U.S. Toons Are Big Champs at Cartoons on the Bay

The world may not be on America’s side politically, but if last night’s awards ceremony at Italy’s Cartoons on the Bay was any indication, they sure love U.S. toons abroad. Five of the European TV animation festival’s major Pulcinella Awards were given to American animated series on the final night of the seventh edition of Positano’s annual event (April 9-13.) Thirty-five programs from 12 different countries participated in the competition this year.

Tom Synder Production’s Home Movies won the Award for Best Character(s), as well as the kudos for Best TV Series for Adolescents and Adults. "The original graphics for the characters, together with the astounding dialogue contribute to the viewers’ identification with the characters in the series," noted the jury, which consisted of France 2’s head of children programming Sophie Gigon, Spanish TVE’s director of co-productions and festivals Federico Llano Sabugueiro, Disney Channel’s exec VP Gary Marsh, director Maurizio Nichetti, and BBC Worldwide’s head of marketing Anthony Utley. Home Movies is created by Loren Bouchard and Brendon Small.

Walt Disney Television Animation’s Kim Possible (by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, directed by Chris Bailey) was given the Best TV Series for Children Award. "A lively rhythm, entertaining dialogue and an imaginative screenplay, paired with a modern graphics style, perfectly represent the life of a present-day teenager, who is transformed into an action heroine," explained the jury members. Another big winner was Global Tantrum’s You Animal, an outrageous take on the surreal world of celebrities by noted scribe Bruce Wagner. This new venture produced by Klasky Csupo’s adult animation division won the Pulcinella for Best Pilot for a Series. Genndy Tartakovsky’s much lauded Cartoon Network series Samurai Jack won a special mention for the jury for its artistic direction style.

RAI Fiction and Animation Band’s The Spaghetti Family was the winner of the award for Best TV Series for All Audiences. Created by Bruno Bozzetto and directed by Giuseppe Lagana, the toon is an Italian situation comedy similar in tone and style to The Simpsons. AnteFilms and German Greenlaight Media’s Funky Cops, a wild take on American TV shows from the ’70s, won the award for Best European Program. The series is written by Thierry Sapyn and designed by Jerome Declercq.

The Best TV Movie Award and the UNICEF Plaque went to France 3 and Groupe France Television’s Loulou, a beautifully animated piece about the friendship between a young wolf and a sympathetic rabbit (by Gregoire Solotareff), while Igancio Ferreras’ twisted film How to Cope with Death took home the prize for Best Short Film as well as the special RAI special Internet prize. Spanish series Connie the Cow was awarded the Best TV Series for Infants. The Neptuno Films project was written by Josep Viciana and designed by Roman Rybakiewicz.

The jury also gave two special mentions to Rory Bresnihan and Peter McDonald’s Ape (about a orangutan which escapes from the Bronx zoo and becomes a world-famous TV talk show host) and Byung Geun Ahn’s Korean TV series The Boxer (Korean TV), which depicts a classic victim versus executioner situation. For more information about Positano’s Cartoons on the Bay Festival, visit www.cartoonsbay.com.