North American premiere


Directed by Gints Zilbalodis

Hosted by Director Gints Zilbalodis


Official selection

Animafest Zagreb 2019, Annecy 2019, Shanghai International Film Festival 2019


Contrechamp Award, Annecy 2019


Gints Zilbalodis


Gints Zilbalodis


Gints Zilbalodis


Gints Zilbalodis

Sound Designer

Gints Zilbalodis


Gints Zilbalodis


Gints Zilbalodis


Gints Zilbalodis

Latvia 2019 75 mins OV - Without dialogue
Genre AnimationFantasy

“A wondrous, wordless animated work of bright simplicity and subtle sophistication”
Paolo Russo, CINEUROPA

“A beautifully crafted minimalist adventure… instances of pure animated bliss”

In the middle of what appears to be nowhere, a barren desert engulfed in dust, a boy awakes to find himself suspended from a lone parched tree by the straps of his tangled parachute. As he hangs helplessly and assesses his surroundings, an uncanny entity emerges from the obscurity around him. It is enormous and imposing, and yet it seems like emptiness given form – a hungering emptiness with a voracious appetite for life’s energy. The boy eludes the monstrosity, at least for long enough to find refuge, and with it water, food, a few vital tools and clues, and a small bird for a companion. A map he discovers shows him the path back to human company, and a motorcycle, the means to get there. Whatever lies ahead, the boy must move forward – hope insists upon it, and the towering, life-threatening creature, slow yet inexorable in its approach, compels it.

Following a now-yearly tradition (recall NOVA SEED, JUNK HEAD and BATTLEDREAM CHRONICLE), Fantasia’s Axis section again presents a surprising and distinctive work of animation by a single creator — in this case, a spare and archetypal tale-for-all-ages imbued with a mesmerizing yet unsettling energy, and frequent moments of wonder and inspiration. Indeed, the closing credits of the thoughtful, fascinating Latvian fantasy-adventure AWAY are only the words “a film by Gints Zilbalodis.” Zilbalodis has already earned applause for a number of memorable shorts. For his first feature, he handled literally every aspect — screenplay, design, CG animation, even the effective musical score. He did so expressly to learn every aspect of the craft, in anticipation of bigger, fully staffed productions in the years ahead — and if AWAY is the precedent, let’s hope for many of them! – Rupert Bottenberg