'Ernest' Lands Top Prize New York

Audience award goes to 'Starry Starry Night' and 'Wolf Children'

Gallic toon “Ernest and Celestine” nabbed the top award at the New York Intl. Children’s Film Festival at the Directors Guild of America Theater in Gotham on Sunday.

“Ernest and Celestine” directors Stephane Aubier, Vincent Patar and Benjamin Renner received the fest’s  grand prize. The film played at Berlin and Toronto and won France’s Cesar for best animated feature before its U.S. premiere.

Fest’s audience awards for feature went to Taiwanese helmer Tom Shu-yu Lin’s “Starry Starry Night,” which played in the  Girls’ POV Program, and Mamoru Hosoda’s “Wolf Children.” Film won Japan’s Academy Prize for Animation the day before its premiere at the N.Y. fest.

The award for animated short went to U.K. film “I Am Tom Moody,” by Ainslie Henderson. Best live-action short went to Spain’s “The Runaway” by Victor Carrey.

The jury included animator-directors John Canemaker and Tomm Moore, thesps Geena Davis, Matthew Modine, Tomm Moore, Susan Sarandon and Jeffrey Wright, filmmakers Christine Vachon, Gus Van Sant, James Schamus and Taika Waititi, Participant TV prexy Evan Shapiro, Lynne McVeigh, associate professor of children’s media at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and Parents magazine editor-in-chief Dana Points.

The fest continues until Sunday.

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