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Animation Is Film Awards ‘Flee’ Top Prize, Announces Other 2021 Winners

Animation Is Film has announced the winners of its fourth annual film festival. The organization has awarded the grand prize, its top honor, to “Flee.”

Written and directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, “Flee” follows the story of Awin Nawabi, an Afghan refugee who is suddenly forced to face life-altering effects of a secret that he has kept for 20 years. Neon and Participant are distributing the film.

“In the touching and innovative documentary ‘Flee,’ Jonas Poher Rasmussen takes great care in sharing the personal history of an Afghan refugee. The filmmaker uses the process of animation to protect the identity of his subject, while also bringing an added layer to the material, capturing the impact of trauma on memory and identity in the process,” stated Jury chair and Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge.

The special jury prize was awarded to “Belle.” Writer-director Mamoru Hosuda’s film chronicles the adventures of a 17-year-old high school student. GKIDS is handling the films domestic theatrical distribution.

“With extraordinary visual imagination and technical skill, Mamoru Hosoda reinvents the classic Beauty and the Beast story for this century. In his telling, a teenage Belle finds her voice and takes a stand on an important social issue,” commented Debruge.

The audience award was given to “The Crossing,” which follows a pair of children separated from their parents and forced to face the world alone. Florence Miailhe directs.

The Animation Is Film Festival was held from Oct. 22-24 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres in Hollywood. The event featured a program of 12 animated feature films in competition, with entries coming from all over the globe.

“At a time when audiences everywhere are still easing back into theatres, we were positively awestruck by the steady hum of enthusiasm on display this weekend at Animation Is Film,” AIF director Matt Kaszanek said in a statement. “With sold-out screenings every day of the festival, Los Angeles announced itself once again as an epicenter for cinema and animation lovers. We were so happy to see everyone again.”

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