of Pakistan” directed by Chan Hon Yan. The film explores what identity is through a young Hong Kong man of Pakistani descent. Is it the blood in my body or the place where I grew up that makes who I am? The jury members unanimously agreed that the film is a rare treasure with rich narrative perspectives, outstanding performances and an international vision that leaves the work more room for imagination.

The VR Immersive Award Award winner, “Paper Birds”, is the work of co-directors German HELLER and Federico CARLINI. The jury was impressed by its mature immersive narrative approach, animation production, interactive design and complete story structure. Through the miniature model and object design, it creates a very interesting spatial scale transformation; the smooth and skillful mirroring successfully outlines a free narrative guidance in a 6DoF world, and with the clever combination of music and interaction, it’s absolutely a wonderful work. The winner of the VR360 Award is Jonathan HAGARD's VR animated work "Replacements”, which has already won the Cristal for the Best VR Work at Annecy International Animation Festival and the Grand Prix at Beyond the Frame Festival in Japan earlier this year. And it received another award today. The jury said the work combines fresh and exquisite animation style, 360-degree panoramic view, smooth rhythm of the storyline, and symbolic and precise details to present a unique narrative approach of VR with just a light touch. The work's form and content are aptly combined, reflecting four decades of time through a corner of the streets of Jakarta, Indonesia.


The 2021 Kaohsiung Film Festival is being held online and physically from now until October 31, and you can watch the exciting works of the Kaohsiung Film Festival online by simply logging in at home with just one click! For more updated information about the festival, please follow the Kaohsiung Film Festival official website  , Facebook fan page and Instagram.


2021 KFF International Short Film Competition Winners

【 International Section 】
Special Jury Award
Mild Madness, Lasting Lunacy  |  Marine LACLOTTE
Special Mention
NAYA |Sebastian MULDER
Golden Fireball Award
The Game  |Roman HODEL
【 Taiwan Section 】
Taiwan Student Award
Versus|Chang Tzu Hsiang、Dai Wei

Special Jury Award
Solo Trekker|Chang Jing Ye
Special Mention
Butterfly Jam |Huang Shih Yen
Golden Fireball Award
Girl in the Water | Huang Shi Rou
【 Children’s Jury Award 】
Blue Lion|Zoia TROFIMOVA
【 Formosa Human Rights Award 】
Tugging Diary|Yan Wai Yin
【 Asian New Wave Award 】
The Poem of Pakistan|Chan Hon Yan

【 VR Section 】
VR 360 Award
Replacements |Jonathan HAGARD
VR Immersive Award
Paper Birds |German HELLER、Federico CARLINI
Special Mention
In the Mist |CHOU Tung-Yen
Golden Fireball Award
Marco & Polo Go Round | Benjamin STEIGER LEVINE
【 Talent Workshop & Pitching Competition 】
NewImages Talent Award
The Awake|HSIEH Hsiao-Ting, HSIEH Hsiao-Wei
Kaohsiung VR FILM LAB Award
When the Flowers Bloom |WEI Shiue-Ying、KO Chia-Wen
【 Youth Art Exhibition Art Inspired by Art 】
Audience's Choice Award
《愛情海》|Li Tzung En
Grand Award
《望鄉》|Lin Chian Chian