Features / Film Reviews / Indie Film

Reviews: EE BAFTAs 2020 British Short Animation nominations

This Sunday night sees the return of one of the finest award shows, the EE BAFTAs live from the Royal Albert Hall! Of course, there’s always the ‘big-name’ awards but as we did last year, we’re taking a closer look at that up and coming talent making waves in the indie film world. These 3 British Short Animation nominations are helping to give those film-makers a huge step forward, while showcasing some wonderful short animated tales…


By Maryam Mohajer


Written, directed and animated by Maryam Mohajer, animation short Grandad was a Romantic tells us the tale of a young girl’s Grandad, voiced by Maya Naraghi. This man has always been known for being a so-called ‘romantic’ because when he first saw a picture of her Granny, he decided to go out and find her because he believed she was the love of his life. While they did get married and have three kids, all represented through vivid, colourful artistry after they meet. It’s an amusing 5-minute piece and blends impressively between scenes by merging the previous ones and creating the next part of the story and, most importantly, there’s a big twist here that you really won’t see coming and, indeed, it’s actually a little bit hilarious.


By Kathrin Steinbacher

Steinbacher’s In Her Boots title is somewhat of a purposeful misdirect because, most of the time, our lead Granny isn’t actually wearing anything. Through block and brush-sprayed , square and circular animations, we’re told the story of Heidi, an elderly lady who’s seeing all kinds of bizarre things whilst her granddaughter visits. There is an underlying theme related to hiking but this piece is all about angles, the seemingly absurd and a huge slice of surrealism as Heidi disappears off into her own world, hiking the Alps and seeing her granddaughter as a giant egg. While I’m not entirely sure what’s going on, it’s got a real charm and it leaves you with the thought that either Granny is lost in her hopeful memories or that she’s on a whole lot of drugs. Maybe both? That’s fine with me.


By Naaman Azhari, Lilia Laurel

The Magic Boat, from Director/Animator Naaman Azhari, is a black and white, line-drawn animation that delves into the memories of a mother and her son, as she makes him ‘magic’ paper boats. Whilst they sleep, she remembers moments gone past, displayed by smaller animated segments within the voice-over of the chat between mother and son. It’s smartly edited, tells the story from its origins and creates a sense of the world and a relationship that’s important for the main two parties involved but it’s also got a deeper meaning, the boat the son leaves on is actually a way for him to escape the main land and troubles in their country. This is a poignant, reflective build of story that reminds of the refugees and what parents chose to sacrifice in the hope of a better life. Deeply emotive and astonishingly achieved within the 6-minute run-time.

Good luck to all the nominees this weekend! While I really liked the surreal-nature of In Her Boots, The Magic Boat might claim the prize for it’s lingering sense of reality and humanity, even in the most desperate times.

The EE British Academy Film Awards take place on Sunday 2 February 2020 at the Royal Albert Hall. The ceremony will be hosted by Graham Norton and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One, BBC One HD and BBC iPlayer.


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