Dutchman Michael Dudok de Wit’s debut feature The Red Turtle (La Tortue Rouge) can now claim to have won a prize at the first festival in which it screened: Cannes.

At the award ceremony last night for the festival’s Un Certain Regard category, Dudok de Wit’s film, co-produced by Studio Ghibli, won the special jury prize (which, while not the top prize in the category, is still a noteworthy achievement). It was one of 18 films competing in the Cannes sidebar, and the only animated film in the group.

Dudok de Wit’s film is next headed to Annecy, where it will be the festival’s opening night film.

Sony Pictures Classic (SPC), the media conglomerate’s autonomous art house arm, announced a few days ago that it has acquired the film for distribution in the United States. SPC will be gunning for its first Oscar nomination in the feature animation category since Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist.

Prima Linea Productions handled the animation production on Red Turtle; other companies involved in the production and financing of the film include Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions, Arte France Cinema, CN4 Productions, and Belvision.

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