Our animated documentary by Joanna Kozuch Once There Was a Sea…  will after a successful international premiere in Clermont-Ferrand in France, where it won the Student Jury Prize, was presented at many prestigious international film festivals around the world where it was also awarded by many awards. 

It received St. Vojtech Prize for the best Visegrad Film at Biennial of Animation Bratislava BAB 2022. It was also awarded as the best short film at 8th International Short Film Festival SHORT FORM in Belgrade and at 48th IFF EKOFILM in Brno. As the best anidoc was selected by jury at 17th ANIMEST – Animation Film Festival in Bucharest. Special Mentions received at Kaohsiung Film Festival 2022 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and at CinéOpen – Festival de Cinéma d’Animation de Pontarlier 2022 in France. The film also impressed at the “TOFUZI” festival in Tbilisi, where it won the award for the best animated film for adults. At the same time, the American Academy of Motion Picture and Television Arts and Sciences announced that the film met the qualification criteria and can also compete for the Oscar in the category of best animated film, where it will qualify thanks to the award from the Anifilm festival in Liberec.

Once There Was a Sea…  is a story about the Aral Sea. Most of the changes in climate and landscape in the area of the Aral Sea are the outcomes of one of the worst man-made eco-catastrophes in human history. The Aral Sea is dying. The idea of the film Once There Was a Sea… came to mind of director Joanna Kozuch during her train trips through the region of Middle Asia in 2008 and 2014. The film is inspired by the place on the borders of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan and the stories and destinies of the people that she has met when I was exploring the disaster of Aral Sea.

Trailer is available here.