Irish fantasy “Wolfwalkers” and coming-of-age story “Pillars” have been awarded the top prizes audience and grand jury prize, respectively, in the narrative categories at the AFI Fest 2020.

Chinese COVID-19 documentary “76 Days” won the audience documentary award.

The festival, which went virtual except for its Centerpiece drive-in screening of “One Night in Miami” at the Rose Bowl, announced this winners Friday. The program included 125 titles (55 features, three episodic, 33 shorts, 19 Meet the Press Film Festival shorts and 15 AFI Conservatory Showcase shorts) of which 53% were directed by women, 39% were directed by BIPOC and 17% were directed by LGBTQ+.

“With an audience of more than double from last year, we welcomed over 200 filmmakers and guests from around the world for Q&As and panels,” said Michael Lumpkin, director AFI Festivals. “This year’s festival was truly a celebration of film across the country with festival goers joining us online from all 50 states.”

“Wolfwalkers,” directed by “The Secret of the Kells” creators Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart, won the audience award for narrative features. The film centers on apprentice hunter Robyn Goodfellowe, who journeys to Ireland with her father to wipe out the last wolf pack. While exploring the forbidden lands outside the city walls, Robyn befriends a free-spirited girl, Mebh MacTíre, a member of a mysterious tribe rumored to transform into wolves by night.

Haley Elizabeth Anderson’s short film “Pillars” won the grand jury prize for live-action features. The film centers on a Sunday at church, when 12-year-old Amber experiences her first kiss, a moment of innocence that triggers a series of awakenings: sexual, emotional and religious.

Here are the winners:

Audience Award – Narrative Feature

WOLFWALKERS (DIR Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart)

Robyn befriends wild girl Mebh while exploring the magical forest outside an Irish town’s walls and undergoes a transformation in this adventurous animated film from THE SECRET OF KELLS creators, Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart.

Audience Award – Documentary Feature

76 DAYS (DIR Hao Wu, Weixi Chen, Anonymous)

January 23, 2020: Wuhan, China, a city of 11 million, goes on complete lockdown to combat COVID-19. Filming inside Wuhan’s hospitals, 76 DAYS provides an unforgettable look at a city’s fight for survival.

Audience Award – Short Film


The consequences of a mother’s decision to leave her daughter in the care of an American homestay family are unearthed when they reunite for a dinner on one lonely blue night.

Grand Jury Prize – Animation

TIGER AND OX (호랑이와 소) (DIR Seunghee Kim)

Jury Statement: “With its economical, yet powerful use of the animated medium, this film tells a tender intergenerational story of the layered relationship between a mother and a daughter and invites us to engage in necessary conversations around gender and trauma.”

What does divorce mean to women in Korean patriarchal society? Is a fatherless family a failure? In order to find the answer to these questions, a single mother and her daughter start a conversation.

Grand Jury Prize – Live Action

PILLARS (DIR Haley Elizabeth Anderson)

Jury Statement: “The filmmaker navigates the coming-of-age terrain with a mesmerizing point of view anchored in stunning performances by its young cast. The nuanced showcased in explored Black girlhood in today’s America resonated strongly with us.”

One Sunday at church, 12-year-old Amber experiences her first kiss, a moment of innocence that triggers a series of awakenings: sexual, emotional and religious.

Special Mention


Jury Statement: “Gifted with an original cinematic voice, the filmmaker reclaims the often-taboo transformation of a young girl’s body in a singular context. Harnessing magical realism to enhance this journey from shame to acceptance, this film both enchants and empowers.”

Pasang, a new girl at a nunnery, has her first period after hearing a late-night ghost story. She keeps it secret until she bleeds at a prayer session. She believes that she has been cursed and needs to sacrifice a black goat to avoid further misfortune.

Special Mention

MAALBEEK (DIR Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis)

Jury Statement: “Departing from a tragic event, the director created a hybrid piece that is as immersive as it is moving and haunting. The reconstruction of a traumatic memory, both the personal and the collective, come to life in vibrant form.”

Sabine is looking for a missing image: a day that has left its mark forever and that everyone remembers but her. But maybe this absence is what allows her to move on with her life?

Special Mention


Jury Statement: “Poignant and eye-popping, this animated vision speaks to the importance of understanding one’s family history and the inextricable connection between a mother and a daughter. Through beautifully abstract animation, the filmmaker expresses these complex themes in an affecting manner.”

An animated documentary exploring how the filmmaker’s mother’s abusive relationship with her father shaped her own experiences in a boarding school in China.