Award Winner in 2020/2021:
Jan Balej

Award Committee:

Your version of the fairy tale about the little mermaid makes a magnificent impression in its modern setting where you on the one hand combine a deepfelt humanism that corresponds exactly with H.C. Andersen’s view of man as individual and significant in his own right and, on the other hand man’s close association with the natural world. Or as shown by you in the movie: a nature that is just not self-evident. Quite radically you send the whole ocean family ashore because we, who already live here, have made the sea uninhabitable. It is precisely in this context that the mermaid’s impossible love appears all the more powerful because it is set in a socially alienated – and socially harsh – environment.

Although ”Lille fra fiskebutikken” (in English ”Little from the Fish Shop”) does not use Andersen’s religious  understanding of immortality, the movie and its sad ending is completely in line with belief shown in the original fairy tale  that love and hope really do exist and that it also makes life meaningful in an eternal perspective and that the experience of happiness cannot be measured.

Jan Balej, Tjekkiet
for his animated film ”Little from the Fish Shop” (2015).