FAMU student’s animated short secures Oscar nomination

'Daughter', photo: archive of FAMU

Dcera (Daughter), the puppet stop-motion movie created by FAMU student Daria Kashcheeva has been nominated for an Oscar in the category “best animated short“. It would be the latest and most significant in a series of awards that the 15- minute production has assembled over the past year. Meanwhile, The Painted Bird, written and directed by Václav Marhoul has missed out on the nomination for “Best International Film“.

'Daughter',  photo: archive of FAMU
Monday afternoon is not a common day to celebrate, but in the case of Daria Kashcheeva it was perhaps the happiest day in her life thus far.

Surrounded by her friends watching the live show announcing this year’s Oscar nominations, she covered her mouth in disbelief and embraced her friends as the announcer read out the name of her movie Dcera on the list of nominees for Oscar in the best animated short category.

Dcera has already won the student Oscar from the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as well as awards at the international film festivals in Annecy, Melbourne and Fantoche.

Daria Kashcheeva,  photo: archive of Daria Kashcheeva
The Tadjikistan born Russian citizen, who is currently studying at Prague’s prestigious FAMU film school, now has the chance to receive the most coveted trophy in film making at the 92. Academy Awards in Los Angeles.

So why has Dcera received such a warm critical reception?

It seems that it is primarily due to Ms Kashcheeva’s original use of hand-held camera movement, inspired by live-action and documentary films.

This is used to create an impression on the viewer that he is watching something akin to a documentary and draws him deeper into the story.

Speaking to Radio Prague International after she won the student Oscar in September, she explained the labour intensive process that this required.

“I did this manually rather than in post-production I made the camera movements during animation for each frame, so while I animated the puppets, I also animated the camera. It was a lot of work.”

This use of camera fits well into the animated short’s story, which is a study of the relationship between a father and his daughter. However, the author says it can also be applied to close relationships between people in general.

Asked about whether Prague’s film school had any effect on Ms Kashcheeva’s work, she said that it was actually thanks to FAMU that she got into animation in the first place.

“Of course it was very helpful for me, because before I entered FAMU I hadn’t done any animation. Of course I loved animated films and watched a lot of them, but it is here at FAMU that I really studied to animate.”

Whether Ms Kashcheeva’s originality and hard work is rewarded by the golden statuette will be announced during the Oscar’s show on February 10.

Her animated short is not the only film with a Czech connection nominated for an Oscar this year. Taika Waititi’s World War Two themed “anti-hate” satire Jojo Rabbit, which was shot in Prague and north-west Bohemia, has received nominations in six categories.