European festival honors best in animation

PARIS– Henry Selick’s “Coraline” and Australian Adam Elliot’s “Mary and Max” shared the best feature nod at the 33nd Annecy Animated Film Festival, Europe’s most important toon confab.

Prizes were unveiled Saturday at the fest’s closing ceremony.

The stop-motion 3-D “Coraline” was one of the most anticipated – and applauded – films at Annecy.

Already opening Sundance this year, “Max,” a clay-animated toon about an unusual pen-pal friendship, had been a favorite with critics and execs alike.

Tough, provoking works, “Coraline” and “Max” both use classic animation techniques – claymation and stop-motion. Though “Coraline” was made in cutting-edge 3-D, buzz and prizes at Annecy suggest the animation world’s not likely to abandon 2-D quite yet in its embrace of a stereoscopic revolution.

“These two films aren’t straight family fare, and have a very strong identity,” said Serge Bromberg, Annecy Intl. Animation Film Festival’s artistic director. “In their own way, they are auteur films.”

Irish-Belgian-French toon, “Brendan and the Secret of Kells,” directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey, took Annecy’s Audience Award.

Co-produced by Gallic shingle Les Armateurs (“Kirikou and the Wild Beasts”), the gloriously-colored pre-medieval tale which played at Berlin this year, again mixes old and new in toon terms, meshing 2D and CGI techniques.

Hungarian helmer Alexey Alexeev took Annecy’s best TV production nod for “Log Jam,” produced by Studio Baestarts.

U.K. director Philip Hunt took best TV special for “Lost and Found,” a heart-warming tale of friendship between a little boy and a lost penguin. Toon is co-produced by Studio Aka, which nabbed BAFTA best animation short kudos for “Jojo in the Stars” in 2003 .

Annecy’s 33nd edition empazised the vibrant growth and diversity of the toon production worldwide.

The 192 films presented in the fest’s official selection hailed from 40 countries, including Burkina Faso, Colombia, Philippines and Mozambique in South-East Africa.

While attendance dropped this year at Cannes and Mip TV, Annecy’s overall festival attendance held at 6,700 participants, while its Mifa market saw a near-10% participant increase, rising to 1,900 attendees and 350 exhibitor companies, according to managing director Mickael Marin.

Highlights of the 33nd edition included opening film “A Town Called Panic,” the world preem of “ Les Lascars,” helmed by Albert Pereira-Lazaro, Nick Park’s short “Wallace and Gromit: a Matter of Loaf and Death,” and the presence of famed French helmer Jean-Pierre Jeunet who presented a selection of his favorite animated-films, including Adam Elliot ‘s Oscar-winning “Harvie Krumpet” and Zbigniew Rybczynski’s “Tango.”

This year’s edition also celebrated the 100th anniversary of German animation with eight showcases, two exhibitions and 11 toons screening in the competiton sections, including Berlin-based David O’Reilly’s “Please Say Something,” which competed for best short film. Fest also presented Lotte Reiniger’s “The Adventures of Prince Achmed,” an Teuton animated film made in 1926.

Annecy ran June 8-13.

(John Hopewell contributed to this report)

And the winners are:

FEATURE FILMS:

ANNECY CRYSTAL – FEATURE
“Coraline,” (Henry Selick, U.S.) and “Mary and Max,” (Adam Elliot, Australia)

AUDIENCE AWARD
“Brendan and the Secret of Kells,” (Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey, Belgium-France-Ireland)

TV PRODUCTIONS:

ANNECY CRYSTAL – TV PRODUCTION
“Log Jam,” (Alexey Alexeev, Hungary)

SPECIAL AWARD, TV SERIES
“Jour de bain,” (Pierre Coffin, Marco Allard, France)

TV SPECIAL
“Lost and Found,” (Philip Hunt, U.K.)

SHORT FILMS

ANNECY CRYSTAL
“Slaves,” (Hanna Heilborn, David Aronowitsch, Sweden)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD
“Runaway,” (Cordell Barker, Canada)

FIRST FILM
“The Man in the Blue Gordini,” (Jean-Christophe Lie, France)

SPECIAL MENTION
“Please Say Something,” (David O’Reilly, Germany-Ireland)

SACEM AWARD, ORIGINAL MUSIC
“Chick,” Michal Socha, Poland)

AUDIENCE AWARD
“Western Spaghetti,” (PES, U.S.)

EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC OR INDUSTRIAL FILM AWARD
“How to Destroy the World ‘Rubbish,’” (Pete Bishop, U.K.)

ADVERTISING OR PROMOTIONAL FILM AWARD
BBC iPlayer, “Penguins,” (Darren Walsh, Vince Squibb, U.K.)

MUSIC VIDEO AWARD
Flogging Molly, “Float,” (Karni & Saul, U.K.)

GRADUATION FILMS:

BEST GRADUATION FILM:
“For Sock’s Sake,” (Carlo Vogele, Gobelins, France)

SPECIAL JURY AWARD
“EX – E.T.” (Benoit Bargeton, Yannick Lasfas, REmy Froment, Nicolas Gracia, ESMA, France)

SPECIAL MENTION
“The Soliloquist,” (Kuang Pei Ma, Taiwan National University of the Arts, Taiwan)

OTHER PRIZES:

JUNIOR JURY AWARD , SHORT FILM
“The Man in the Blue Gordini”

JUNIOR JURY AWARD, GRADUATION FILM
“Shrug,” (Alina Constantin, Volda Univrersity College, ESAAT, Norway-France)

UNICEF AWARD
“Slaves”

FIPRESCI AWARD
“The Employment,” (Santiago Grasso, Argentina)

CANAL PLUS SHORT FILM AWARD
“Madagascar, carnet de voyage,” (Bastien Dubois, France)

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