'Sita Sings the Blues' at Annecy

Animation film festival fetes U.S. fare

PARIS -- Stars and stripes flew at the 32nd Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which bestowed its top prizes on U.S. titles when the six-day toon-filled fest wrapped in the southeastern French town Sunday night.

A feature film jury composed of "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening, Indian director Ram Mohan and U.K. filmmaker Barry Purves gave the Cristal for best feature to Nina Paley's "Sita Sings the Blues" and a special distinction award to Bill Plympton's "Idiots & Angels."

German filmmaker Hayo Freitag won the audience award for "The Three Robbers." The Cristal for best TV movie went to French director Francois Reczulski's "Moot Moot 'L'Enfer de la mode,' " and Leigh Hodgkinson won the special award for a TV series for his "Talented Mouse: 'Catnip,' 'Pest Controller' and 'Oasis.' "

The award for best TV special went to German filmmakers Saschka Unseid and Jakob Schuh's "Engel Zu Fuss."

More than 500 films screened, with 216 titles from 34 countries in official competition. About 115,000 tickets were sold for public screenings and 6,700 professionals from 63 countries attended the festival and parallel MIFA market, a 10% jump from last year.

The festival celebrated 100 years of animation with Emile Cohl, the international success of "The Simpsons" and put a spotlight on Indian cinema.