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Czech Animated Short Film Daughter Wins the Student Academy Award

Czech Animated Short Film Daughter Wins the Student Academy Award

The animated puppet drama Daughter by a student from the university FAMU (Department of Animated Film), co-produced with MAUR film company, has won the international competition of the best 1615 school films. Daughter was awarded the prestigious prize known as the Student Oscar for the best foreign animated movie which is awarded by the American Academy of Film Arts and Sciences. This most prestigious award was won in 1989 by Jan Svěrák’s Oil Gobblers, his graduate film. The Czech school of animation thus confirms the quality of its students.

The director Daria Kashcheeva experiments in her bachelor’s film Daughter with the movement of the camera and explores the subject of the father-daughter relationship. This film has had its international premiere at the biggest world animation festival in Annecy, France, this year, where it won the main Crystal prize for the best student film. In August it got the main Audience Award at the International Film Festival in Melbourne, last Sunday it got the Best Film award at the festival of animation in Fantoche, Switzerland.  This week Daughter has its premiere in the North American continent at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in the section Short Cuts. At the festival it will be shown with other Czech representatives, Nabarvené ptáče (The Painted Bird) by Václav Marhoul and the series Bez vědomí (The Sleepers) by Ivan Zachariáš.

The director Daria Kashcheeva chose for her film an utterly unique art form, where she achieves very realistic shots with a hand-held camera, which is, in a puppet movie, a pioneering technique. In her work she drew inspiration from films by Lars Von Trier and the Dardenne brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre. The film is made completely by hand with no digital effects. This is also one of the reasons why it has been gaining so much worldwide recognition from critics and audiences alike. Today is one of the most important days in Daria’s student life. Not only was she awarded the Student Oscar, but she also graduated and achieved her bachelor’s degree by successfully passing her state exam.

„I am overjoyed by Daughter. Daria has shown enormous maturity, professionalism and talent during both the preparation and shooting. Since the beginning she has been processing such an intimate subject with great sensitivity, understanding and a gift for film narration and originality. I am convinced this huge success will aid her in her new film which we are starting to prepare, “explains Martin Vandas, MAUR film producer.

„This is a great success for FAMU and its Department of Animated Film. It shows that painstaking professional training enabling the author’s expression is completely worth it. I am looking forward to Daughter being shown with a restored version of Oil Gobblers,“ says the dean of FAMU  Zdeněk Holý about the success.

Jan Hančil, the president of the of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, agrees: „ I am proud of the creativity of the FAMU students. This news confirms a trend observed for quite some time, and that is the Animation school of FAMU being in top form. The film itself grabs you by its moving charm, Daria Kashcheeva - through her perfectionist work with the material – is able to invite us into her inner world. My wish for the author and the whole Film and TV faculty of AMU is: enjoy this success and do follow up with more films of such high quality.“

„We found out about Daria’s victory last night. While I was putting the children to bed, I missed a call from Beverly Hills. When with a premonition I called back, I reached an answering machine: ,Hello, you´ve reached the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences...´. I gave them Daria’s number and the following two hours the whole team was nervously watching our mobiles, waiting for the result,“ laughs Alexandra Hroncová, who at FAMU looks after the student films from the aspect of festival representation and arranges their showing abroad in and out of competitions.

The awards ceremony will be held mid-October in the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles. And the festival journey of Daughter is not over yet. It has been already selected by several dozen festivals all over the world. The film is a part of Trojhlas, (Three Voices), the  joining of three interesting student puppet animations. They were being created at the same time at three separate Czech art schools, FAMU, UMPRUM and Western Bohemian University Pilsen. „The premiere of Three Voices will happen on November 11 in Jatka 78 and will be accompanied by an exhibition of puppets from all three films. You are all cordially welcome,“ says Zuzana Roháčová, producer of Daughter.

The Student Academy Awards competition strives to support the talents and their connections across the continents.  The American Academy of Film Art and Sciences has been giving this award to best student films since 1972. In Czech history this prestigious award was won by a Czech student film only once, it was in 1989 for the mockumentary (a fictitious documentary) Ropáci (The Oil Gobblers) by Jan Svěrák. Four more Czechs were nominated: Miloš Zábranský in 1982 for Horečka všedního dne (The Weekday Fever), the artist Aurel Klimt in 1998 for his eastern Krvavý Hugo (Bloody Hugo), and Václav Švankmajer two years later for his animated Test. In 2011 another student of FAMU School of Animation, Libor Pixa, got a nomination for his movie Graffitiger. In 2017 a spectacular and artistically original acted film Furiant by the director Ondřej Hudeček got as far as the semifinals.

About the director: Daria Kashcheeva (1986) was a musical child and graduated from the Moscow Conservatory of Music as a pianist. After the conservatory, in 2012 she gained an MA degree in musical staging at the Gnessin Sisters Moscow Academy of Music. During her studies she already worked part time as a sound engineer in important Moscow theatres, (MCHAT, Satirikon, Modern). In 2017 Daria won the international competition Nespresso Talents. Her film To Accept, in which she used a mix of stop motion technique and pixilation, won her a Jury Award at the Cannes International Film Festival, but she has already done several short animated movies in various techniques, (animated Oasis, anidoc Prague, A Foreigners‘ Perspective, and the puppet film In A Dumpster). At the moment Daria is preparing a subject for her MA film which she should be working on in the next two years to graduate from FAMU with.

About Daughter: A young girl has buried a painful memory inside her: When she was a small girl, she brought home an injured little bird and her father, burdened by various worries, hadn’t noticed her feelings and need for understanding. The girl took her father’s reaction as a rejection and locked herself into her inner world of longing for paternal love and its manifestations. Since that moment she and her dad were growing more and more apart and as an adult she is not able to accept her father’s expressions of love. The father, suffering from guilt, is searching for a way back to his daughter and aims to reclaim the lost relationship.

The official trailer

The original title: Dcera /The English title: Daughter
The country of origin: Czech Republic
The year of production: 2019
Duration: 15 min
Directed, written and animated by: Daria Kashcheeva
Producer: Zuzana Roháčová (FAMU)
Co-producer: Martin Vandas (MAUR film)
Edited by: Alexander Kashcheev
Sound: Daria Kashcheeva, Miroslav Chaloupka
Lighting director: Bargav Shridhar
Music: Petr Vrba, Jan Mesany
Producers: Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU) and MAUR film. The film received substantial support from the Czech Film Fund.

More info on Student Academy Awards
Link to FAMU
Link to MAUR film Production Company



13. September 2019