Despite moving online for its final weekend, the New York International Children’s Film Festival still celebrated an inspiring lineup of shorts and features for 2020. The winning films were revealed Saturday, marking a big night for French animation My Life in Versailles (La Vie de Chateau), which won the short film Grand Prize, as well as the Audience Award (Ages 8-12) and Grown-Ups Award. The 2D piece by Clémence Madeleine Perdrillat & Nathaniel H’limi centers on a littler girl named Violette, who moves into the famous palace with her uncle, the caretaker.
The Jury Award for Animated Short, an Oscar-qualifying accolade, was bestowed on Grab My Hand: A Letter to My Dad (U.S.). Created by Camrus Johnson and Pedro Piccinini, the film’s bold vector art style animated a love letter from son to father to friend, reminding viewers that there’s no good reason to let affection go unexpressed. Grab My Hand screen in the NYICFF’s “Boys Beyond Boundaries” program, which for the third year showcased films that expand the way boys and men are portrayed on screen. (Trailer)
The Snail and the Whale — the latest loveable BBC Christmas special from multi-Oscar-nominated studio Magic Light Pictures — won over the youngest festivalgoers, earning the Audience Award (Agest 3-6). Featuring the voices of Sally Hawkins, Rob Brydon and Dame Diana Rigg, the adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s picture book (illustrated by Axel Scheffler) is a joyful, empowering story about a tiny snail who pursues her dream to see the world by hitching a ride on a humpback whale. (Trailer)
And scoring the Audience Award (Ages 6-8) this year is quirky non-dialog comedy Athleticus — the first series created by award-winning French director Nicolas Deveaux (1 meter/hour). The animation auteur once again plays with the beauty of nature by placing photoreal animals into unlikely athletic events, from hippos doing judo, to gymnast giraffes, to track & field tortoises. (Trailer)
Additional award winners were:
Jury Award for Best Live-Action Short: 3Feet, Giselle Geney (Colombia)
Audience Award, ages 13-17: 3Feet, Giselle Geney (Colombia)
Kids Feature Film Award: Rocca Changes the World, Katja Benrath (Germany)
Grown-Ups Feature Film Award: Fahim, the Little Chess Prince, Pierre-François Martin-Laval (France)
Grand Prize Feature Film Award, all ages: The Club of Ugly Children, Jonathan Elbers (Netherlands)
NYICFF runs screenings, field trips, film camps and more for kids and teens all year long. Visit https://nyicff.org/ to learn more and donate to keep these programs going.