Little Boy and the Beast
shortfilm / 6 minutes
commissioned by zdf / 2009
Marcus Sauermann was commissioned to write a concept for an episode of German beloved children’s TV-show “Siebenstein”. The episode‘s topic was supposed to be the yeti. Part of the show that is screened each Sunday on broadcaster ZDF is an animated short film that is loosely connected to the main theme of the show.
Marcus passed his script for the animated short to directors Uwe Heidschötter and Johannes Weiland in March 2009. The two had never worked together before and decided to head for a reduced and more abstract style in terms of design and animation. An approach that not only fit the budget but also managed to make the transformation of a beast into an ordinary woman believable.
The production of the short was one of the easiest we‘ve ever had in the studio. The recognition the film received after its premiere surprised all of us.
Carsten Bunte, Andy Groll, Christian Heck, Uwe Heidschötter, Hugo Hernandez, Benjamin Quabeck, Philip Rudolph, Marcus Sauermann, Ruben Schaller, Johannes Schiehsl, Bin-Han To, Johannes Weiland.
This is what the publication telvizion wrote about the film after it was screened at the prix jeunesse:
"Ever since Haro’s dad has left the family, Haro’s mum has become very strange. She hardly plays with Haro anymore and broods over old photographs; she no longer laughs and is in a bad mood all the time. She has turned into a real beast! Suddenly, Haro has to take care of many things all by himself, which can be pretty tiring. From the boy’s point of view the film depicts the difficulties he faces after his parents have separated. However, the film also shows that beastly parents who are going through a divorce may eventually turn into their old selves..."
The article also covers experts opinions on the film. You can read the full text in the pdf: televizion
One of Uwe Heidschötter‘s earlier designs shows the mother as a more aggressive kind of beast. He changed the design quickly to draw more attention to her feeling numb, without energy and hope.
One miracle about kids is how easily they sometimes switch roles. Haro acts as if he was an adult. He guides his mother through the supermarket. He very pragmatically takes care of his mother to protect the remaining parts of the family.
The very last shot of the film shows Haro in the back of his father‘s car. Only then his optimistic face gets a sadder expression as if he knows he might have to pay a prize for this part of his live later.
The Little Boy and the Beast was awarded with the Cartoon d'Or 2011 as best animated European short film. It won the Prix Jeunesse 2010 in the category “up to 6 fiction”. Maya Goetz, managing director of the Prix Jeunesse Foundation, said in the Sundays issue of New York Times from 17th February 2013 she firmly believes that "it is possible to tell difficult things to children." As an example she cited a particular Suitcase moment, a 2010 screening in Toronto of the German short "The Little Boy and the Beast". "It got the most points ever in the history of Prix Jeunesse voting, she said, 9.01 out of a possible 10. "It's about divorce, about a child handling his mother, who turns into a beast and then turns back into a human. You could see a few people really having tears in their eyes. They couldn't stop talking about it, how flat programs are sometimes and how to deal with these gaps between where most programs go." Later, in 2014 The Little Boy and the Beast was awarded as the Best Children’s TV Programm of the last 50 Years.
The short film was also awarded with the Crystal for Best TV Programm in 2010 in Annecy. Furthermore, the film won: Robert-Geisendörfer-Preis 2010 // Shanghai TV Festival 2010 // New York International Children's Film Festival 2011 // SICAF Seoul 2011 // Cartoons on the Bay 2010 // Goldener Spatz 2010 // EMIL-Award 2011 // EBU Summit Award 2011 // CIAK 2010 // Mundos Digitales 2010 // Anima Mundi 2010 // Hiroshima International Animation Festival 2010 // CICDAF 2010 // Animadrid 2010 // KROK 2010 // Sapporo 2010 // Anim'est 2010 // Biennial of Animation Bratislava 2010 // FIKE 2010 // Chicago International Children’s Film Festival // Encounters International Film Festival 2010 // BAF 2010 // EBU Awards 2011 // Filmschau Baden-Württemberg 2010 // Golden Kuker Sofia 2011 // Expotoons 2010