Avignon Film Festival fetes ‘Fish’

Kaplan's animated romance wins Prix Tournage

AVIGNON — “Year of the Fish,” scripter-helmer David Kaplan’s animated tale of destiny and romance in New York’s Chinatown, won the Prix Tournage for American film at the 24th Avignon Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday night.The Prix Tournage for European pic went to Belgian co-scripter/helmer Martine Doyen for her offbeat comedy “Komma,” about an amnesiac and an artist.

Both winners at the indie-centric event were first features.

Australia’s “The Music in Me,” by Nigel Traill, took the Pierre Salinger docu prize. Pic is a portrait of the Merry Makers, a long-running participatory dance program for individuals with Down’s Syndrome or other mental and physical disabilities.

In a strong field, the Panavision prizes for shorts went to Guillaume Martinez of France for “Gratte-Papier” (Penpushers) and to American Bernadette Demisay for “The 5:22.”

The Union of Film Music Composers medal went to David Majzlin for his score to American Susan Schwarzwald’s “Stille.”

Helmer-scribe Richard Linklater won the Prix Chateauneuf — a case of Chateauneuf du Pape wine delivered annually for the next 10 years, supplied by vintners to celebrate indie filmmakers. He called it “the most unique award I’ve ever heard of. When they deliver it, I’ll feel like I’ve won a prize every year no matter what I’m actually doing!”

Fest honoree Tom DiCillo enjoyed a warm welcome for the French preem of his comic riff on modern fame, “Delirious,” which opens in Gaul July 4.

Reflecting fest’s emphasis on independent filmmaking, the physical and emotional scars resulting from the ongoing war in Iraq were central to fully half of the U.S. titles in competition.

Avignon/New York, the French fest’s Manhattan-based sister event, will hold its 13th edition this November.

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