Congratulations on getting second place! I have to say that this film was right up my alley- I love mysterious, obtuse, surreal films and this was a doozy. You've got a great visual environment built here; the lens effects were stunning and your lighting really gave the confidant scenes a sense of detached warmth, like sitting next to a fireplace in the dark. The animation is all solid, some nice subtle movements in those closeups that I know are hard to pull off. I also really liked the machine shots. The constant shifting of the camera was disorienting in a way that fit the nature of the dream really well. Good work on the sound design too; it integrated with the rest of the film very nicely. Stylistically, I think this was the strongest film in the competition.
I do think there's a possible pitfall in making this sort of film, in that the quest for abstraction can sometimes leave the viewer in the cold wondering what the meaning of the film was. From a director's standpoint it can sometimes be tempting to make something so open-ended that the audience can take away whatever they want from it- not necessarily a bad thing but something I'm personally wary about when I'm writing stories because I myself tend to use it like a crutch. That said, if you had a vision in mind for the film and it meant something to you, that's really all that matters in the long run, in my opinion.
This was a beautiful movie and I'm genuinely looking forward to seeing what you come up up with in the future. Thanks for entering!