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Fantasia Awards Cryptozoo, Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko, Mad God and More

The 25th Edition of Montreal's Fantasia Festival concluded as it always has, with the announcement of the prize winners of the festival's competition. Awards are voted on both by the year's jury and by the (this year, virtual) festival attendees in multiple categories. There are multiple awards for animation in the dedicated Axis category, including the prestigious Satoshi Kon Award for Best Animation.

This year's festival included 25 world premieres, 12 International Premieres and 34 North American Premieres. This included a strong lineup of animated features from around the world and dozens of shorts. The Axis jury for 2021 comprised jury president Hefang Wei (animator, Weilaï Productions Co-Founder, Kazak Productions Art Director) and comprised of Ashkan Rahgozar (author, director, Founder and CEO of Hoorakhsh Studios) and Kalp Sanghvi (director, writer, Co-Founder of Ghost Animation Collective).

The Best feature was awarded to Dash Shaw's Cryptozoo. The jury commented, "this film is a psychedelic paean, it is a modern and fascinating mythological painting, and it is also a strong political metaphor."  The Juried Special Mention went to Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko "because of its creative storytelling and stunning animation.”

Indian animator Adithi Krishnadas was awarded the Gold in Best Animated Short for Seen It. "This film instantly stuck [out] to me in terms of its graphic style. Lovely visuals and brilliant portrayal of haunting experiences with the use of humour" the jury commented.  Joe Cappa's Ghost Dogs was selected for the Silver award. "This film is about a dog's feelings during midnight," said the Jury. " The author’s sense of humour and the creepiness of the environment elicit a strange and fantastic emotion in the viewer." The Bronze award went to Mondo Domino, from French director Suki "because of the important message of the film, its outstanding animation, and music."

The Gold Audience Award for animated feature went to Phil Tippet's Mad God, which the audience also voted the Most Groundbreaking Film of the festival.  The Silver audience award went to Filipino romantic comedy Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimano Story and the Bronze went to Masashi Ando and Miyaji Masayuki's anime feature The Deer King. Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist was also the Bronze winner in the Documentary Audience Award.

Tippet's opus was also named the recipient of the L'Écran Fantastique Award, awarded every year by the French-language magazine of the same name.  In a statement,  L'Écran Fantastique explained their reason for selecting the film:

The 2021 Prix L'Écran Fantastique is awarded to Phil Tippett's animated feature MAD GOD. In addition to being an uncompromising work, the film seduces with its waking-nightmare qualities. Delirious, baroque, cruel, inventive, this film, visibly influenced by creators such as Lovecraft, Bosch, Jules Verne, Svankmajer and Kubrick (!), perfectly embodies the spirit of Heavy Metal, so dear to a large segment of fantasticophiles. We're betting that with each viewing, new answers will be given to the many mysteries of its narrative.

Fantasia will return for its 26th edition in 2022- hopefully in a more traditional format.