‘Memoir of a Snail,’ ‘Flow’ Split Feature Honors at Annecy, ‘Percebes’ Wins Best Short

The Annecy Animation Festival hosted its closing ceremony on Saturday, where there were two clear winners from the main feature film competition. Adam Elliot’s “Memoir of a Snail” took Annecy’s top award, the Cristal for best feature, and Gints Zilbalodis’ “Flow” scooped just about everything else.

Australian stop-motion feature “Memoir of a Snail” is the latest from Elliot, an Academy Award winner who scored the animated short statue in 2004 with his stop-motion film “Harvie Krumpet.” This time around, the director offers the heartstring-pulling story of Grace Pudel, a lonely misfit who loves collecting snails.

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“There’s a magic to 100%-CG-free stop-motion, with its cellophane flames and tears made of sexual lubricant,” wrote Variety Chief Film Critic Peter Debruge in his review of the film. “Don’t be surprised if ‘Memoir’ has you shedding real ones in your seat.”

Zilbalodis’ “Flow” won a four-pack of honors at this year’s festival: the Gan Foundation Award for Distribution, the Audience Award and the Jury Award, as well as the special prize for best original music, awarded on Friday evening.

“Flow,” a Latvia-Belgium-France co-production, was a favorite heading into this year’s Annecy on the heels of a standout reception in Cannes. “After dedicating a solitary three and a half years to the making of ‘Away,’ ‘Flow’ represents the supportive coming-together of a team,“ says the Variety review. The film will now hope to follow a recently worn path for animated features, such as “Robot Dreams” and “I Lost My Body,” which starts at Cannes, passes through Annecy, and ends at the Academy Awards with an Oscar nomination.

The Grand Prix from this year’s Contrechamp competition strand went to Isabel Herguera’s Spanish feature “Sultana’s Dream,” a three-part painterly feature driven by a Spanish artist living in India who discovers a (real-life) book about a land where women rule and men live in seclusion. Nearing the end of its festival run, the film previously scored a pair of awards at San Sebastian and a best international feature win at Anima-Brussels.

Portugal was this year’s Annecy Country of Honor and, appropriately, the Cristal for best short went to “Percebes” from Portuguese filmmakers Alexandra Ramires and Laura Gonçalves, both tapped as Portuguese talents to track by Variety at the start of this year’s festival. Gonçalves’ previous film, “The Garbage Man,” on which Ramires worked as an animator, competed at Annecy and won best short at Zagreb in 2022. Ramires’s 2020 short “Tie,” on which Gonçalves worked as an animator, screened in competition at Zagreb and Toronto.

Animated in painterly 2D and produced by BAP – Animation Studio, “Percebes” exemplifies Portugal’s greatest animation achievement to date: Shorts and occasional features of high artistic ambition and social point. It is also set apart by its extraordinary real-life soundtrack, a technique Gonçalves perfected in “The Garbage Man.”

This year’s top TV film was Sophie Roze’s “The Drifting Guitar,” a charming 30-minute spot made using cut-outs and puppet animation. Roze’s 2010 stop-motion short “Les escargots de Joseph” was nominated for a European Film Award, and in 2012, she won best-animated film at the Dresden Film Festival with “Whale Bird.”

The 2024 Cristal for a commissioned film went to Will Anderson’s Pictoplasma “Opener 2023.”  Anderson is a BATFA-winning filmmaker from Scotland whose short “The Making of Longbird” won best graduation film at Annecy in 2012.

Daniel Sterlin-Altman, a Film University Babelsberg Konrad Wolf alum, won the Cristal for a graduation short with “Carroptica,” a stop-motion offering about anthropomorphized carrots navigating lust and loneliness in the queerest of ways. This one is for adults only.

Boris Labbé’s short “Glass House” won the Off Limits Award. The honor is noteworthy as the film was made using generative AI, and Labbé featured in an Annecy roundtable about the use of artificial intelligence in animation. Several films which featured AI-generated artwork were booed at this year’s festival and Annecy distributing a prize to one of the showcased films will certainly raise a few eyebrows.

On Thursday evening, Annecy awarded animation super-producer Bonnie Arnold (“How to Train Your Dragon,” “Toy Story”) with the festival’s Golden Ticket during a reception for members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

In addition to unveiling this year’s award winners, Annecy announced that Hungary will be next year’s country of honor.

Below, a complete list of this year’s Annecy prize winners, including Special Prizes unveiled on Friday evening.

FEATURE FILMS

Cristal for a Feature Film

“Memoir of a Snail,” (Adam Elliot, Australia)

Jury Award

“Flow,” (Gints Zilbalodis, Latvia, Belgium, France)

Audience Award

“Flow,” (Gints Zilbalodis, Latvia, Belgium, France)

Gan Foundation Award for Distribution

“Flow,” (Gints Zilbalodis, Latvia, Belgium, France)

Paul Grimault Award      

“Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window,” (Shinnosuke Yakuwa, Japan)

CONTRECHAMP FEATURES

Grand Prix 

“Sultana’s Dream,” (Isabel Herguera, Spain, Germany)

Jury Award

“Living Large,” (Kristina Dufková, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France)

SHORT FILMS

Cristal for a Short Film

“Percebes,” ( Alexandra Ramires, Laura Gonçalves, Portugal, France)

Jury Award

“The Car That Came Back from the Sea,” (Jadwiga Kowalska, Switzerland)

Audience Award

“Hurikán,” (Jan Saska, Czech Republic, France, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Off-Limits Award

“Glass House,” (Boris Labbé, France)

Alexeïeff – Parker Award

“Beautiful Men,” (Nicolas Keppens, Belgium, France, Netherlands)

Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a First Film

“[S],” (Mario Radev, U.K.)

TV AWARDS

Cristal for a TV Production

“The Drifting Guitar,” (Sophie Roze, France, Switzerland)

Jury Award for a TV Series

“My Life in Versailles “Versailles Ghost”,” (Clémence Madeleine-Perdrillat, Nathaniel H’limi, France, Luxembourg)

Jury Award for a TV Special

“Lola et le Piano à bruits,” (Augusto Zanovello, France, Poland, Switzerland)

Audience Award

“The Drifting Guitar,” (Sophie Roze, France, Switzerland)

COMMISSIONED FILMS

Cristal for a Commissioned Film

“Pictoplasma,” (Will Anderson, U.K.)

Jury Award for a Commissioned Film

“TED-Ed ‘How Did South African Apartheid Happen, and How Did It Finally End?’,” (Aya Marzouk, U.S., South Africa, Egypt)

GRADUATION FILMS

Cristal for a Graduation Film

“Carrotica,” (Daniel Sterlin-Altman, Germany)

Jury Award

“Pubert Jimbob,” (Quirijn Dees, Belgium)

Lotte Reiniger Award

“Maatitel,” (Govinda Sao, India)

VR WORKS

Cristal for the Best VR Work

“Gargoyle Doyle,” (Ethan Shaftel, U.S., Austria, Argentina)

SPECIAL PRIZES

City of Annecy Award

“The Meatseller,” (Margherita GiustI, Italy)

France TV Award for a Short Film

“The Car That Came Back from the Sea,” (Jadwiga Kowalska, Switzerland)

André Martin Award for a French Short Film

“Butterfly,” (Florence Miailhe, France)

Best Original Music Award for a Short Film

“Joko,” (Aliaksandr Yasinski, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic)

Best Original Music Award for a Feature Film

“Flow,” (Rihards Zalupe, Gints Zilbalodis, Latvia, Belgium, France)

Young Audience Award

“Hello Summer,” (Martin Smatana, Veronika Zacharová, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France)

Canal+ Junior Jury Award

“Noodles au Naturel,” (Matteo Salanave Piazza, France)

Festivals Connexion Award

“Beautiful Men,” (Nicolas Keppens, Belgium, France, Netherlands)

Festivals Connexion VR Award

“Emperor,” (Marion Burger, Ilan Cohen, France, Germany)

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