In the 16th Century, the elephant Süleyman makes a long journey from Ceylon to Portugal, then walks the whole way from Lisbon to Vienna trough the Alps for five months. To be a living royal gift is not an easy job, where even death is not a peaceful end.

Short animated documentary film, 5`16“
written and directed by Ani Antonova
hand-drawn animation | pencil on paper
Aspect ratio: 2K Scope (2.39:1)
Sound: 5.1 surround sound

Screenwriter and director: Ani Antonova
Based on the historical research of Dr Annemarie Jordan Gschwend
Animation: Ani Antonova, Dimiter Ovtcharov
Animation Supervisor: Pedro Serrazina
Compositing: Dimiter Ovtcharov
Sound design: Valeria Popova
Producers: Omega Films
St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences (AT)
Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias (PT)
Distribution: sixpack film


With her documentary animation film The Outlander, Ani Antonova tells the tale of the long and arduous journey undertaken by Süleyman, Vienna´s first elephant. It was in the 16th century that the animal initially voyaged from Ceylon to Lisbon, before being sent on a month-long journey as a living royal gift to Vienna under Maximilian II.

Over 5,000 individually drawn images render the animal in relentless motion, sketching the strenuous path taken across the Alps by the adolescent Süleyman – named after the Osman Sultan and arch-enemy of the Habsburg monarchy – in the company of its courtly retinue. Ani Antonova interweaves historical sources into her film, including images from the time of this extraordinary procession. The voice-over explains, “Wherever they arrived, people were excited to see them.” It is accompanied by delicately precise tracings of portraits, frescoes and animated coin motifs that dissolve into one another and underline the widespread euphoria caused by the exotic creature whose taming was intended to represent the monarchy´s power. The Outlander is the sad migration story of a thick-skinned immigrant passed on from one ruling dynasty to another, as he involuntarily treks across Europe. With this 5-minute pencil-drawn animation film Ani Antonova sensitively translates an excerpt of Europe´s past into a thoughtful reflection upon our contemporary world. (Jana Koch)
Translation: Eve Heller


Award for Best Animation 2021
International Fine Arts Film Festival (2021, Santa Barbara, USA)

Jury’s Citation Award
The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival (2020, USA)

Award for short film, inspired by literary work
CineLibri – international book and movie festival (2020, Bulgaria)

Honorable Mention
ethnocineca International Documentary Film Festival (Vienna, Austria, 2020)

Audience Award
Under_The_Radar (Vienna, 2019, Austria)

Honorable Mention / Frame by Frame / Traditional Animation
Florida Animation Festival (USA), 2019

Audience Award Austrian Panorama
Tricky Women (Vienna, Austria), 2019

Best narrative animation &
Audience Award
2 Days Animation Festival (Vienna, AT), 2018



FILMFEST DRESDEN (Dresden, Germany, 2020)
Shortz Festival (Novi Sad, Serbia, 2020)
OUR FEST Festival Internacional de Animación Stop Motion (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2020)
The Thomas Edison Black Maria Film Festival (New Jersey, USA, 2020)
Palm Springs International Animation Festival (Palm Springs, California, USA, 2019)
CRAFT International Animation Festival (Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 2019)
PAF–Festival of Film Animation Olomouc (Olomouc, Czech Republic, 2019)
Anilogue International Animation Festival (Budapest, Hungary, 2019)
Porto/Post/Doc: Film & Media Festival (Porto, Portugal, 2019)
Animateka (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2019)
ReAnimania (Yerevan, Armenia, 2019)
ReAnima-Bergen International Animation Festival (Bergen, Norway, 2019)
BALKANIMA 2019 European Animated Film Festival (Belgrade, Serbia, 2019)
CINANIMA (Espinho, Portugal, 2019)
StopTrik International Film Festival (Maribor, Slovenia, 2019)
IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival (Varna, Bulgaria, 2019)
LINOLEUM International Contemporary Animation and Media Art Festival (Kyiv, Ukraine, 2019)
Warsaw animation festival (Warsaw, Poland, 2019)
Film Festival Kitzbüehel (Kitzbüehel, Austria, 2019)
Shortynale Filmfestival (Klosterneuburg, Austria, 2019)
Under_The_Radar (Vienna, Austria, 2019)
Florida Animation Festival (USA, 2019)
Anima Mundi Festival (São Paulo & Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2019)
FEST-New Directors / New Films (Espinho, Portugal, 2019)
VIS Vienna Shorts Festival (Vienna, Austria, 2019)
Athens ANIMFEST (Athens, Greece, 2019)
Silk Road International Film Festival (Dublin, Irland, 2019)
Ogeechee International History Film Festival (Statesboro, USA, 2019)
Rising of Lusitania – AnimaDoc Film Festival (Liverpool, UK, 2019)
2 Days Animation Festival (Vienna, Austria, 2018)


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