Mermaids and Rhinos

Mermaids and rhinos
Director: Viktória Traub
Producer: Polett Dus
2D Frame by frame animation
16 min.


The 10 years old Matilda’s surrealistic vision about her family: the ex-mermaid grandmother, the adventuress mother and a disappeared father with a rhino tattoo.


The ten-year-old Matilda lives near the harbour with her Grandmother, who long ago was a world famous circus diva as a mermaid. A highly anticipated afternoon they are waiting for the Mother in the port, who has entrusted Matilda to the Grandmother, because she went on an onset of tour by a luxury liner. Nobody knows that right then the Father makes port by another ship. The unexpected twist makes everything topsy-turvy, but through a multitude of tangles Matilda finds a loving family.


2019 Royal Reel Winner – Canada International Film Festival
2019 Best Animation of 2018 – Association of Hungarian Film Critics
2018 Best Short Film – Exground Film Festival, Germany
2018 Best Animation – Arthouse India
2018 Silver Medal, Fine Art Films Category – Alexandre Trauner Film Festival
2018 Special Mention – Tofuzi, Georgia
2018 Best Animation – Veracruze Short Film Festival, Mexico
2018 Best Animation – Banglore Short Film Festival, India
2018 Best Animation – California Women’s Film Festival, USA

Description of the main story and poetics
Since the Mother had stepped off the circus with Matilda, the Grandmother and the Magician, the Father has been meandering from port to port working as a ship decor sculptor always hoping that he’d meet again her daughter. One day at the fishwife’s queue just in front of Matilda a man with a rhinoceros tattoo on his arm takes away a fried fish stringed on a rod. As she looks up on the man, a figure uncovers the resigning Father. She doesn’t know that he’s her Father.
Later at home when she sits in the window to snoop around street life, a rhinoceros shadow sweeps by. She runs down the staircase to search for the shadow. The Grandmother gets flurried and puts on her mermaid costume after she finds out in the news that the cruise ship had merged in the sea with the Mother. When Matilda returns she is already asleep with an old family photo in her hand showing the Father with a rhinoceros tattoo on his arm just like the one she saw by the fishwife’s.
At early dawn the Father jumps in the waters from the ship following the tempting voice of a mermaid. In the morning Matilda is throwing gravels in the water when the ’rhinoceros’ arm appears above the waves…
The Grandmother in her mermaid costume is sitting on the forecastle deck, the Father is on the last lab of his mermaid sculpture and Matilda is rushing about…
The chosen frame-by-frame digital drawn animation technique is appropriate for the imagery of smooth motion, metamorphoses and original subjective point of views.

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