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"Josep" "Josep"

The animated biopic Josep won best animated feature at the European Film Awards (EFA), which held a livestreamed virtual edition on Saturday.

Josep marks the feature directorial debut of French comic artist and political cartoonist Aurelien Froment (better known by his pen name Aurel), and tells the story of Spanish illustrator Josep Bartoli, who fled Franco’s dictatorship in Spain in 1939, only to end up interned in a French concentration camp that had been set up to detain political refugees. Bartoli later escaped to Mexico, where he became Frida Kahlo’s lover.

The film has enjoyed a positive reception this year; it was one of four animated features selected for the official Cannes line-up, but after the festival was cancelled, it ended up debuting at the online Annecy festival in June. It has earned received excellent reviews. “As real people buffeted by history go,” wrote Lisa Nesselson in Screen Daily, “Bartoli is entirely worthy of a feature-length animated film. His authentic artwork is used throughout the film to great effect … A harsh history lesson as well as a good yarn, this visually arresting endeavour registers strongly at a time when refugees account for a record 1% of the world’s population.”

Here is Aurel’s acceptance speech at the European Film Awards:

The other nominees in the EFA category were Rémi Chayé’s Calamity (France/Denmark), Sergio Pablos’s Klaus (Spain), and Andrey Khrzhanovsky’s The Nose or the Conspiracy of Mavericks (Russia).

Five of the last ten winners of the EFA animated feature award have also been nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature.

The EFA award for European Short Film combines both animated and live-action films in the same category. Two of the five nominees in the category this year were animated — Regina Pessoa’s Uncle Thomas: Accounting for the Days (Portugal/Canada) and Adrien Mérigeau’s Genius Loci (France) — but the category winner was a live-action short, All Cats are Grey in the Dark (Lasse Linder, Switzerland).