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TOP LIST ANIMAC 25: The best feature films, the most outstanding short film directors and the most surprising emerging talent of the last 25 years

Animac, the International Animation Film Festival of Catalonia, organised by Lleida City Council and to be held from 25 February to 7 March, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year by reviewing the best animations of the last 25 years with the TOP LIST ANIMAC 25. A list compiled with the help of key people in the study of animation worldwide. The TOP LIST ANIMAC 25 includes the 50 best animated feature films of the last 25 years, the 25 most outstanding animated short film directors, as well as the names of emerging talent, animators of the future, according to the curators, writers and scholars who have worked with Animac to create this top list.

These respected influencers who have been involved in compiling the ranking include great historians such as Jayne Pilling and Giannalberto Bendazzi; directors of festivals and cinemas of reference such as Marcel Jean (Annecy, Cinémathèque québécoise); renowned academics such as Paul Wells (Loughborough University); the next generation of writers and critics like Alex Dudok de Wit (Cartoon Brew) and Olga Bobrowska (Zippy Frames), as well as former Animac director Isabel Herguera and current director Carolina López, among others.

Thanks to their efforts, Animac has prepared three listsTop Feature Films, Top Short Directors and Top Emerging Talent, which can be consulted on the website and on the festival’s social media (Twitter: @Animac_Lleida; Facebook: @AnimacLleida, and Instagram: @animaclleida).

The Top Feature Films list is headed by the Japanese Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, 2001), produced by the Ghibli studio, the fantastic story of the girl Chihiro who arrives by chance in a spa full of spirits and spells, made by the master among masters of animation Hayao Miyazaki. The second position is occupied by the unforgettable French film The Triplets of Belleville (Les triplettes de Belleville, 2003) by the great artist Sylvain Chomet, with a story of intrigue and fraternal love with Tour de France and former music hall starlettes. And the third most voted feature film is Mary and Max, the tender story of two marginal characters inspired by real people, created in stop motion in 2009 by the Australian Adam Elliot.

The list of Top Short Directors, who have worked only or mainly over the last 25 years, are Theodore UshevKoji Yamamura and Regina Pessoa. Ushev and Pessoa participated in the last Animac festival with the screening of some of their most recent shorts such as The Physics of Sorrow and Barcelona de foc by the Bulgarian Theodore Ushev and Tio Tomás: A contabilidade dos dias directed by the Portuguese Regina Pessoa. All three directors have visited Animac over its 25-year history, provided insights into their work, and given unforgettable lectures.

Finally, the young animators Daria Kashcheeva and Martina Scarpelli were the most voted on the Top Emerging Talent list. Both directors were also present in the programming of the last edition of Animac, where the award-winning short film Daughter by the Czech Daria Kashcheeva and Egg by the Italian Martina Scarpelli were screened.

The director of the festival, Carolina López, assesses the results as follows: “What is most noticeable, firstly, is the diversity of origins, ages and gender of the curators, who have mainly valued the artistic and personal aspects of the films over any other consideration and, secondly, that they reflect the work carried out at Animac over the 25 years, as most of the directors and films listed have been present in the event in a commitment to creative and cultural diversity. It should also be noted that the most recurrent nationalities in the list of feature films are from Japan and France, countries boasting an important industry and also extensive support for culture, which becomes a major creative field. As for the directors, we note that Eastern European countries are a great pool of talent even today thanks to their great tradition in animation, but that, again and fortunately, there is a clear diversity of nationalities. And Spain, despite not topping the ranking, still occupies a place in these lists. In terms of genre, the feature film format continues to be male dominated (in terms of directors), while we find parity in more independent filmmakers, and in the Top Emerging Talent list most are women. Meanwhile, cartoons are the most valued technique, followed by stop motion and 3D.”


It is an honour for Animac to announce that the 2021 Honorary Award will go to the British director, extraordinary drawer, feminist and great humorist Joanna Quinn (Affairs of the Art) and the Animation Master Award to the Oscar-winning Adam Elliot (Mary and Max), an Australian creator of biographies modelled in plasticine and animated in stop motion. During the event, two full retrospectives of their works will be shown on Filmin and they will give a masterclass and a talk, respectively, exclusive to Animac Online, where they will explore their careers and their most recent projects, yet to be released.

Joanna Quinn (UK, 1962) is one of the most acclaimed figures in world animation. She is internationally recognised for her unique drawing skills, wonderful characterisations and humour. Quinn's films and commercials have won more than 90 awards, including four Bafta nominations, three Emmys and two Oscars. She has received honorary scholarships and doctorates from four UK universities, including the Royal College of Art in London. The new film Affairs of the Art by Joanna Quinn and Les Mill will be released in January 2021.

Adam Elliot (Australia, 1972) is one of the most critically acclaimed independent stop motion animated film directors. His films have won more than a hundred international awards, including the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2004 for Harvie Krumpet. His pieces, which he calls ‘Clayographies’, portray marginalised characters as they have never been portrayed before in animation, and have been seen by millions of people and featured in hundreds of film festivals.


Animac 2021 celebrates its 25th anniversary with a journey through the past, present and future of animation cinema, with onsite activities in Lleida from 26 to 28 February and online programming that will run from 25 February to 7 March on Filmin (movies, only in Spain) and YouTube (lectures and meetings)

In addition to the two international awards, part of the Animac programme will be closely linked to the TOP LIST ANIMAC 25, with a selection of the most outstanding feature filmsand shorts in the ranking.

Moreover, in a virtual roundtable, the event will welcome figures such as Theodore Ushevand Regina Pessoa, as well as other filmmakers whose shorts have been valued among the best by specialists.

In addition to this great 25th anniversary celebration, as in every year, Animac will offer the latest shorts and feature films in their usual sections, most of which can be enjoyed both online and on the big screen in Lleida.


Animac management is very grateful to each and every one of the great experts and influencers from around the world who helped compile the TOP LIST ANIMAC 25 for this special anniversary:

Milen Alempijević, Serbia

Margit Antauer ‘Buba’, Croatia

Giannalberto Bendazzi, Italy

Olga Bobrowska, Poland

Marco de Blois, Canada

Alex Dudok de Wit, Netherlands and United Kingdom

Adrián Encinas, Spain

Isabel Herguera, Spain and Germany

Marcel Jean, France and Canada

Xavier Kawa-Topor, France

Vassilis Kroustallis, Greece

Carolina López, Spain

María Lorenzo, Spain

Mihaela Mihailova, United States

Aneta Orozek, Netherlands

Jayne Pilling, United Kingdom

Igor Prassel, Slovenia

Chris Robinson, Canada

Dan Torre, Australia

Samuel Viñolo, Spain

Paul Wells, United Kingdom

Léa Zagury, Brazil


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