“The Breadwinner,” directed by Nora Twomey of Ireland animation studio Cartoon Saloon, also took home the audience award. The film tells the story of a young girl who disguises herself as a boy to help feed her family during Taliban rule in Afghanistan.
“‘The Breadwinner’ is not just an incredibly important film, but one that reminds us of the power of animation to communicate serious issues in the world. Transforming hardship into a warm and moving story, the movie represents a triumph by its director, Nora Twomey, in terms of script, voice acting, design, music, and editing,” said jury chairman and Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge. “The films in competition this year illustrated the many techniques and possibilities of animation, but ‘The Breadwinner’ was a clear favorite among our jury.”
A special jury prize was given to the French film “The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales” by Patrick Imbert and Benjamin Renner, which Debruge said celebrates the joys of traditional cartoon animation.
In addition to Debruge, the Animation Is Film jury included Warner Bros. executive VP of theatrical animation Allison Abbate, DreamWorks Animation’s Bonnie Arnold, Brenda Chapman — the Oscar-winning director of Pixar’s “Brave” — the Hollywood Reporter’s tech editor Carolyn Giardina, “Book of Life” director Jorge R. Gutierrez, film critic and historian Charles Solomon, Landmark Cinemas’ head film buyer Mabel Tam, and IndieWire editor-at-large Anne Thompson.
The festival presented 12 feature films in competition, along with special screenings of “Snow White” and “The Incredibles,” a selection of animated shorts, and a VR lounge. The fest was presented by GKids, Annecy International Film Festival, Variety, and ASIFA-Hollywood. Major sponsors included the Los Angeles Times, IndieWire, Cartoon Brew, Fathom Events, and Google.