January 26, 2022

Nantes: their student project is in the race for the Oscars

“I am a pebble”, tells the story of Bulle who takes pebbles for her family. (© I am a pebble)

The American dream ? It is perhaps the beginning of the adventure lived by 12 former students of the higher school of artistic professions (ESMA) of Nantes (Loire Atlantique).

Two animated films from the 2020 class have just won festivals labeled “Qualifying Oscars”, propelling them into a first selection of the ceremony Oscars, organized on March 27, 2022 in the United States.

Best animated short

Produced in 2020, “The source of the mountains” and “Je suis un caillou”, were produced from A to Z by 12 students.

Recently, both films were awarded. “The Source of the Mountains” won the “Best Animated Short” award at the Riverrun International Film Festival while “I am a pebble” received the “Best Animation Short” award at the HollyShorts Film Festival.

Directed by Camille Di Dio, Adrien Communier, Benjamin François, Pierre Gorichon, Briag Mallat, Marianne Moisy, “The source of the mountains” recounts the adventure of Kinko, a festive being who went in search of summits that are vital to him.


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“We are very happy to show our films, while being surprised by the return of the spectators”, testifies Camille Di Dio, co-director of the short film.

The second film from Nantes, “Je suis un caillou”, traces the story of Bulle, an otter living with pebbles, considering them as her family. A cartoon designed by Yasmine Bresson, Mélanie Berteraut, Léo Coulombier, Nicolas Grondin, Maxime le Chapelain and Louise Massé.


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“We are surprised by these awards because it is our first short film and we did not know how people would react”, assures Yasmine Bresson.

Because of the pandemic and lack of time on their professional agenda, the directors had to be satisfied with congratulations in distance.

One year of work

The two projects come from the course offered by ESMA Nantes, a four-year course. During their third year, students must present a film to a jury made up of teachers from the school. Design, editing, production, rhythm, color… The two teams did everything from “A to Z”.

At the end, alone six productions of the promotion are selected, an intense year for the club of 12.

The young directors first designed their film through drawings.
The young directors first designed their film through drawings. (© I am a pebble)

“It was a year of work, stress, self-sacrifice and memories,” recalls Yasmine Bresson. “A hell of a cocktail with stress, excitement and fatigue,” adds Camille Di Dio.

Some comrades provided tools to simplify the work of the teams. “Our promotion was united, we supported each other during our struggles,” says Camille.

3D is teamwork.

Yasmine BressonCo-director of the animated film “Je suis un caillou”

A real business card, the two films enabled students to be recruited in various animation studios.

Kihiko is the main character of the animated film,
Kinko is the main character of the animated film, “The Source of the Mountains”. (© The Source of the mountains)

Family and global warming

Before making and designating their film, each group had to find THE good idea. “In an innocuous way, I spoke to Benjamin (editor’s note: co-director of“ The source of the mountains ”) about my“ moon shots ”, from there we imagined animals that lived on the moon,” laughs Camille Di Dio.

The Mountain Source delivers an environmental message.
The Mountain Source delivers an environmental message. (© The Source of the mountains)

“In his notebook Maxime (editor’s note: co-director of“ Je suis un caillou ”) spoke of an otter who became friends with a pebble,” says Yasmine Bresson.

The two short films fit into contemporary themes. “The Source of the mountains tells the story of the individual lost in the face of immensity”, describes Adrien Communier, one of the co-directors.

The story echoes global warming and the need to make an effort to understand why the world is out of order.

Adrien CommunierCo-director of the animated film “La Source des montagne”

The adventures of the Bulle otter evoke love for his family and the search for our place within it. “We are (editor’s note: humans) full of paradoxes. The most important thing is to be open, ”says Yasmine.

Bulle, is the otter of the short film
Bulle, is the otter from the short film “Je suis un caillou” (© I am a pebble)

The 12 former students have until December 21, 2021 to defend their short films in front of professionals from the biggest animation studios. “Already happy” to be part of the first preselection, the young directors have few illusions. “It is rare that a student project is selected in the final preselection”, tempers Adrien Communier.

The list of the five animated films nominated for the Oscars ceremony will be known on February 8, 2022.

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