Amandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre’s Annecy Prize-winning feature Little Nicolas (Le Petit Nicolas) won the Grand Prize Jury prize at the fifth annual Animation Is Film festival in Los Angeles. Nora Twomey’s My Father’s Dragon was the recipient of the Special Jury Prize. Inna Sahakyan’s Aurora’s Sunrise, which is also Armenia’s official entry in the Intl. Oscar race, was the winner of the Audience Award, while João Gonzalez’s poetic Ice Merchants was awarded the Shorts Jury Prize.
Little Nicolas follows the adventures of a mischievous boy and his schoolmates, teacher, and parents in Paris in the 1960s. Said Jury Chair and Variety’s Chief Film Critic, Peter Debruge, “Co-directors Amandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre have crafted a wonderful hand-drawn tribute to French cartoonists René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé. By adapting the duo’s distinctive style to animation, they have not only brought these beloved characters to life but also revealed the lesser-known lives of the artists responsible for their creation.” Charades is handling international sales.
Oscar-nominated director Nora Twomey returned to AIF this year with her second film, My Father’s Dragon where it made its North American premiere. My Father’s Dragon, a Netflix film, is based on the Newbery winning children’s book and follows a young boy who runs away to an island to rescue and befriend a young dragon. “Director Nora Twomey and the talented team at Cartoon Saloon honor the look of Ruth Stiles Gannett’s classic children’s book while bringing their signature touch to this well-crafted and visually compelling kids’ movie, which seems ideally suited for the medium of animation,” added DeBruge.
Aurora’s Sunrise tells the story of real-life silent movie star, Aurora Mardiganian, who, as a young woman, escaped the Armenian genocide. The animated documentary made its North American premiere at AIF and its world premiere earlier this year at the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival. CAT&Docs is handling international sales.
This year’s Animation Is Film Feature Competition Jury consists of Chris Butler (ParaNorman, Missing Link), Peter Debruge (Variety), Bill Desowitz (Indiewire), Julie Lockhart (Locksmith Animation), Charles Solomon (critic/historian), Christina Steinberg (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), and Ramin Zahed (Animation Magazine). The Shorts Jury consists of Maureen Fan (Baobab Studios), Frank Gladstone (ASIFA-Hollywood), and Jade Seaberry (DiverseToons).
“Animation Is Film is an idea and one that energizes cinephiles from around the world. For our fifth edition in Hollywood, it was thrilling to embrace that idea with the largest audience in the festival’s history!” said AIF Managing Director, Matt Kaszanek. “Congratulations and thank you to all of our filmmakers and partners, and to everyone who came out to celebrate with us.”
The Fifth Edition of Animation Is Film Festival closes this Saturday with a special (sold-out) matinee screening of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. For more info, visit www.animationisfilm.com