A total of 15 works have been selected from an incredible 1,582 entries across 103 different countries. Hailing from all over the world, the submissions showcased a unique variety of voices, themes and stories. This year's selection continues Cartoons Underground's (CU) mission of championing independent animated short films that challenge the medium's boundaries, experiment with new storytelling approaches, and tell personal stories that tug at the heartstrings.

In the International Selection, we are glad to have Jorn Leeuwerink return to the festival with his film "PIG", after his film "FLOWER FOUND!" screened at CU 2018. In addition, we have films like "Two Gracious Uncles Smooched to the Beat", a playful dream (or nightmare?) about art in the age of AI, and "Teacup", which crafts a poignant and true story of one man's efforts to intervene in many suicide attempts at the Gap in Australia. The Asian stories in the selection are strong and distinctive - with "Braided", which integrates beautifully drawn animation with tracing paper to create a sensitive and textural vignette of a mother-daughter relationship. Meanwhile, "The Square City" shows us a new, surreal vision of Hong Kong through the imaginative eyes of a child.

Lastly, 3 student films from LASALLE College of the Arts and Nanyang Technological University (NTU), will compete for the Best Singapore Student Animation award. The chosen films showcase a breadth of storytelling approaches - from a energetic, psychedelic, abstract dream in "Albert", to a heartfelt portrayal of a mother-son relationship in "Cloudy", to an evocative conversation between two old men in "Goodbye Old Fish" These films demonstrate the bright and promising voices of the next generation of Singapore animation.

Viewing Advisory

Official Selection Programme | 14 Animated Short Films

93 mins | Rating TBC (Expected to be NC16)


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Braided (缠)

Chenxi Zhang (USA/China)

- International Competition - 


My mother cut off the carefully braided hair she had done for me, but the profound attachment between us and the female growth cannot be severed.


Chenxi Zhang is a Chinese independent animation artist, explores the delicate emotions and subtle contradictions in human relationships through hand-drawn animation, seamlessly integrating material experimentation to elevate the narrative and create captivating visual experiences. Her works capture the unspoken intricacies between individuals, unveiling a realm of unexpressed sentiments.


Jorn Leeuwerink (Netherlands)

- International Competition - 


A big group of animals makes itself dependent on a power grid, hooked onto the socket-shaped snout of a single sleeping pig...


Jorn Leeuwerink (19th of July, 1990, Wormer, NETHERLANDS) tells seemingly sweet fables about serious themes, with dark humor and a playful visual style. His graduation short 'Flower Found!' was included in the prestigious Animation Show of Shows, selected for 70+ festivals (a.o. Annecy, Zagreb and Hiroshima) and won 17 prizes. ‘Pig’ marks his professional debut. Besides directing animation, he co-founded and curates the annual Fluxus Animation Festival.

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Conor Kehelly (Ireland)

- International Competition - 


A mother and son are stuck. A father is obsessing over a plank of wood in his living room. A businessman is looking for a lost hammer.


I am an Irish animator currently working as a motion designer and illustrator in London. I studied animation at the Manchester school of Art, graduating with a first class honours. My work tends to focus on the chaos and painful irony that floats around our day-to-day lives as we try to make sense of the violent and unpredictable interactions we have with each other.

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The Leak

Paola Cubillos (Belgium)

- International Competition - 


The tranquility in a woman's apartment is imperiled by the emergence of a water leak. The drops fall as a reminder of the unspoken memories that have long been suppressed. The incessant dripping becomes a portal to another space-time, where vivid echoes of a burning tree come to bridge the gap between forgotten childhood emotions and the woman's current reality. As the water leak continues to create ripples in the woman's once-quiet existence, she learns that some echoes cannot be silenced.


Paola Cubillos is a Colombian-born Belgian film director and visual artist. After graduating from Laws with a minor in psychology, she enrolled in the Animation film section of the Audiovisual Arts department from the KASK in Ghent, Belgium. She graduated with her short film, The Leak, a project about the cohabitation between the present and the past and the acknowledgement of the self.

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The Square City

Ruth Lam, On Wa Chow, Ka Lok Liu (Hong Kong)

- International Competition -


A cramped environment with all kinds of restrictions shapes Hong Kong into a square city. Perhaps life is impoverished, oppressive, and the actuality is being difficult to change. Yet, Bong hasn't lost his imagination of birds soaring high in the sky, and has still retained his longing for wonderful things.


THREE STUDIO consists of three post-90s generation animators. We studied BA (HONS) DIGITAL MEDIA at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and graduated in 2019. During that period, we have created different animations together.


Two Gracious Uncles Smooched To The Beat

Jon Dunleavy (United Kingdom)

- International Competition -


The A.I. was about to make some art. The capitalist came sniffing. The human Artist must confront their inner most fears.


Jon Dunleavy is a British animation director, working in short film in a range of genres and techniques and always playing with conventions and technology within his character driven narratives. Jon's films have travelled the world through festival exhibition including Annecy and Pictoplasma and won awards at prestigious events including Cannes and the British Animation Awards.



Alec Green, Finbar Watson (Australia)

- International Competition -


For almost half a century, Don Ritchie would approach people contemplating suicide at the edge of a cliff, just 100 feet from his home.


Alec Green (1999, studying at AFTRS, BA of Screen: Production) and Finbar Watson (1999, studying at UNSW, BA in Film Production and Law) are young Australian filmmakers passionate about creating content that spotlights global issues.
Teacups is their first film.
They are committed to making sure Don's story is told with care.

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Balcony Cacophony

Quentin Haberham (Netherlands)

- International Competition -


When a rich lady with a passion for topiary must swap her mansion for a tiny council flat, she finds it difficult to cope with her strange neighbour.


Quentin Haberham is fascinated by characters and their idiosyncrasies and enjoys engaging with them through story and animation. He works in both CG and Stop Motion animation and recently directed the short films Bristles (2021) and Balcony Cacophony (2022).



Daria Volchok (Russia)

- International Competition -


The story of the difference in the perception of time. The main character is rushing forward while the crowd is frozen waiting for the green traffic light.



- St. Petersburg College of Technology, Modeling and Management.
- School-studio “SHAR” animation course (2017-2018)
- Courses for directors of the SMF animation studio (2021-2023)


- Educational work "WEDNESDAY" director, artist, animator (2018)
- The film "UNDEAD" director, artist, animator (2019)
- The series "LADUSHKI" director (2022)
film "Crosswalk", director (2023)

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In His Mercy (In Seiner Gnade)

Christoph Büttner (Germany)

- International Competition -


A convicted criminal is tempted into a hell of a ride through darkness by signs of grace.


Christoph Büttner, born in far East Germany in 1986, graduated from Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF in 2021. Demonstrating his focus on adult animation his first short In His Mercy is also exemplary for his special interest: achieving analog styles with digital means. He currently lives with his wife and kids in Schwerin, Northern Germany – working on his new animated short as animator and filmmaker.

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The Awakening of Insects (惊蛰)

Xiaoqiong Zhang (United States)

- International Competition -


When spring is coming, cute and silly characters wake up from their winter sleep and celebrate the awakening in their unique ways.


Chiung Xiaoqiong Zhang is a Chinese animation director based in New York. She graduated from the MFA Computer Arts at SVA, where she directed her recent animation, 'The Awakening of Insects.'

Chiung loves finding humorous scenes from daily life and including them in her artwork. By combining vibrant colors with loose shapes, she creates cute, sweet, and silly characters and inserts them into funny and awkward situations. 3x3 International Illustration and Society of Illustrators have awarded Chiung for her animations.

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Adeline Yi Lin Teo, Alex Yin Hao Sng (Singapore)

- Singapore Student Competition -


Capturing life through the lens of a dream, Albert explores the evocation of the subconscious mind through the vivid visualism and dynamism of images.


Born in Singapore, Adeline Teo and Alex Sng recently graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Animation Art from LASALLE College of the Arts. In her journey of filmmaking, Adeline prefers to keep it fun by exploring different genres and styles. She believes that when she enjoys what she makes, her audience will enjoy it too.

For Alex, part of his love for filmmaking is the ability to tell stories, invoke thoughts and sharing them with the world.



Joshua Pereira, Renee Teoh, Ryan Lee (Singapore)

- Singapore Student Competition -


While avoiding a conversation with his mum, Elliot encounters a peculiar little creature!


Joshua, Ryan and Renee are Singaporean animators as well as recent graduates from NTU School of Art, Design and Media with a BFA in Animation. Together, they aspire to tell whimsical tales that aim to entertain and delight their audiences!


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Goodbye Old Fish

Cheu Li Qing Grace, Ben Tan Kai Xiang (Singapore) 

- Singapore Student Competition -


As two old men fish by the jetty, they begin to remember their kampong days.


Ben and Grace are BFA students from NTU ADM specialising in character animation. They aspire to tell personal stories that feel intimate and genuine and enjoy exploring new visual styles that are unique to each story.


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Showrunner, Director & Writer, Omens Studios

Sacha Goedegebure, an award-winning Blender enthusiast, is currently showrunner at Omens Studios in Singapore.

Sacha started his 3d animation career as writer and director of Big Buck Bunny, the first open movie created in the Blender Studio. Since 2011, Sacha has been rocking it at Omens Studios as writer, director and showrunner, working passionately on several short films and edutainment series like Counting with Paula, Leo the Wildlife Ranger, and 123 Number Squad!

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Co-founder & Creative Director, Masonry Studios

Ronald is a CGI animation director and educator in the creative industry. Having initially established his career as a technically-driven 3D animator, Ronald underwent a significant transition, embracing the realms of conceptualization, storyboarding, and pitching as a story artist for a prominent children’s show at One Animation.

He eventually founded Masonry Studios, a venture dedicated to producing exceptional CGI advertisements, films, and music videos.

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Animation Filmmaker

Calleen Koh is a BAFTA-nominated animation filmmaker and artist from Singapore. She is currently taking her Masters at California Institute of the Arts under the Experimental Animation MFA Programme. She has a love for the cute, the chaotic, and the dark side of it all in her works.

Her films have been screened in notable festivals around the world such as Annecy International Animation Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival, Kaboom Animation Festival, Stuttgart Trickfilm International Animated Film Festival, Seoul Indie-Anifest, and more.

Her student film "To Kill The Birds and The Bees" won the Singapore Student Best Film award at Cartoons Underground 2022.

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