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Festival & Event Updates: Award Winners, 2022 Plans & New ITFS Trailer

Monica Hellström (L) and Jonas Poher Rasmussen (C) accept the award for Best Documentary Feature at the 31st Gotham Awards, Nov. 29, 2021, NYC. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Gotham Film & Media Institute)
Festival and Event Updates



Festival & Event Updates: Award Winners, 2022 Plans & New ITFS Trailer

Festival favorite and indie awards-season contender Flee has added another accolade to its long list, taking the Best Documentary Feature honors at the 31st Annual Gotham Awards, held Monday at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, the stirring mostly-animated documentary feature recounts the life story of his pseudonymous friend Amin, who as a child fled the Taliban in Afghanistan with his mother and siblings, through Russia and eventually to Denmark — where, despite trauma and a hidden past, Amin has a chance to find a new home and lasting love.

Flee was released by NEON in the U.S. The film is produced by Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen (Final Cut for Real – Denmark) and Charlotte De La Gournerie (Sun Creature Studio – Denmark). The Best Documentary jury for the 2021 Gotham Awards included Bonni Cohen, Ramona Diaz, Kirsten Johnson, Roger Ross Williams and Hao Wu. The Awards are presented by the Gotham Film & Media Institute. 

 PÖFF Shorts winners

PÖFF Shorts winners

The 25th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) four competition programs (and European Film Award shorts nominee reveal) and PÖFF Shorts winners have been announced, celebrating some of this year’s most widely regarded animated works. This year’s Animation Competition was juried by Paul Mas, Sabine Andersone and Helen Unt. The winners are:

  • Nomination for EFA: Steakhouse by  Špela Čadež (Slovenia, 2021)
  • Best Short Animation: Bestia by Hugo Covarrubias (Chile, 2021)
  • Jury Mention: Night Bus by Joe Hsieh (France, 2020)
  • Best Children’s Animation: Vanille by Guillaume Lorin (France/Switzerland, 2020)
  • Children’s Animation Jury Mention: Landing by Kaisa Penttilä (Finland, 2021)
  • New Talents – Animation: Love, Dad by Diana Cam Van Nguyen (Czech Rep./Slovakia, 2020)
  • New Talents – Animation Jury Mention: Coffin by Yuanqing Cai, Nathan Crabot, Houzhi Huang, Mikolaj Janiw, Mandimby Lebon, Théo Tran Ngoc (France, 2020)


The 37th INTERFILM International Short Film Festival of Berlin wrapped up last week (although der Filmliebhaber can still access the competition streaming on Sooner until Dec. 14), bestowing awards and honors on a number of compelling works from around the world, including Ismaël Joffroy Chandoutis’ animated documentary Maalbeek (France, 2020) about Sabine, a survivor of the 2016 terrorist attack in Brussels who struggles with traumatic memory loss. The commemorative project won the Berlin-Brandenburg Short Award for Best Film (a 6,000 euro prize). Animation winners also included:

  • Int’l Competition – Best Animation: Bestia by Hugo Covarrubias (Chile, 2021)
  • Int’l Competition – Special Mention: Have a Nice Dog! by Jalal Maghout (Germany/Syria, 2020)
  • Confrontations – 2nd Prize: Bestia 
  • Confrontations – Special Mention: The Train Station by Lyana Patrick (Canada, 2020)
  • Documentary – Special Mention: Red Gold by Carme Gomila (Spain, 2021)
  • Green Film: Migrants by Hugo Canby, Zoé Devise,Antoine Dupriez & Lucas Lermytte (France, 2020)
Legend of Sun Walker

Legend of Sun Walker

Immediately following AFM 2021 Online, the 17th Chinese American Film Festival kicked off in Los Angeles in a hybrid format. Among the 600 participating works, the Taiwanese 3D animated feature Legend of Sun Walker was the only film granted an in-person private screening, with the film’s director Adam Juang and producer Czarina Liu in attendance to represent production company Digital Frontier Motion Pictures Corp. Also in attendance were Hollywood heavyweights such as producer Andre Morgan (Oscar winner Million Dollar Baby), distributor Omar Kaczmarzyk and Special Achievement Academy Award-winning sound editor Richard L. Anderson. 

Based on the Chinese classic Journey to the West, The Legend of Sun Walker is Taiwan’s first immersive 3D animated feature film, set for release domestically and internationally in the summer of 2022. The big screen outing is intended to follow an AR mobile game and extend into a video game already in the works with Tempest Digital, unfolding into a full metaverse experience. 

ITFS - Black Is Back

ITFS – Black Is Back

The official trailer of the 29th Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS | May 3-8, 2022 | is now online, to be admired in full length. Titled Black Is Back, the signal film was created by François Chalet, a Swiss artist who teaches storytelling and expanded animation at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and works as a visual artist in the fields of illustration, animation, installation and performance as well as on cross-platform projects. Michael Fakesch is responsible for the sound; the music producer, sound designer, DJ, lecturer and film composer was one of the two founders and members of the electro duo Funkstörung and has worked for Björk, Wu-Tang Clan, Jean-Michel Jarre, Notwist and Nicolas Winding Refn.

“I had revised the 12 principles of animation in preparation for teaching at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts and once more had to realize how little I have actually mastered them,” Chalet noted in an interview with ITFS. “So, I thought it would make sense to focus on the fundamentals of animation once again. The trailer is about the ‘bouncing ball,’ ‘squash and stretch,’ ‘exaggeration,’ ‘expressions,’ failure, reduction and basic shapes, and naturally ‘à la sauce’ Chalet. Also, I really wanted to address for a moment the immersion in another world and the forgetting of our everyday life: The light in the film suddenly goes on and the hall is instantly illuminated by the inversion of the image. We see our neighbour sitting next to us in the cinema and want to immerse ourselves in the magic of animation again as quickly as possible.”

The Red Sea Fund announced its final selection, and will support over 90 projects from Saudi Arabia, the Arab World and Africa following over 650 submissions. The winning pitches in various stages of development and production include five animated features and two animated shorts:

  • Allah Is Not Obliged (Feature, Production) dir. Zaven Najjar, prod. Sébastien Onomo (France)
  • Birds Don’t Look Back (Feature, Development) dir. Nadia Nakhle, prod. Sébastien Onomo (France)
  • Juha (Arrival Journey) (Feature, Development) dir. Mahmoud Zaini, prod. Abdullah Bajaber (Saudi Arabia)
  • Land of Glory (Feature, Development) dir. Ahmed Salah El-Din Bilal, prod. Ehab Elkholey (Egypt) 
  • Spiky to the Core (Feature, Development) dir./prod. Nermeen  Salem (Egypt/Qatar)
  • For You (Short, Production) dir. Ethar Baamer, prod. Otbah Rayess (Saudi Arabia)
  • Simsim (Short, Development) dir. Madawi Aldughaither, prod. Nada Alfayez, Raed Alsemari (Saudi Arabia)
Attack on Titan exhibit at Anime Frontier

Attack on Titan exhibit at Anime Frontier

More Dates and Updates!

  • Anime Frontier Powered by Crunchyroll and Kodansha USA will present a collection of Hajime Isayama’s spectacular Attack on Titan manga art during the con. Dec. 3-5 | Fort Worth, TX | 
  • CARTOON BUSINESS is ready to delve into major trends in European animation with 16 conferences and 30 companies participating. Dec. 8-10 | Gran Canaria, Spain |
  • The 41st Anima festival and Futuranima pro days announced a VR masterclass with Uri Kranot, a making-of session for Where Is Anne Frank and spotlights on French and Czech animation. Feb. 25-Mar. 6, 2022 | Brussels, Belgium | 
  • FILMART (Hong Kong Int’l FIlm & TV Market) returns online next year; registration is now open. March 14-17, 2022 | 
  • MIPTV 2022 moves forward with a reshaped in-person event by RX France (formerly Reed MIDEM) which combines multiple specialty markets under one roof. APril 4-6, 2022 | Cannes, France |

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