Cinda Real

A story about a girl with only one leg and a desire to dance, “only to dance”.

Cinda Real is a short animated film for children that offers a new perspective on the well-known Cinderella story, teaching them empathy, love, and understanding. It is the first in a series of six Twisted Tales reinterpreting some of the world’s most famous fairy tales, bringing elements of stigma and disability into the narrative and adapting familiar protagonists to modern times and themes.

In this remake of Cinderella, Cinda is a young girl facing a physical disability – she has only one leg. Despite her disability, she cheerfully makes her way through everyday life with the help of crutches, not letting anyone or anything shake her.

However, she is aware of her disability and seems to accept, in a way, that she will always be stigmatised because of it. Until one day, the Royal Palace announces a royal ball and Cinda’s desire to dance forces her to stand up for herself, and with the help of the mentor character of the Fairy Godmother, Cinda will finally be able to fulfill her needs and dance without the aid of crutches. Her rejection of the Prince’s hand is the final element of Cinda’s maturation and initiation, for she needs no one and is finally master of her destiny, no longer stigmatised.



The artistic process of creating the film started with a series of workshops in which children created illustrations, sound, and animation based on the story they were listening to. Children of different age groups, from 2 to 12 years old, became co-authors of the project and thus storytellers. The workshops in which the children participated were enriched with didactic games to improve focus, participation and the ability to work in a group. The main objective of this approach was to develop creativity through co-creation – either on a visual level through drawing or on a narrative level through storytelling. At the same time, both interactive experiences aim to educate and interest the audience.

After the workshops, the illustrations, sound, and animations were filtered and used as a basis for the artistic creation of the project, giving it a childlike touch and inspiring us to imagine the aesthetics of the environment and the characters based on the audience’s suggestions.

The teaching method developed for the film by director Sara Božanić and social worker Nina Cigut, who specialises in working with children with behavioural problems, won the prestigious SozialMarie Award for Social Innovation (2019).

The SozialMarie is the oldest social innovation prize in Europe and rewards projects offering innovative responses to pressing societal challenges.


For this 17-minute long animated film, Cinda Real, we explored a new aesthetic by combining 2D animation with stop-motion animation of real objects, props, and sets created by children. The animation is designed to be as smooth and natural as possible, mimicking real-life movements and gestures. The story focuses on a female character, so dynamic bright colours and playful patterns from children’s drawings are used for the characters, giving the animation a childlike feel. The environment, house, castle and dusty roads have slightly saturated colours and are in line with the emotional state of the character (sad, humiliated, devastated, despairing). As we move through the animated story, we have the feeling of being pulled into a real-time film where the camera follows the character the entire way. The backgrounds are stop-animated in a subtle way, allowing us to use the “glitches/unpredictable light” to our advantage. The characters are 2D, drawn and animated by hand to bring the viewer closer to the emotions felt by our main character, from sadness, through self-motivation to ultimate happiness.

For the sound, we explore a new approach to real-world sound combined with DIY sounds, making the cartoon a contemporary achievement. The voices of the main characters – Cinda, the half-sister, and the prince – were lent by the children co-authoring the project. The adult characters of the fairy, the father, and the stepmother were voiced by professional actors.


Cinda Real is currently on a festival tour. Check future dates and catch a screening in a city near you.

Twisted Tales

The Twisted Tales transmedia project, of which Cinda Real is also a part, was presented at Cartoon Connection in Quebec, Canada in October 2018, at Kids Regio Berlinale in Berlin, Germany in February 2019, as well as at the Warsaw Kids Forum, as well as the Financing Forum for Kids Content in Malmo, Sweden in March 2019, where it received the EAVE (European Audiovisual Entrepreneur Award).

“Providing young children with the opportunity to understand and explore social stigmas such as disability is hugely important and Cinda Real offers an imaginative and unique way in which to do this. There are certain animation projects that deserve to be made and then there are projects that need to be made. Cinda Real is the kind of project that not only deserves to be made, but needs to be made – for children everywhere.”

John Lomas-Bullivant (Chairman, Cartoon 360)