The winners of the four-day Tokyo Anime Award Festival 2023 (animefestival.jp/en) were announced Monday from the Toshima Civic Center, revealing the top feature-length and short films chosen from among 33 selected works (four features, 29 shorts). This year, TAAF received 31 feature animation submissions from 26 countries and 872 shorts from 63 countries.
For the first time in three years, TAAF welcomed jurists from both abroad and Japan at the festival, and judging for the competition took place through the screenings at the theatres and the conference on-site to decide the winners in Feature Animation and Short Animation.
Director Alain Ughetto’s stop-motion family history No Dogs or Italians Allowed (France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Portugal) was awarded both the Grand Prize and the Governor of Tokyo Award in the feature film competition. The film premiered at Annecy, and takes viewers back to the beginning of the 20th century, as the Ughetto family’s difficult life in a small Northern Italian village is changed forever when Luigi ventures out across the Alps to start a new life in France.
Inspired by the real-life North Pole expedition of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, Italian airship engineer Umberto Nobile and his beloved dog, Titina was honored with the feature film Award of Excellence. The Belgium-Norway co-pro is directed by Kajsa Næss.
The Feature Animation Competition was juried by Fukashi Azuma (Director, AT-X Inc.), Ryuichi Kimura (Director, Japan Animation Creators Association), Cesar Cabral (Director, Bob Spit) and Haery Kim (Journalist, Host of Kim Haery’s Film Club podcast).
Both the Grand Prize and the Governor of Tokyo Award of the Short Animation competition went to Mexican 2D short The Borderline by Christian Arredondo Narváez. Brought to life with contemporary illustration in a muted desert palette, the piece follows a man and his dog as they cross the desert in search of La Frontera, a mighty river marking the border with the neighboring territory. With their goal in site, the weary travelers face a series of obstacles before they can brave the waters.
Additional shorts competition prizes were presented to:
- Award of Excellence — The Queen of the Foxes (La Reine des Renards) | Marina Rosset | Switzerland
- Toshima City Award — Swing to the Moon | Marie Bordessoule, Adriana Bouissie, Nadine De Boer, Elisa Drique, Chloé Lauzu, Vincent Levrero, Solenne Moreau | France
- Best Student Film — 3 Intestine Road, Fish Island | Moe Wakabayashi | Japan
The Short Animation Competition jury comprised Kenji Kodama (Director, Detective Conan TV and film series), Tetsuro Satmoi (President, Liden Films / Barnum Studio), Charlie Belin (Director, Le Coin) and Elise Labbé (Head of Festivals & Theatrical Screenings, NFB Canada).