EmptyStars and stripes
A pair of U.S. titles grabbed the top prizes Sunday night as the 32nd annual Annecy International Animated Film Festival wrapped in the southeastern French town. A jury that included "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening gave the best feature Cristal to Nina Paley's "Sita Sings the Blues" and a special distinction award to Bill Plympton's "Idiots & Angels." Germany's Hayo Freitag took the audience prize for "The Three Robbers." The nod for best telefilm went to French director Francois Reczulski's "Moot Moot 'L'Enfer de la mode.' "
Dutch director David Verbeek will premiere his look at life in Shanghai, "City of Trance," at the Shanghai International Film Festival on Saturday. "Trance" is based on Verbeek's observations from more than two years living in China's commercial capital and largest city. The film's budget of about $773,000 came from the Dutch Film Fund and the CoBo Fund and was aided by co-production help from Motel Films and the Shanghai Film Group.
Kinotavr, Russia's top local film festival, ended Sunday with the surprise victory by a first-time feature director. "Shultes" by freshman helmer Bakur Bakuradze, a drama about a pickpocket who loses his memory after a car accident, earned the top film award. Veteran Alexander Proshkin, meanwhile, picked up the directing nod for World War II drama "Live and Remember."