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ANNECY, France – Denis Do’s “Sorya” and Amandine Taffin’s “Tistou of the Green Thumbs” –both from France– took feature kudos at the 2019 Mifa Pitches Awards, the first honors announced at Annecy and devoted to projects pitched in various categories/showcases: Feature Films, TV Series and Specials, Short Films and Animation du Monde.

The 37-title selection included projects from Armenia, Uruguay, Hungary, Nigeria, Argentina, South Africa, Kenya, Turkey, Denmark, Brazil, Italia, Colombia, Venezuela, China, United States, Mozambique, Peru, Russia, Germany, Singapore, South Korea and of course France. Sponsored awards vary between cash prizes, development awards and the offer of post-production services.

The sophomore outing of Denis Do, a Crystal winner at Annecy last year with “Funan,” “Sorya” a personal depiction of the brutality of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime, took the Ciclic Prize.“Sorya” will  be produced by Sébastien Onomo at Special Touch Studios.

Do tells the story of a 17-year-old Cambodian girl who has just arrived in the capital city of Phnom Penh to work and support her family. Sorya is attracted by the city’s nightlife discovering a passion and a talent –singing. Thibault Kientz Agyeman (Funan”) composed the score.

The Cyclic Prize  comes with €25,000 ($28,000) and a two-month animation residency in Vendôme. Amandine Taffin’s “Tistou of the Green Thumbs” won both the Cristal Publishing and TitraFilm prizes. The first pcovers costs of the creation of original music creation at TitraFilms studios in La Rochelle in France; the second is an offer of post-production work –voice recording, recording studio, artistic direction of voices, sound design, sound editing, sound effects, 5.1 surround mixing and mastering– at the same French studios.

Targeting children and family demos “Tistou of the Green Thumbs” follows Tistou, a kid who has green thumbs: Wherever he puts his thumbs, flowers begin to grow almost instantly. Charming and driven by ideals, Tistou decides to secretly use his extraordinary power to change the world. “Tistou” marks the feature debut of Taffin, who acted as  a co-scriptwriter of Jean-Christophe Dessaint’s “The Day of the Crows.”

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Finalement, headed by William Picot, is set to produce “Tistou.”

“Patouille,” by the French directorial trio of Inès Bernard-Espina, Mélody Boulissière and Clémentine Campos, took the Ciclic Prize in the TV category. The series follows a magical minute being living in harmony with nature. Along with his friend Momo, he discovers amazing secrets of vegetables. Made for pre-school viewers, the five-minute 26 part series uses 2D techniques to adapt the illustrations by Clémentine Campos. Emmanuel-Alain Raynal and Pierre Baussaron at Miyu Productions (Pierre Földes’ “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman”) will produce “Patouille.”

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French short “Sweeter is the Night” took two prizes: the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Cinéma/Bourse des Festivals Prize and the Studios Alhambra Prize. Directed by French Fabienne Wagenaar, made through painting-on-glass, “Sweeter is the Night” traces the story of a missionary who disappears in a small West African harbor, as its country is preparing for independence.

In the Animation du Monde category, Lilit Altunyan’s “When I Am Sad” (Armenia) and Naddya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya’s “Thread” (‘Uzi’), from Kenya snagged the Folimage and Ciclic Prizes.

For the first time this year, project pitchers started their week with a training workshop supported by experts. They had the chance to practice their pitch and meet industry players “who led them in the jungle of such a big market as Mifa,” Géraldine Baché, Mifa head of projects, told Variety.

The level of animation from around the world appears to continue to improve. The selection this year was the best ever,” Bach said, adding: “Honestly, we had unanimous very good feedback.

50% of the awarded projects are directed just by women.
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2019 MIFA PITCHINHGS AWARDS

Feature Films Category

CICLIC PRIZE

“Sorya,” Denis Do (France)

CRISTAL PUBLISHING PRIZE

“Tistou of the Green Thumbs,” Amandine Taffin (France)

TITRAFILM PRIZE

“Tistou of the Green Thumbs”

TV Series and Specials Category

CICLIC PRIZE

“Patouille,” Inès Bernard-Espina, Mélody Boulissière, Clémentine Campos (France)

DISNEY CHANNEL PRIZE FOR A NEW SERIES

“Hedgehog,” Gleb Belyakov (Russia)

TITRAFILM PRIZE

“Le Caillou,” Joachim Herisse (France)

Short Films Category

ARTE FRANCE PRIZE

“The Crimson Season,” Clémence Bouchereau (France)

AUVERGNE-RHÔNE-ALPES CINÉMA/BOURSE DES FESTIVALS PRIZE

“Sweeter is the Night,” Fabienne Wagenaar (France)

CICLIC PRIZE

“Hide,” Daniel Benjamin Gray (Hungary, France, Canada)

LES AFFRANCHIS/VILLE DE TOULOUSE PRIZE

“Leo,” Antoine Presles (France)

NEF ANIMATION PRIZE

“Hide,” Daniel Benjamin Gray (Hungary, France, Canada)

SACD Prize

“La Grande arche,” Camille Authouart (France)

STUDIOS ALHAMBRA PRIZE

“Sweeter is the Night,” Fabienne Wagenaar (France)

OPEN WORKSHOP PRIZE

“Dino Doom on Desert Planet,”

Animation du Monde Awards 

FOLIMAGE PRIZE

“When I Am Sad,” Lilit Altunyan (Armenia)

CICLIC PRIZE

“Thread,” Naddya Adhiambo Oluoch-Olunya (Kenya)

Interactive Creations & Transmedia Category

INA-EXPERT PRIZE

“Dreamin’ Zone,” Fabienne Giezendanner, Pascal Conicella (Germany, South Korea, France, Switzerland)

SACD “INTERACTIVE” PRIZE

“Néphéle,” Alexandre Perez (France)