The short film did not win the gold statue, however, it has already won more than 130 awards, was shown in more than 300 festivals and was the target of an unprecedented screening operation on the Portuguese commercial circuit.

In accordance with accounts from the Cinema and Audiovisual Institute (ICA), “Ice Merchants” was the fourth most watched Portuguese film in cinemas this year, with 13,944 spectators. Adding up all the locations and festivals where it was shown, João Gonzalez’s film surpassed 255 thousand spectators.

In October, when preparing the Festa da Animação, the director of Casa da Animação, Regina Machado said “we are in our best year, from now on it will continue”.

“Gaining respect form the public was very important and for the public to realise that animated cinema is not just for children and that takes us out there in a way that almost no other format takes us”, she added.

The ICA indicates that almost 60 animated film works are currently in progress, in different stages of production, including feature films, short films and series.

100 years of cinema

This year marked one hundred years since the emergence of animated cinema in Portugal.

The date is counted from the premiere on January 25, 1923 at Éden-Teatro, in Lisbon, of “The Nightmare of António Maria”, a small animated film, by Joaquim Guerreiro, in a satire on the politician António Maria Silva, of the First Republic.

One hundred years later, Portuguese animation is experiencing a moment of exponential growth” that Portugal must take advantage of to reach large-scale levels, as director José Miguel Ribeiro told the Lusa agency, when “Nayola” premiered in April.

“If the Ministry of Economy invests in the footwear and textile industry, why doesn’t it invest in the animation industry?” he questioned.

Bruno Caetano, producer of “Ice Merchants”, was left overjoyed and left questioning when the film was nominated for the Oscars: “Portuguese animation is at the top of the world! There are few countries that have animated films that have won so many awards at so many first-class festivals. It requires a lot of effort.”

In 2024, Portugal will be the featured country in June at the Annecy Festival, France, one of the most important for animated cinema and where several projects will be presented.