This year’s edition of the BRNO 16 festival turned out to be particularly fruitful for Polish animated film. “Acid Rain” by Tomek Popakul received the main award while Marta Koch’s “Such a Beautiful Town” was given an honourable mention.

BRNO 16 is an international short film festival. It is one of the longest-running film events in the Czech Republic, and the oldest in terms of its main focus, as it is the first event in the world entirely dedicated to short film forms. The festival was first organised in 1960 and has been held regularly ever since without any major disruptions. It is home to various types of films; there is no shortage of avant-garde, experiments, animations, and features. Both professional and student works. Its program is very rich, with workshops, exhibitions, and discussion panels held in addition to film screenings. The festival’s name refers to 16 mm film.

This year’s program featured several Polish films, but it is Tomek Popakul’s “Acid Rain” and Marta Koch’s “Such a Beautiful Town” which are returning from the Czech Republic with awards.

The winning film is set somewhere in Eastern Europe. Young runs away from home, as far as possible from her grey town. The initial excitement about the hitchhiking journey wears off when she finds herself on the outskirts of town in the middle of the night. She then notices someone balancing dangerously on the railing. This is how she meets Skinny, a slightly unbalanced weirdo. Skinny lives in a campervan, which he drives around taking care of his not-so-legal affairs. Young decides to ride along with Skinny. Their journey together leads them into increasingly strange regions, and an unspoken bond is quickly forged between them.

In turn, “Such a Beautiful Town” starts in the morning. A woman wakes up, goes to the window and, to her surprise, notices her boyfriend kissing another woman in the street. Confused, she runs out of the apartment to confront him, but the man is no longer there. To find him, she sets off on a lonely trip through the city, which becomes increasingly suffocating and unfriendly witch each passing street. The streets are closing in on her and the people she passes seem to have hostile intentions. Terrified, she sees the world she knew change right in front of her eyes with more dangers lurking behind every corner. The lonely journey has tragic consequences. The woman returns to her apartment knowing that nothing will ever be the same as before.

More information about the festival is available here.