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First-time director Denis Do’s Funan won the grand prize and audience award at the Animation Is Film Festival, which wrapped Sunday at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood.
Additionally, Bunuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles took home a special jury prize “for its innovative handling of unexpected subject matter.” The film, co-written and directed by Salvador Simó, captures the moment in the lives of surrealist filmmaker Buñuel and his friend and new benefactor Ramón as they set out to make an ambitious documentary on the Las Hurdes region in Spain.
Funan, which had its North American premiere at the fest, was written and helmed by Do and tell the story of a young mother’s fight to hold onto her family in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime.
“Funan reminds us that animation can tell any kind of story,” said jury chair Peter Debruge of Variety. “This versatile medium is by no means limited to fantastical or extraordinary subjects, but is in fact uniquely suited to incredibly personal ones as well. With Funan, director Denis Do explores what his Cambodian mother experienced at the hands of the Khmer Rouge regime, finding unexpected beauty within the horror of the situation. The jury agreed that the profound result actually feels more powerful by virtue of being made in animation. We were thrilled to watch all the films in competition this year, and to be reminded of the incredible diversity in subject, style and sensibility to be found in this seemingly limitless art form.”
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Carolyn Giardina also served as a jury member.
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