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Annecy 2021: 'Flee', 'Japan Sinks 2020' Among Prize Winners

This year's hybrid virtual/in-person edition of Annecy International Animation Festival has officially come to its climax, although content is still available to online pass-holders until the end of June. As with any other year, the festival ended with the prize-giving ceremony where the results of this year's completion are announced.

This year's selection was a strong line-up representing a wide variety of countries and covering all formats and media. Of course, even making it through as a selection is an honour and is something of a prize in itself. Nonetheless, the completion for the top prizes was fierce, and at the end of the day, there could be only one winner in each category. 

This year's big winner was Flee,  Jonas Poher Rasmussen's story of an Afghan man who came to Denmark as a refugee as a child.  Rasmussen's film received three awards, including the top prize of Cristal For A Feature Film. It was also awarded for the Best Original Music In A Feature Film and the Gan Foundation Award For Distribution.

Also in features, the Juried Prize went to Michaela Pavlatova's My Sunny Maad and The Juried Distinction to The Crossing. The Contrechamps award was given to Cesar Cabral's Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People unconventional fantasy biopic of Brazilian punk cartoonist Angeli. The Juried Contrechamps award went to non-narrative feature Archipeligo.

In short films, the Cristal went to Swiss film Peel from Samuel Patthey and Silvain Monney. Nicolas Keppens' Easter Eggs was the Juried recipient. The Juried Distinction for "Special Distinction In Direction" in the shorts category went to Affairs Of The Art, the newest film from British indie animation icon Joanna Quinn.

Director Mélanie Robert won the "Jean-Luc Xiberras" Award For First Film for  French-Belgian production Hold Me Tight.  Australia's Vladimir Todorovic won the Off-Limits competition for his short Tunable Mimoid.

In the TV and Commissioned Film category, the Cristal For TV Production went to French-Swiss TV Special Vanille.  Annecy favourite Masaaki Yuasa won the Juried TV Prize for his Netflix series Japan Sinks 2020: The Beginning Of The End.  French 2D production Mum Is Pouring Rain was awarded the Juried Prize For A TV Special.

In Commissioned Films, the Cristal was awarded to the Kai music video A Little Too Late, from acclaimed filmmaker Martina Scarpelli.  The Juried Award in the category went to Norewigan public-information films Help! We Have A Blind Patient.

The future of animation was represented by the Graduate Film Awards. This year's winners were China's Zehao Li for Hippocampus and Hungarian animator Marcell Mostoha for Avant, winning the Cristal and Juried Awards respectively.  Additionally, a Juried Distinction Award For Outstanding Art Direction went to Shih-Yen Huang's Butterfly Jam. This year's Cristal For A VR Project went to Johnathan Hagard's short Replacements.

My Friend Who Shines In The Night

Finally, we come to the "Special Prizes". The City Of Annecy Prize went to Kosovan production Clara with a Mustache, while the winner of The YouTube Prize was Postpartum. Local work was celebrated with the Andre-Martin Awards- the prize For A French Short Film going to Maalbeek and the French Feature going to Anca Damian's Marona's Fantastic Tale.

As mentioned earlier the Best Music Award For A Feature was awarded to Flee.  The Best Music Award For A Short Film went to The Awakenings Of The Insects. Canadian First Nation's short The Shaman's Apprentice was awarded the FIPRESCI Award, which is voted on by international film journalists. 

The Festival's younger attendees also had their say. The Young Audience Award went to Kiko And The Animals, while the Canal Plus Junior Jury award went to stop-motion short A Stone In The Shoe. The Junior Juries chose People In Motion for the Short Film award, with GOBELINS film My Friend Who Shines In The Night their pick for Graduate Film.

The final award for this year, The Festivals Connexion Award was given to Chilean short Beast.

After last year's all virtual festival and this year's hybrid, it's hopeful that by this time next year the festival will be able to go ahead as normal next year. Annecy International Animation Festival 2022 will take place from June 13 to 18,. The 2022 country focus will be Switzerland.