2024 Oscar Nominees for Best Short Film: Morten Tinakov and Luchiya Murjak

Welcome to Cartoon Brew's spotlight series highlighting animated short films that have qualified for the 2024 Academy Awards. There are several ways for a film to qualify for an award. In this edition, we will focus on films that have won an Oscar-eligible award at a festival that is eligible for the Academy Awards.

Today's short film is "Eeva" by Morten Tsinakov and Lucija Murjak. The Estonian-Croatian co-production won Best Animated Short at the Nashville Film Festival and qualified for an Academy Award.

The dialogue-free film depicts the aftermath of a funeral as a widow adjusts to living alone. Surrounded by mourners and having had too much to drink, she struggles to conform to the way others believe a widow should mourn.

Cartoon Brew: The character designs of the men in the film are remarkably similar, as are their personalities. Tell us about this decision and how you decided to have (almost) all the men in the short film wear blue suits

Lucija Mrzljak: This answer would probably be boring. But a group of people dressed the same (and even more so if they act the same!). is kind of interesting. Also, since there are quite a few people in some scenes, we decided to make them look similar to make it easier to design the characters.

What attracted you to this story and concept and why did you take on the role of director?

Morten Toshinakov: When I write a film, I try not to think about the concept or the theme. For me, it is more productive to start with a few details and try to connect them in some way. So instead of a compelling concept, I like a few small details, and I connect them and at some point I think, "Okay, now that's a story."

What did you learn about the production side, the filmmaking side, the creative side, or the subject matter through the experience of making this film? We learned that when we made our last film we were rather lazy. When we visited the Etiwanda & Anima Festival in Krakow, they were having a retrospective of Igor Kovalyov. The retrospective was amazing and we decided that the visuals we had developed for "Iva" were not good enough. We scrapped them and started over from scratch. We put far more effort into this work than we had in previous productions. It was exhausting, but well worth it.

Can you tell us how you developed your visual approach to this film and why you settled on this style/method? Apart from that, I looked at some of Lucilla's old paintings and thought they fit the storyline very well. Lucilla's paintings are 100% hand-drawn and very detailed, so if we wanted to use them as they were, it would have required a much larger budget than we had.