A war story ‘MILA’ joins the 94th Academy Awards race for Best Animation Short category

MILA, a powerful CG short, about a young girl who witnessed the WWII bombings, is being considered for best animation short for the 94th Academy Awards. It is a volunteer-based project involving more than 350 artists from around the world and took 10 years to be completed.

The work that is streaming on the Academy screening room, is accessible to Academy members for voting purposes. Voting begins 10 December 2021 and ends 15 December 2021. The shortlist will be announced on 21 December.

MILA is a war story told from a child’s (five-year-old MILA) perspective. While the film is inspired by true events that occurred in Trento, Italy, in 1943, Mila represents all children, in any war, of any time. In the film, the character of Mila represents the best of humanity. Although she has lost everything – her family, her house, and her peace – she still clings to hope. 

Over the years, MILA gathered sponsors and partners including Pixel Cartoon, IbiscusMedia, Autodesk, Toon Boom Animation, SideFX, Aniventure, UNICEF Italia, Dog Head Animation & Skywalker Sound. In 2019 Cinesite announced their partnership with the project to complete the production of the animated film. 

The team comprised four core groups: U.S.A, Italy, Canada, and United Kingdom. Professional artists in Italy, Australia, Mexico, India, France, Belgium, Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Nigeria, Egypt, Brazil, Spain and more contributed in a variety of ways voluntarily.

MILA’s writer director Cinzia Angelini believes animation is the perfect medium to tell this story because while it’s civilians who are the first to be hit, it’s their children that are the last to be remembered. 

“I am deeply honored and immensely grateful to be at the helm of such an incredible group of volunteers, who believed in me, in Mila, and all that she represents. To see a project with such humble beginnings actually make it to being considered for the Academy Awards shows us what artists can do when they unite towards a meaningful goal. Nothing can stop them! This has always been a team effort, supported by countless people who encouraged, contributed and became a part of our international, multicultural crew. Sharing this wonderful news with all of them has been the ultimate reward, and I thank each of them from the bottom of my heart,” Angelini exclaimed.

The CG short has not only rallied a global collective to illustrate the hearts, minds, and everlasting hope of children in warzones, but has also spotlighted women in the animation industry. Thirty percent of the film’s crew was female, and many held leadership roles including writer/director, producer, executive producers, script supervisor, head of lighting, rigging supervisor, character effects leads, and co-production managers.

“I am so happy that I work in a studio that really cares about supporting women in the industry. And I’m also happy that I was able to give back… with advice or with recommendations or with networking to help people that were on the film for many years get something out of it. Many people that started as students with us are now professionals and were able to have portfolios thanks to Mila. We didn’t want to just take from the community, so we gave back as much as we could,” said the director known for her work in Despicable Me 3.

Originally from Italy, Angelini moved to Los Angeles in 1997 and has worked as a 2D/3D animator and story artist for studios like Dreamworks, Disney Animation Studios, Warner Brothers and other big organisations. She is currently co-directing the animated feature HITPIG with David Feiss. The film is set in a futuristic cyberpunk world the story follows a grizzled porcine bounty hunter Hitpig (Peter Dinklage) who accepts his next hit: Pickles (Lilly Singh), a naive, ebullient elephant who has escaped the clutches of an evil trillionaire. 

HITPIG is produced by Aniventure and is currently in production at Cinesite. It is scheduled for release in 2022.

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