Search form

‘Little Nicolas’ and ‘My Father’s Dragon’ Take Top Honors at AIF 2022

The 5th annual Animation is Film featured juried competitions as well as the U.S. premiere of Henry Selick’s ‘Wendell & Wild,’ and first looks at Dreamwork Animation’s ‘Puss In Boots: The Last Wish’ and Disney’s ‘Strange World.’

Animation Is Film (AIF) wrapped up its fifth annual film festival, with the top honor, the Grand Jury Prize, going to Little Nicolas (Le Petit Nicolas), the feature film directed by Amandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre. The Special Jury Prize went to My Father’s Dragon, directed by Oscar nominee Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner). In addition, this year’s Audience Award was awarded to Aurora’s Sunrise, directed by Inna Sahakyan, and the Shorts Jury Prize was awarded to Ice Merchants, directed by João Gonzalez.

Little Nicolas previously took home a prestigious Cristal award at this summer’s Annecy Festival. The film follows the adventures of a mischievous boy and his schoolmates, teacher, and parents in Paris in the 1960s.

Twomey returned to AIF this year with her second film, My Father’s Dragon, making its North American Premiere. Her 2017 directorial debut, The Breadwinner, made its U.S. premiere at AIF, garnering both Jury and Audience prizes before earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Feature. My Father’s Dragon, a Netflix film, is based on the Newbery-winning children’s book and follows a young boy who runs away to an island to rescue and befriend a young dragon.

In addition to earning AIF’s Audience Award, Aurora’s Sunrise is this year’s Oscar entry from Armenia for Best International Feature. The animated documentary tells the story of the real-life silent movie star Aurora Mardiganian, who, as a young woman, escaped the Armenian genocide. It made its North American premiere at AIF and its world premiere earlier this year at the Annecy Festival.

The Animation Is Film Feature Competition Jury included Chris Butler (ParaNorman, Missing Link); Peter Debruge (Variety); Bill Desowitz (Indiewire); Julie Lockhart (Locksmith Animation); Charles Solomon (critic/historian); Christina Steinberg (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse); and Ramin Zahed (Animation Magazine). The Shorts Jury included Maureen Fan (Baobab Studios), Frank Gladstone (ASIFA-Hollywood), and Jade Seaberry (DiverseToons). 

"Animation Is Film is an idea and one that energizes cinephiles from around the world,” stated AIF Managing Director, Matt Kaszanek. “For our fifth edition in Hollywood, it was thrilling to embrace that idea with the largest audience in the festival's history! Congratulations, and thank you to all of our filmmakers and partners and to everyone who came out to celebrate with us.”

The 2022 Animation began October 21 with a weekend filled with an international slate of films, kicking off Friday evening with the U.S. premiere of Henry Selick’s Wendell & Wild. In addition, the weekend featured multiple special events, including a behind-the-scenes look at Dreamwork Animation’s Puss In Boots: The Last Wish with director Joel Crawford and a look at the upcoming Disney film Strange World.

AIF also hosted screenings for the Apple Original Films/Skydance Animation film Luck, Pixar’s Turning Red, and GKIDS’ Summer Ghost. In addition, there was a one-time-only theatrical presentation of all four episodes of Netflix/Tonko House’s series, Oni: Thunder God’s Tale. Other special sections included the popular Best of Annecy: Spotlight on Women Directors, presented in partnership with Annecy and Women in Animation.

AIF 2022 closed with a sneak peek of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio and an in-depth conversation between the multi-award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Shape of Water) and Oscar-winning filmmaker Phil Tippett (Mad God, Jurassic Park).

Partners for AIF 2022 included Apple Original Films; ASIFA-Hollywood; Cartoon Network; Crunchyroll; DreamWorks Animation; ELMA; Fathom Events; Gotham Group; Illumination; LAIKA; Locksmith Animation; Netflix; Nickelodeon; Paramount Animation; Pixar Animation Studios; Shout! Factory; Skydance Animation; Sony Pictures Animation; Walt Disney Animation; Warner Bros. Animation. Additional community partners include the Consulate General of France in Los Angeles; Consulate General of Ireland in Los Angeles; Culture Ireland; LatinX in Animation; Unifrance; and Women In Animation. The festival, founded by GKIDS and the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, presents a selection of new animated feature films from Asia, Europe, South America, and North America, with both juried and audience prizes. 

Source: Animation is Film

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.