12-minute Pinoy animated short bags over 12 int’l awards

Tella, a Filipino animated short film about a mysterious girl and a misplaced star, has earned multiple recognitions at various film festivals across the globe.

The 12-minute piece follows a sleeping girl who is awakened by a fallen star. The celestial body wishes to return to the night sky.

It was written and directed by Filipino animator Zachary Conlu, who honed his skills in the Animation program of De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

He said he created a magical world where Tella can play carefree: “I had Tella in my head since college days. She was always lingering, appearing in the doodles I made during class, finding her way on my notebooks, sketchbooks and papers I could get my hands on.

Zachary Conlu, the animator, writer and director of ‘Tella.’

“But strange as it may seem, I never really knew who or what she was.

“The story grew in my head till it became an epic — different characters sprang up and Tella became nothing more than this side character.”

Time came to finally put his thoughts into something concrete, turn the spotlight on Tella and make her story come alive through a movie.

“I would like to achieve a sense of escapism — go to new worlds, make new friends, meet some heroes and perhaps fall in love. Then return to the real world, bringing all these new wonders along. That way, maybe make life a bit more bearable,” Conlu explained.

“That’s one of the best feelings — to find out that people watched Tella and it helped them forget their problems even for for a little while.”

In collaboration with fellow Benildeans Pauline Jan Villanueva, who composed the musical score, and Anthony Tobias, who conceived the sound design, Conlu’s Tella won the hearts of many viewers overseas.

Anthony Tobias, ‘Tella’ sound designer.

It bagged Best Soundtrack at the Reale Film Festival and Best Original Score at the Vesuvius International Film Festival, both in Italy.

Tella likewise won Best Original Score, Best Animation and Audience Choice at the Feel the Reel International Film Festival in the United Kingdom.

It was adjudged Best Sound Design at the International Cosmopolitan Film Festival in Japan.

Pauline Jan Villanueva,
‘Tella’ musical scorer.

Villanueva was also hailed Best Composer at the Toronto Indie Shorts in Canada.

It was picked Best Animation at the Spark Animation and Around International Barcelona, and the Kalakari Film Festival in India.

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