Sundance 2021 Sundance 2021

On Tuesday, this year’s virtual Sundance Film Festival wrapped up with the awards ceremony, at which 24 prizes were handed out for features and seven for shorts. The only two animated features in competition, Cryptozoo and Flee, were among the winners.

Cryptozoo, directed and written by Dash Shaw, was awarded the Next Innovator Prize presented by Adobe. With a cast starring Lake Bell and Michael Cera, the story centers on cryptozookeepers’ struggle to capture a legendary creature, while wondering if such beasts should be displayed or kept secret.

On Tuesday, Variety reported that Magnolia Pictures had acquired the North American distribution rights. Shaw’s debut animated feature, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea (2016), was distributed in the United States by Gkids, grossing just $68,883.

The World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Documentary went to Flee, directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen. The film tells the story of Amin Nawabi, who fled from Afghanistan to Denmark alone as a child and has since made a life for himself as an academic. On the cusp of his marriage to his long-time boyfriend, a secret he has been hiding for 20 years threatens to ruin his life.

Nawabi, a pseudonym, co-wrote the film with Ramussen. Actors Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau executive-produced the film, which debuted on the opening night of Sundance in the World Documentary Competition.

Previously, we covered Flee’s North American distribution deal: the film was picked up by Neon for an undisclosed seven-figure sum.

Souvenir Souvenir was awarded the Short Film Jury Award: Animation. Director and writer Bastien Dubois shared on his website that the film is about his relationship with his grandfather, who was a soldier during the Algerian War. Dubois’s 2009 short Madagascar, Carnet de voyage was nominated for an Oscar.

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