‘April and the Extraordinary World’ Wins Annecy’s Crystal Award

“April and the Extraordinary World,” Franck Ekinci and Christian Desmares’ animated feature featuring Marion Cotillard’s voice in the title role, won the Cristal award for best feature film at Annecy Animation Film Festival.

Co-produced and repped by Studiocanal, “April and the Extraordinary World” is a 2D arthouse movie in the tradition of European auteur-driven toons. The movie was just picked up by GKids for U.S. distribution. GKids previously handled six best animated features that competed at the Oscars. Lead-produced by Paris-based Je Suis Bien Content, the animation studio on “Persepolis,” “April” is also being buzzed about as a potential Oscar candidate. Based on Jacques Tardi’s celebrated graphic novel, “April” charts a young girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny. The toonpic will be released by Studiocanal on Oct.14.

Japanese helmer Keiichi Hara’s “Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai,” repped by Production I.G, nabbed the jury nod, while Remi Chaye’s “Long Way North,” sold by Urban Distribution, won the audience prize.

Annecy welcomed a record 8,250 participants — way up on last year’s 7,000. The attendance spike was mainly driven by the U.S. presence, which was up 60% for the festival and market. The guest country panorama in Spain had a large impact on panels, films selected and master classes, as did the focus on women. The festival screened nearly 500 films from 83 countries. As in the last few years, many entries touched on serious issues such as immigration, exile and human rights.

In other kudos, Siri Melchior’s “Rita and Crocodile Fishing” snatched up the jury award for best TV series while Clementine Robach’s “The Mitten” won the jury prize for a TV series. Eric Serre’s “Hellow World! Long-Eared Owl” won the Crystal nod for TV production.

Suresh Eriyat’s “Rotaly Fateline” won best commissioned film. And Yves Geleyn’s “NSPCC Lucy and the Boy” won the jury nod for best commissioned film.

In the graduation films’ section, Nina Gantz’s Edmond won the jury prize and Lisa Matuszak’s “Brume, cailloux et metaphysique” won the jury mention.

Daniel Gray and Tom Brown’s “Teeth,” a U.S./Hungary/U.K. production, nabbed the Fipresci prize. Rosina Urbes’ Brazilian pic “Guida” won the Fipresci’s special mention, and Michel Gondbry’s “Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy” won the Andre Martin film nod.

Sold by Indie Sales and helmed by Claude Barras, “My Life as a Zucchini,” which is penned by Celine Sciamma and was pitched in Annecy in the work-in-progress section, won the Gan Foundation Support for Distribution.

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