VIRTUOSO VIRTUAL is an emotional music visualisation. Flowing ink goes on an exciting and poetic journey through the music. It is based on the overture of the opera DER ALCHYMIST by Louis Spohr (1784-1859).
This experimental film, directed by the drawing artist Maja Oschmann and I, got 43 international film awards.
Abstract hand-crafted ink drawings emerge and take on characteristics and moods of the music. They accompany the music and narrate a story that appears to be laid out in the melodies and rhythms. The interplay of timid encounters and dynamic pursuits, the agile lightness and confrontation, awakens a multitude of associations.
The overture inspired Maja and me to a narrative interpretation of the music. We combined our different artistic experiences of storytelling and expressive drawings to music. Together we developed new animation techniques and created our own visual language.
Our leading ‘character’ is based on a black ink stroke. It waves, jumps, fades and surges, synchronised to the music, through an abstract environment. The threshold between the figurative and non-figurative allows a wide range of associations and emotions to form, such as curiosity, joy, anger or threat. In a world of black and white the simple stroke mesmerises the viewer and takes him on a journey through the music of VIRTUOSO VIRTUAL.
direction, producer, project idea, storyline, compositing, technical direction, stereoscopy, ink animation
direction, drawing, storyboard, image choreography, film layout, ink animation
Maja Oschmann (*1975) is an artist living in Kassel, Germany. Many of her projects focus on the relationship between drawing and music.
composer: Louis Spohr (1784 – 1859)
excerpt from the overture of the opera “DER ALCHYMIST”
performed by Broadcast Symphony Orchestra Berlin, conductor Christian Fröhlich
with kind permission of Cpo – Classic Production Osnabrück
music at the end credits
composer: TILL MERTENS
violinist: SUSANNE HERMANN
The premiere of VIRTUOSO VIRTUAL was during the anniversary celebration of ‘1100 Years of Kassel” in the congress palace attended by 2000 guests in February 18th, 2013. The film music was performed live by the State Orchestra of Kassel, conducted by Helmut Imig. Imig also composed a postlude for the performance. The major of our city granted us the first award for the film, named the ‘Fulle Oscar’.
Award for the Best Art, 10th NAFF International Animation Festival 2015, Neum, Bosnia and Herzegowina
Best Film, 9th Tehran International Animation Festival, Iran
Best Experimental Film, 13th Miami Short Film Festival 2014, USA
Audience Award and Special Mention by the Jury, Anima’zik – Musical Animated Film festival 2014, Begles, France
Jury Award: Best Animation and Audience Award: Best Animation, Short Sharp Film Festival 2014, Coffs Harbour, Australia
Best Animation Film, Frozen Film Festival 2014, San Francisco, USA
Special Mention of the children jury , 24th World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2014 / Films for Children Competition Program, Croatia
Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Award (Jury rating: 46 points of 50), Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Foundation 2014, Wiesbaden, Germany
Special Mention, 24th Filmkunstfest M-V 2014, Schwerin, Germany
Best Animation Film, On Location: MEMPHIS int’l film & music fest 2014, USA
Category Maxi: Special Mention, VAFI – Children and Youth Animation Film Festival Varaždin 2014, Hungary
Jury award and audience choice: Best Experimental, 47th Humboldt Film Festival 2014, Arcata, USA
Best of Fest (amongst 13 other films), 56th Rochester International Film Festival 2014, USA
Special Award, Visual Music Award 2014, Gelnhausen (birthplace of the brothers Fischinger), Germany
The Special Award isn’t granted every year. It honores particular outstanding films, which matches the original idea of visual music in the sense of Oscar Fischinger.
Special Art Jury Award and Special Museum Award
3rd Festival Erarta MOTION PICTURES 2014, Sankt Petersburg, Russia
Jury statement: For organising the chaos. A film that Jackson Pollock should have seen if he could and for originality in synthesising the arts.
Honorable Mention in the Experimental Film Category, Fargo Film Festival 2014, Fargo, USA
Best Animation Film, Washington DC Independent Film Festival 2014, USA
Audience Award, Best Animation Film, San Francisco IndieFest 2014, USA
Hoka Award for Best Experimental Short, Oxford Film Festival 2014, USA
Jury’s Citation Award – 2nd Prize, 33rd Black Maria Film and Video Festival 2014, Jersey City, USA
Special Mention, Spring 2014 New Jersey Film Festival, USA
Audience Award for Best Short Film in the Category Curiosities, 23rd “Les Nuits Magiques” International Animated Film Festival 2013, Bègles, France
Best 3D Animation, 3D Film & Music Fest Barcelona 2013, Spain
First Place, Three Rivers Film Festival 2013, Pittsburg, USA
1st Audience Award for Best German Short Film, exground filmfest 2013, Wiesbaden, Germany
Mention du Jury Brossolette, The International Short Film Festival 2013, Villeurbanne, France
Best Animation/Experimental, 9th Riversedge International Film Festival 2013, Paducah, Kentucky, USA
Best Animated Short, 36th Starz Denver Film Festival 2013, USA
The jury for the 5th annual ASIFA-Colorado Best Animated Short Award was presented a selection of wonderful animated films to choose from for its prize this year. Yet from the moment it starts, until the last note is played, this mesmerizing film meshes music, timing, and choreography in a beautiful dance of ink-on-paper. The jury was compelled to select “Virtuos Virtuell” directed by Thomas Stellmach and Maja Oschmann of Germany for ASIFA-Colorado’s Best Animated Short Award.
Best Experimental Film, Route 66 Film Festival 2013, Springfield, USA
Opening Film and Special Mention, 56th International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film 2013, Germany
Jury statement: For its dynamic use of non narrative animation perfectly fused with the music.
2nd Place audience choice, International Animation Weekend Wiesbaden 2013, Germany, (Information from a festival member, it’s not an award)
Best Experimental Film, 24th New Orleans Film Festival 2013, USA
2nd Place audience choice, 10th Filmfest Eberswalde 2013, Germany
(Information from a festival member, it’s not an award)
Best Experimental Film, Festival TOFUZI 2013, Tbilisi, Georgia
Best Experimental/Abstract Film, Ottawa International Animation Festival 2013, Canada
part of ‘Best of Encounters’ – Reel, 19th Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival 2013, Bristol, UK
Best Experimental Film, 9th BuSho International Short Film Festival 2013, Budapest, Hungary
Best of Fest, Fandana Musik & Arts Festival 2013, Huntington, USA
VIRTUOSO VIRTUAL was initiated and supported by the International Louis Spohr Society, which is responsible for the Louis Spohr Museum in Kassel. The film was produced for the exhibition to display it in the museum on an auto-stereoscopic monitor in stereoscopy. The museum focuses on versatile experiences and activation of all senses.
The film also offers deaf visitors the opportunity to experience the visual translation of a piece of music.
A special exhibition ‘Making of Virtuos Virtuell’ at the Spohr Museum Kassel in 2012 took place during the art exhibition ’documenta 13’. 58000 visitors of the exhibition have seen the unfinished film in our exhibition coincidentally. Some of them have left a note in our guest book, like: … this is the best of the ’documenta’. But our film wasn’t part of it.
Another exhibition was at the German Film Museum in Frankfurt in 2014 / 2015.
Get more information about our audiovisual exhibition.
VIRTUOSO VIRTUAL is included in educational programs offered by German and international institutions as following:
Cinemini-Europe in association with:
Eye Filmmuseum, Netherland
Kinodvor Cinema Ljubljana, Slowenia
European Children’s Film Association, Belgium
Serralves Foundation, Portugal
Mitmachkino 2022, German Film Quality Assessment Board (FBW)
Suitable for ages 0+
Voluntary Self-Regulation Organization of the German Film Industry (FSK)
Hessian Museum Association e.V. / Hessian Ministry for Science and Art
The German State Film Funding – FFA
The Hessian Film Funding
German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media
Stadt Kassel, Cultural Office
Germany’s national film funding institution
Landgraf Moritz Stiftung
United Residential Cities eG 1889
and private sponsorship
VIRTUOSO VIRTUAL was shown at 180 international film festivals.
International Animation Film Festival Stuttgart 2013, Germany
Edinburgh international film festival 2013, UK
Artisan Festival International 2013 , Cannes (World Peace Initiative) France/USA
Animateka International Animated Film Festival 2013, Ljubljana, Slovenia
(Elephant international children competition programme)
Anima Mundi 2013, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Dublin International Short Film And Music Festival 2013, Ireland
International Animation Film Festival Stuttgart 2014, Germany
(part of special program: ‘Best of 10 Years’ and ‘Abstract Films’)
Annecy, International Animation Film Festival 2014, France
Hiroshima International Animation Festival 2014, Japan
International Animated Film Festival ANIMATOR 2014, Poznan, Poland
Goldener Spatz 2014 – German Media Festival for Children, Gera/Erfurt, Germany
TAAF – Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2015, Japan
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to book this film:
Thomas Stellmach and Maja Oschmann
Thomas Stellmach Animation, 2010 - 2013
Overture of the opera DER ALCHYMIST by Louis Spohr (1784-1859). Music of the end credits: Till Mertens
Motion capture of the digital ink stroke and film clips of flowing ink on paper and in water composited in After Effects for the stereoscopic version in 3D.
mp4 1080p stereo 24fps, 25fps, 29,97fps, 50fps
DCP 2K 24fps, 48fps, 2D and stereoscopic