What does it mean to win an Oscar?

The Beauty


Pascal Schelbli and his team succeeded in what many filmmakers dream of. His diploma film in visual effects won the Student Academy Award in the animation category in 2020.

The Beauty tells with an impressive imagery and poetic language about the pollution of the world's oceans by plastic waste. The Animationsinstitut alumnus, who now lives back in Zurich, told us how the award has affected his work and what projects are currently in the pipeline.


Interview with Pascal Schelbli


Dear Pascal, how has the student Oscar changed your life?

It's true that for us, the Oscars unfortunately lost some of its color because of Corona, since we couldn't be on site in Los Angeles and the winners were announced in Zoom calls. Nevertheless, the Academy made an effort to offer us the same opportunities as in other years. For example, they organized online meetings where we could introduce ourselves to big production companies or brought us together with established directors of animated films. I was surprised by the interest the award received in Europe. Whether it's television or newspapers, so many people have knocked on my door as a result, which of course makes you better known.


Do you get many offers from the States now?

There has been a lot of interest. However, I made it clear early on that I wanted to stay in Europe, which meant that some of the offers were cancelled. I also canceled one project because I simply wasn't convinced about the content.


Why Europe instead of the USA?

L.A. is considered a kind of "swamp" in which you can easily sink. I have friends who work there and in the end I decided against it. I thought I'd rather do projects in Europe, where maybe the budget is smaller, but the freedoms are greater. In terms of film funding, fortunately the Oscar also makes things possible here, because you're no longer a blank slate.


What can we expect from you in the future? Will a certain political activism play a role in your films, as in The Beauty?

It's no secret that I'm pretty green-minded. However, I don't see myself one hundred percent as a political filmmaker, at least not in the forefront. I just finished commercials for a guitar manufacturer, so that's rather far from it. I have a few ideas for short films I want to make that are in the early stages right now. A dream would be a feature film at some point, we'll see.


Learn more about Pascal and his work here.


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