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AwardsFeature FilmStop Motion

‘My Life As A Zucchini’ Beat Out 4 Live-Action Films For Switzerland’s Top Film Award

The Academy Awards may be over, but the remarkable run of Academy Award nominee My Life As A Zucchini isn’t, and the film continues to pick up major honors.

Last Friday, in Geneva, Switzerland, Claude Barras’ stop motion film earned the country’s top film prize for Best Fiction Film. It’s fitting since the film was widely recognized as the best Swiss production made last year and had been selected as Switzerland’s entry for the foreign language category of the Academy Awards.

The other nominees in the category, all live-action films, were Aloys, The Divine Order, Un Juif pour l’exemple, and Marija.

It’s rare when an animated feature isn’t discriminated against because of its technique and allowed to compete against live-action films. It’s nearly unheard of when an animated feature actually wins in a film award category that also contains live-action films. The Swiss film community should be commended for recognizing animation for what it truly is — film — and judging it accordingly.

Zucchini also won for best film score at the Swiss Film Awards. Further, a Special Academy Award was presented to Marie-Eve Hildbrand, the casting director of Zucchini, who used an unusually immersive technique to record the voices of the children in the French version of the film. Clips from the voice record sessions can be seen below:

The best animated film was awarded to the short Au revoir Balthazar by Rafael Sommerhalder:

Adding to its winning weekend, Zucchini picked up two awards last Saturday at the Monstra animation festival in Lisbon, Portugal, including the grand prize in the feature film competition. It also won the audience award at the festival. The feature jury at Monstra consisted of Andrea Basilio, Claudia Bolshaw, Olivier Cotte, Pedro Brito, and Zsuzsanna Kreif.

My Life As A Zucchini is currently screening in theaters across the United States. After five weeks, it has has earned $261,881.

Distributor GKIDS is launching the film in new U.S. cities every weekend. This weekend, the film will open in Iowa City, Iowa; Durham, North Carolina; Providence, Rhode Island; Gainesville, Florida; Okemos, Michigan; Port Orchard, Washington; Spokane, Washington; Hartford, Connecticut; and Normal, Illinois. For a complete list of theaters where the film is screening, visit MyLifeAsAZucchini.com.

  • Inkan1969

    Congratulations to “Zucchini”. It’s an honor well deserved for its realistic and optimistic characterizations and its appealing direction.

  • Tomm

    Congratulations to a beautiful film – sure wish the box office matched the awards though- hard to see why it’s not capturing audiences imaginations ….

    • AmidAmidi

      The sad reality is that animated films have little shot of capturing the attention of a significant audience in the U.S. unless they’re backed by a multi-million-dollar marketing campaign. The major studios saturate children’s tv, billboards, print, fast food restaurants, movie theaters, toy stores, supermarkets, everywhere, with the handful of films that they release every year.

      When kids go to theaters, they see cardboard character displays promoting films from major studios and they see trailers for the major studio films, and these promos match what they see back at home on the children’s networks and what appears on their bags of snacks that their parents give them to take to school. It’s an elaborately constructed system designed to eliminate all but the most deep-pocketed players, which in animation is the Big Six: Disney, Universal, Fox, WB, Paramount, and Sony. The quality of the film is incidental to this entire system, which is why we’re often left scratching our heads when great films like Zucchini are unable to break out in the U.S.

      • Joe Blow

        Maybe one of the Big Six could release one of these films in the US?

        • Dusty Ayres

          If they did, they’d only do said releases through their boutique divisions.

    • Inkan1969

      Actually, I went to this website

      http://www.boxofficemojo.com/studio/chart/?studio=gkids.htm

      and I noticed that the movies GKids release in the US tend to have a per-theater-average of only between $600 and $1500. I’m not trying to make the box office the main goal, but I really wonder if there’s something that GKids marketing can do differently to make that per-theater-average much higher.

      • Tomm

        Yes within the confines of a limited release I realise the box office can’t be that high but surely a film like this could be expected to break a million ?

        • Dusty Ayres

          It would need a major marketing push similar to the one for Boss Baby and Zootopia, which the major studios won’t/wouldn’t do for a movie like this-it would be farmed out to the specialty division.

  • All I now want to know is whether there’ll be an cinematic release for Zucchini over here in the UK. This is the sort of film I want to see, prefarably in its original language over the GKIDs English dub, but that’s me. The effort they went into recording non-actors in that sound-proof studio is sort of attention that makes an animated film go beyond the usual Wester marketing ploys, and a ‘children’s’ film that’s not ashamed of it too.
    The short, Au revoir Balthazar ,sounds unusual in a good way.