Fantasia winners 2021 Fantasia winners 2021

Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival wrapped up its hybrid 25th edition. Its awards ceremony was held last Wednesday.

The top feature animation prize went to Cryptozoo, Dash Shaw’s trippy allegory about conservation, greed, and the military-industrial complex. The film, which is on release in the U.S., had previously won at Sundance. Watch a video interview with Shaw and animation director Jane Samborski below:

Fantasia’s biggest animation winner was Mad God, an experimental stop-motion feature from special effects legend Phil Tippett, which had its North American premiere at the festival. The film won three awards: two from the audience and one sponsored by magazine L’Écran Fantastique.

The magazine’s verdict: “Delirious, baroque, cruel, inventive, this film, visibly influenced by creators such as Lovecraft, Bosch, Jules Verne, Svankmajer, and Kubrick (!), perfectly embodies the spirit of Heavy Metal, so dear to a large segment of fantasticophiles.”

There were two winners from countries whose animation is rarely honored at major festivals. Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story is an adult rom-com produced by the Philippines’ Rocketsheep Studio, and streaming on Netflix; the audience gave it their silver animation award. Meanwhile, the animation jury awarded its top short film award to Seen It, a comic tale of fantasy creatures directed by Kerala, India-based animator Adithi Krishnadas.

The animation jury consisted of Hefang Wei (animator, co-founder of Weilaï Productions, art director of Kazak Productions); Ashkan Rahgozar (author, director, founder and CEO of Hoorakhsh Studios); and Kalp Sanghvi (director, writer, co-founder of Ghost Animation Collective).

Here’s the full list of animation winners, along with jury commentary:

Best Feature

Cryptozoo, dir. Dash Shaw (U.S.)

“This film is a psychedelic paean, it is a modern and fascinating mythological painting, and it is also a strong political metaphor.”

Special Jury Mention

Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko, dir. Ayumu Watanabe (Japan)

“The jury mention award goes to Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko because of its creative storytelling and stunning animation.”

Best Short Film: Gold

Seen It, dir. Adithi Krishnadas (India)

“This film instantly stuck to me in terms of its graphic style. Lovely visuals and brilliant portrayal of haunting experiences with the use of humor.”

Best Short Film: Silver

Ghost Dogs, dir. Joe Cappa (U.S.)

“This film is about a dog’s feelings during midnight. The author’s sense of humor and the creepiness of the environment elicit a strange and fantastic emotion in the viewer.”

Best Short Film: Bronze

Mondo Domino, dir. Suki (France)

“Because of the important message of the film, its outstanding animation, and music.”

Audience Animation Award: Gold

Mad God, dir. Phil Tippett (U.S.)

Audience Animation Award: Silver

Hayop Ka! The Nimfa Dimaano Story, dir. Avid Liongoren (Philippines)

Audience Animation Award: Bronze

The Deer King, dirs. Masashi Ando & Miyaji Masayuki (Japan)

Audience Award for Best International Short: Bronze

Death and the Winemaker, dir. Victor Jaquier (Switzerland)

Audience Award for Best Canadian Short: Silver

Fruit, dir. Ivan Li (Canada)

Audience’s Most Groundbreaking Film of the Festival

Mad God, dir. Phil Tippett (U.S.)

L’Écran Fantastique Award

Mad God, dir. Phil Tippett (U.S.)

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