Annecy: 'My Life as a Courgette' Takes Top Prize

Courtesy of Blue Spirit/Gebeka
'My Life as a Courgette'

The film premiered in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar at Cannes to rave reviews.

The stop-motion My Life as a Courgette took both the top prize and the audience award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, it was announced Saturday.

The film, which was an entry in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, is the first feature from Swiss director Claude Barras and is based on the novel by Gilles Paris. It was adapted for the big screen by Cesar-nominated French writer-director Celine Sciamma (Girlhood).

The story depicts the growing pains of an awkward orphan, and is geared more towards adults than children. It received rave reviews at Cannes, and securing a seat for the France-Switzerland co-production at the several scheduled Annecy screenings was nearly impossible.

Despite the difficult topic, The Hollywood Reporter's Boyd van Hoeij called the film "sunny for the soul."

The jury distinction also was given to a French film, and another that is geared for an older audience, La Jeune fille sans mains (The Young Girl Without Hands) by Sebastien Laudenbach. In the film — adapted from a Brothers Grimm story and told in the sparse style of Chinese calligraphy — a father sells his daughter to the devil in exchange for gold. The pic appeared in the unofficial ACID sidebar in Cannes.

The two films were among a strong competition slate this year that included Ann Marie Fleming’s feature debut Window Horses, Penny Lane’s Sundance hit Nuts!, Maxim Volkov’s Sheep and Wolves and Sang-ho Yeon’s zombie thriller Seoul Station.

In the short film categories, Franck Dion’s The Head Vanishes took the top honor; Joanna Rytel’s Moms on Fire received the jury distinction; the jury award went to Theodore Ushey’s Vaysha l’Aveugle (Blind Vaysha); and Nita Cronje won the Jean-Luc Xiberras award for first film for her An Ordinary Blue Monday Morning. David Coquard-Dassault’s Peripheria took the audience prize.

The prize winners close a year in which the festival world-premiered Illumination's Minions follow-up, The Secret Life of Pets, and hosted several big previews, including 20 minutes of final footage from Ice Age: Collision Course and scenes from the Alec Baldwin-voiced Boss Baby.