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"Only Love" animated short film

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"Only Love" animated short film

Postby LevPO » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:35 pm

Hi Animation Nation,

My name's Lev and I directed a 2d animated short called "Only Love" in 3rd year of SVA (School of Visual Arts) 2008.


After playing the festival circuit, it is now playing on Babelgum as part of their "Animatron" competition.

If you like the film, you can share it with friends and cast a vote by clicking the "thumbs up" button below the screenshot. (you do not need to register to vote, and can vote once per day)

The competition lasts until October 10th, so wish me luck!

-Lev Polyakov






Only love is a tragicomedy about a malevolent dictator and a rebel who tries to assassinate him.


All the while, the dictator keep having nightmares where the people he tortures and executes come back to haunt him. Though the dictator tries everything in his power to stop him, the rebel keeps coming back for more, until the dictator must make a decision that will get rid of the rebel for good.



I directed, storyboarded, and designed this film, also doing a bit of animation. I got to work with an incredible animator named Ivan Boivin, and as far as the rest of the crew, I have AWN to thank. Using the job postings thing, I was able to get together a wonderful crew to in a short amount of time.

While I live in Brooklyn, the entire crew never saw each other and lived in different parts all around the world, but we communicated with each other by chats and emails, and put files on the FTP server to get the movie made.

The music was done by a very talented composer named Lev (no relation) Zhurbin. Here's his website:

As far as the backgrounds go, my dad and I painted them and scanned them in. The animation was all done in flash.



"Remember this name: Lev Polyakov. The young Russian-American animator, who just graduated from the School of Visual Arts, will rattle your defenses and make you question what you thought you knew - all from a bunch of drawings jumping around"
--Ellis Henican, (NEWSDAY)

"Only Love,” directed by School of Visual Arts student Lev Polyakov, uses a delightful 2-D visual approach to tell the darkly humorous, virtually wordless account of a dictator combating the ghosts of his past misdeeds. Wielding a style reminiscent of Bill Plympton—but packed with far richer metaphor—Polyakov proves the ongoing versatility of the 2-D format and announces his arrival as a fresh talent in the animation scene."

----Eric Kohn, IndieWire

"Another standout at the fest was “Only Love“, an animated short that breathes new life into 2D animation and is directed with gusto by Lev Polyakov. The film tells the story of a foreign dictator coming to grips with his own mortality and facing the demons of his past. Merging Russian archetypes and surrealist imagery, this jewel highlights a maturity that makes it exceptional."

--InsideReel (on the Palm Beach Film Festival)

"Somewhere between Kill Bill and The Animaniacs, “Only Love” finishes with an ambivalent resolution to a 20th-century fairy tale, in which authoritarianism slides into celebrity, and even political prisoners live happily ever after"
Tassled Iron Curtain Factor: 5/5

--The College Hill Independent


• 2009 Ivy Film Festival (Best Animation)
• 2009 New Strand Film Festival (Student Visionary Award)
• 2009 Kent Film Festival (Best Animation)
• 2009 Purple Violet Student Film Festival (Best Animation)
• 2008 Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival (Best Student Animation)
• 2009 Long Island International Film Expo (Best Original Score)

• 2008 Woodstock Film Festival, USA (World Premier)
• 2008 Philadelphia Film-A-Thon, Project Twenty1 Film Festival, USA
• 2008 Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema (Canada Premier)
• 2009 Palm Beach International Film Festival
• 2009 Spokane International Film Festival
• 2009 Riverside International Film Festival
• 2009 Flickerings Film Showcase
• 2009 Treasure Coast International Film Festival
• 2009 MOTION Film Festival
• 2009 Delray Beach Film Festival
• 2009 Artsfest Film Festival
• 2009 Woods Hole Film Festival
• 2009 SSG Summer Shorts Fest
• 2009 Reno Film Festival
• 2009 The 9th Tel Aviv Animation Festival
• 2009 CrankCookieShortfilmdays, Germany
• 2009 Southern Winds Film Festival
• 2009 GIAA Festival of Short Films and Videos
• 2009 California International Animation Festival
• 2009 St. Louis International Film Festival
• 2009 Great Lakes Independent Film Festival.
• 2009 Northern Wave Film Festival.
• 2010 Williamsburg Film Festival.
• 2010 First Step Film Festival.
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Re: "Only Love" animated short film

Postby Charles » Tue Oct 05, 2010 9:45 am

That's inspiring. Thanks for bringing the news about your film to the forums. There's a lot of lively animation there, plus the film festival circuit that it's been on is very impressive. I'm also impressed by the way you assembled your crew through AWN's job board. It's the way of the future, and "Only Love" is a model for this kind of approach to production. Congratulations to you Lev.

Daily Z

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Re: "Only Love" animated short film

Postby Charles » Tue Oct 05, 2010 11:11 am

I'd like to ask what kind of arrangements you made with the artists that you staffed on the production. Did you have a budget from which to pay them? Did you cut them in on the equity of the film? Any information that you can share with us along these lines would be helpful as I know of several people who are looking to set up something along the lines of what you've done.

Daily Z

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Re: "Only Love" animated short film

Postby EAllen » Thu Oct 07, 2010 6:57 pm

I'm quite excited about this film, Only Love. It is impressive, from all standpoints, both visually and narratively.

I wish you and the film all the success that's possible, Lev!
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Location: Oxnard, CA USA

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