Ugly Duckling and Me! Helmers Win Cartoon Movie’s Top Prize

Michael Hegner and Karsten Kiilerich were awarded Cartoon Movie’s Directors of the Year prize at the annual event held at Potsdam, Germany today (Friday, March 9). The duo received the honor for their work on the CG-animated feature Ugly Duckling and Me!, produced by A.Film (Denmark), Magma Films (Ireland) and Futurikon (France).

The film, which has already opened in Denmark and has been sold in more than 30 territories overseas, is a clever re-invention of the famous Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, complete with a street-smart rat who acts as the duckling’s stepfather. Hegner and Kiilerich beat Luc Besson (Arthur and the Invisibles), Philippe LeClerc (The Princess of the Sun) and Michel Ocelot (Azur et Asmar) in this category.

Also honored at the event were Alphanim, Europool, Nelvana Intl. and Studio Canal, which were collectively selected as European Producer of the Year for their feature Franklin and the Turtle Lake Treasure. Directed by Dominique Monfery, the 2D animated feature centers on the familiar children’s series character as he sets out to find a hidden treasure that may help save his ailing grandmother. In addition, Denmark’s Scanbox was the recipient of the European Distributor of the Year honor.

The winners were selected by the 500 professionals who participated in the annual forum aimed at advancing the production, distribution and financing for European animated feature films. Numerous European feature films in various stages of development and production were screened for buyers, industry veterans and financing organizations at the popular three-day confab. More information on the finalists for Cartoon Movie Tributes 2007 can be found at