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Acid Rain: See Poland’s Potential Academy Award Contender19.11.2019

The film tell the story of an encounter between a hitchhiker and a mentally unstable misfit. Somewhere on the outskirts of a post-Communist city in Eastern Europe, the two decide to travel in the same direction for a brief moment.

The film was conceived, written, and directed by Tomek Popakul, a graduate of the animation program of the Łódź Film School. A number of his prior efforts have been shown at film festivals around the globe, to popular and critical acclaim. His credits include Black (2016), a tale of two astronauts trapped on an orbital station, and the coming-of-age story Ziegenort (2013).

His most recent directing effort, the 2019 short Acid Rain, is the product of the director’s fascination with rave culture. For the movie, Popakul spoke at length with Karol Suka, one of the forerunners of rave culture in Poland. Suka’s music also made its way into the soundtrack for Acid Rain.

“I wanted to show the dark side [of rave culture—ed. note], too. I was intrigued by the contradictions: the feelings of family-like community and alienation in the crowd, the attempts to build a modern hippie utopia, drug-related problems and crime. I wanted to make a spiritual movie with both light and darkness. You can choose your path, but you will pay the price!” explained Popakul in an interview with “Animation Magazine.”

The film was produced by the Warsaw studio Animoon and the National Film Archive and Audiovisual Institute. The characters of Chudy and Młoda were voiced by Daria and Piotr Bułka, an actor couple well-known in Silesian theater circles.

Acid Rain has already received a bevy of nominations and honors—including at the world’s most famous independent film festival in Sundance. It also took the Grand Prix at the 2019 Animafest in Zagreb and was named Best Animated Short Film at the Monterrey International Film Festival. Popakul’s film also received the award for Best Script at the 2019 Ottawa International Animation Festival.

Popakul’s animation meets all of the requirements prescribed by the the American Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences to qualify for an Academy Award. But before it can be nominated proper, it has to be featured on the Academy Award shortlist for Best Animated Short Film. The ten-candidate shortlist will be released on December 16.

ACID RAIN by Tomek Popakul
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