'Moot Moot' wins TV production award

Nina Paley’s feminist musical “Sita Sings the Blues” and Bill Plympton’s blackly comic redemption tale “Idiots & Angels” pulled off a triumphant double at the 32nd Annecy Animated Film Festival, winning best pic and a special mention, respectively.

Prizes were announced Saturday at the French Alps-set Annecy, by far the biggest and most prestigious animation fest in Europe.

While crowning U.S. animation, the double win can also be regarded as a thumbs-up from the features jury for classic, 2-D animation made with a sardonic punch and aimed at an adult aud.

One of Annecy’s three features jury members was “The Simpsons” originator Matt Groening.

Acquired by The Weinstein Co. for distribution in North America, Hayo Freitag’s tyke-targeted Teutonic toon “The Three Robbers,” from Germany’s Animation X, took the aud nod.

In Annecy’s television plaudits, France’s Francois Reczulski took TV production for “Enfer de la mode,” a seg from 3-D TV series “Moot-Moot,” about a sheep family with very human sentiments.

TV series nod went to “Catnip,” “Pest Controller” and “Oasis,” three blackly comic sketches from the U.K. cult skein “Talented Mouse,” directed by Leigh Hodgkinson and produced by Slinky Pics for broadcaster Channel Four.

“Engel zu Fuss,” the latest short from Saschka Unseld and Jakob Schuh, co-founders of German animation house Studio Soi, won for TV special.

Annecy’s 32nd edition underscored the global explosion in toon pic production.

While attendance at Cannes and Mip TV was broadly stable this year, Annecy saw participants increase 9.5% to 6,708 this year. Attendance at Annecy’s Mifa market was 10% up at 1,900, said managing director Mickael Marin.

Beyond significant U.S. production, “There are some many new centers for production, a global expansion of feature animation,” said fest artistic director Serge Bromberg.

Europe’s expanding toon industry is aided by EU backing, CNC support in France and a growth of animation film schools, he added.

Reflecting hiked production levels, Annecy raised the number of possible competition feature films in 2006 from five to as many as 10. “This year’s nine competition features were selected from nearly 50 applications,” Bromberg added.

Highlights of the 32nd edition included opening film “Waltz With Bashir,” which wowed auds; world preems of two Pixar shorts, Doug Sweetland’s “Presto” and “Glago’s Guest,” from Disney’s toon team; a bigscreen presentation of “The Simpsons” to an audience of 10,000; and John Canemaker’s presentation on the extraordinary animated film pioneer Winsor McCay.

Annecy ran June 9-14.

And the winners at the 32nd Annecy Intl. Animated Film Festival are:

FEATURE FILMS
CRYSTAL, FEATURE
“Sita Sings the Blues,” (Nina Paley, U.S.)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Idiots & Angels,” (Bill Plympton, U.S.)

AUDIENCE AWARD
“The Three Robbers” (Hayo Freitag, Germany)

TV PRODUCTIONS:
CRYSTAL, TV PRODUCTION
“L’enfer de la mode,” from “Moot Moot” (Francois Reczulski, France)

SPECIAL AWARD, TV SERIES
“Catnip,” “Pest Controller,” “Oasis,” from “Talented Mouse” (Leigh Hodgkinson, U.K.)

TV SPECIAL
“Engel zu Fuss” (Saschka Unseld and Jakob Schuh, Germany)

SHORT FILMS
ANNECY CRYSTAL
“La Maison en petits cubes” (Kunio Kato, Japan)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD
“The Lady on the Threshold” (Jorge Dayas, Spain)

FIRST FILM
“Portraits rates a Sainte-Helene” (Cedric Villain, France)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Berni’s Doll” (Yann J., France) and “Morana” (Simon Bogojevic, France-Croatia)

SACEM AWARD, ORIGINAL MUSIC
“KJFG No 5” (Alexei Alexeev, Hungary)

AUDIENCE AWARD
“Skhizein” (Jeremy Clapin, France)

COMMISSIONED FILMS

EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC OR INDUSTRIAL AWARD
Bibigon “Factually Fun Idents X 9” (Steve Smith, U.K.)

ADVERTISING OR PROMOTIONAL AWARD
Sony Bravia “Play-Doh” (Darren Walsh, Franck Budgen, U.K.)

MUSIC VIDEO AWARD
Annuals “Dry Clothes” (Trunk Animation, U.K.)

GRADUATION FILM
Camera Oscura” (Matthieu Buchalski, Jean-Michel Drechsler, Thierry Onillon, France)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD
“My Happy End” (Milen Vitanov, Germany, Bulgaria)

SPECIAL MENTION
“The Traveller” (Johan Pollefoort, Belgium)

OTHER PRIZES

JUNIOR JURY AWARD, GRADUATION FILM
“Margot” (Gerlando Infuso, Belgium)

UNICEF AWARD
“Hugh” (Mathieu Navarro, Sylvain Nouveau, Francois Pommiez, Aurore Turbe, France)

FIPRESCI AWARD
“She Who Measures” (Veljko Popovic, Croatia)

CANAL PLUS AWARD, GRADUATION FILM
“Oktapodi” (Julien Bocabelle, Francois-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Thierry Machand, Quentin Marmier, Emud Mokhberi, France)

SHORT PROJECT COMPETITION
JURY PRIZE, ARTE FRANCE

“Via Curiel 8” (Mara Cerri, Italy)

LUXANIMATION PRIZE
“Ico Pong and Me” (Michael Bolufer, France)

SRG SSR SWISS IDEA
“The Play of Silence” (Virginia Mori, Italy)

TOON BOOM ANIMATION
“L’Esprit de ka pierre” (Gael Brisou, France)

CANAL PLUS
“Le Mome Tintouin” (Loic Malo, France)

SACD
“The Tramp” (Rony Hotin, France)

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