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 — Best Animated Student Short Film & People’s Choice Animated Short Film / dotdotdot Open Air Short Film Festival, Vienna, Austria / San Antonio Film Festival, San Antonio, US / Asterfest Film Festival, Strumica, Macedonia / 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 / Animafilm International Animation Festival, Baku, Azerbaijan / Albuquerque Film & Music Experience, Albuquerque, US /Deep Focus Film Festival, New York, US / Tallgrass Film Festival, Wichita, US — Honorable Mention / Villa de Leyva International Film Festival, Villa de Leyva, Colombia / Azyl Shorts, Banská Bystrica, Slovakia / Bolton International Film Festival, Bolton, UK / BendFilm Festival, Bend, US / Animatou Geneva Animation Film Festival, Geneva, Switzerland / Corto e Fieno Rural Film Festival, Lake Orta, Italy — Special Mention / Sharjah International Film Festival For Children & Youth, Sharjah, UAE / Osnabrück Independent Film Festival, Osnabrück, Germany — Student Short Film Audience Award / FILMETS Badalona Film Festival, Badalona, Spain / Warsaw Animation Film Festival, Warsaw, Poland / Evolution! Mallorca International Film Festival, Palma de Mallorca, Spain — Best Experimantal Short Film / REX Animation Festival, Stockholm, Sweden / Northern Wave International Film Festival, Rif, Iceland / International Film Festival Etiuda & Anima, Cracow, Poland / ŻubrOFFka International Short Film Festival, Białystok, Poland — 1st Prize at ANIMATION.PL Competition / Fish&Films Festival, Granville, France / Los Angeles Animation Festival, Los Angeles, US — Silver for International Design

2023: Happy Valley Animation Festival, State College, US / O!PLA Animation Festival, Poland — Golden Bundle Award Camp d’Elx Rural FilmFest, Elche, Spain / Galichnik Film Festival, Galichnik, Macedonia

Reviews & Press

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


initial character sketches

background design, colouring test

colouring example

photographing coloured cels


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