Homebird

Struggling to make it in a big city, a young artist finds herself retreating into the rose-tinted memories of the village she left behind.

Homebird is an NFTS graduation short animation created entirely in paint on cel technique. It was included in the Academy Awards® and BAFTA longlists, and won Silver Young Director Award.

Duration: 10 min
Production: NFTS / UK / 2021
Technique: paint on cel

Festivals & Awards

2021: Indy Shorts International Film Festival, Indianapolis, US — Grand Prize for Animated Short (Oscar® qualifying) & Animated Audience Choice Award / Galway Film Fleadh, Galway, Ireland — Best International Short Animation / Encounters Film Festival, Bristol, UK / IndieCork, Cork, Ireland / Calgary International Film Festival, Calgary, Canada — Jury Prize for Student Animation / Animest International Animation Film Festival, Bucharest, Romania / OFFline Film Festival, Birr, Ireland — Best Animation / Kerry International Film Festival, County Kerry, Ireland / Bucheon International Animation Festival, Bucheon City, South Korea / Banjaluka International Animated Film Festival, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina / Spark Animation Festival, Vancouver, Canada — Student Shorts, Runner Up  / Cardiff International Film Festival, Cardiff, UK / St. Louis International Film Festival, St. Louis, US / Lake County Film Festival, Lake County, US / Cinanima, Espinho, Portugal / Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival, Baltimore, US / Manchester Animation Festival, Manchester, UK / Interfilm Berlin International Short Film Festival, Berlin, Germany / Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF), Tallinn, Estonia (panorama) / Shorts That Are Not Pants Film Festival, Toronto, Canada / St Andrews Film Festival, St Andrews, UK — Best Animation / Animateka International Animated Film Festival, Ljubljana, Slovenia (panorama) / Bogoshorts: Bogotá Short Film Festival, Bogotá, Colombia (special programme)

2022: British Shorts Film Festival, Berlin, Germany / Animac, Lleida, Spain / Tricky Women/Tricky Realities, Vienna, Austria / Fargo Film Festival, Fargo, US — Honorable Mention / MONSTRA Lisbon Animation Festival, Lisbon, Portugal / Athens ANIMFEST, Athens, Greece / On The Pulse Short Film Festival, Belfast, UK / Russian Indie Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia — Best Animation / Roanne Animation Short Film Festival, Roanne, France / Sarasota Film Festival, Sarasota, US / Go Short, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (focus programme) / Filmfest Dresden, Dresden, Germany / GLAS Animation Festival, Berkeley, US — Family Special Mention / Brighton International Animation Festival, Brighton, UK / Busan International Short Film Festival, Busan, South Korea / Animayo, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain / Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film, Stuttgart, Germany (special programme) / Anifilm, Liberec, Czech Republic / Parish Festival of Independent Film, Jersey, Channel Islands / Cactus International Children’s and Youth Film Festival, Aosta, Italy / Zlín Film Festival, Zlín, Czech Republic / In the Palace International Short Film Festival, Pernik, Bulgaria / Animafest Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatian (special programme) / Southside Film Festival, Bethlehem, US / Young Director Award  — Silver Screen / Palm Springs International ShortFest, Palm Springs, US / ShorTS International Film Festival, Trieste, Italy — Shorts TV Award / St Albans Film Festival, St Albans, UK / Insomnia International Animation Film Festival, Moscow, Russia / Anibar International Animation Festival, Peja, Kosovo / Picture’s Up! Film Festival, Los Angeles, UK / Cortocircuiti Short Film Festival, Bari, Italy / dotdotdot Open Air Short Film Festival, Vienna, Austria / San Antonio Film Festival, San Antonio, US / 2D & 3D Animation Film Festival, Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi, Italy / La Guarimba International Film Festival, Amantea, Italy / São Paulo International Short Film Festival, São Paulo, Brazil / Festival Internacional de cine de Norte de Santander, Cúcuta, Colombia — Best International Short Animation / Albuquerque Film & Music Experience, Albuquerque, US

Reviews

This film is an example of how seemingly everyday images can be handcrafted to tell a truly compelling sophisticated story of growing up and leaving home while still staying true to yourself and your roots.

— OFFline Film Festival

Elegant, modest movie with tasteful “claire-ligne” visuals about finding peace within yourself on the transition from rural to urban life, the past and the present, full of romantic Eastern European nostalgia.

— jury statement, GLAS Animation Festival

We’ve chosen to award this film for its poetic and direct story and ability to talk to everyone. With its expressive storytelling, this film is a reminder of the importance of self- belief whilst fully embracing own background and identity. Extensively, it’s also a beautiful poem that talks of the richness and beauty of all diversities.

— Shorts TV jury statement, Trieste ShorTS International Film Festival

Process

initial character sketches

background design, colouring test

colouring example

photographing coloured cels

NFTS Crew

Directed and Animated by Ewa Smyk
Producer – Leah Bethany Jones
Writers – Ralph Mathers & Ewa Smyk
Cinematographer – Pep Bosch i Calvo
Editor – Amy Pettipher
Composer – Natalia Tsupryk
Sound Designer – Tatiana Borges Alvares Sanches

Production Designer – Iasonas Houssein
CG Artist – Valerie George
Colourist & Online Editor – Marco Valerio Caminiti
Production Manager – Beatriz Honorio
Voice Actors – Laura Greenwood, Brian Ward, Natalie Beran
Production Coordinator – Tian Boyce
Production Assistant – Catherine Lynn