‘Chicken For Linda!,’ ‘Robot Dreams’ Triumph at Annecy

Chiara Malta and Sébastien Laudenbach’s hand-painted marvel “Chicken for Linda!” took home dual honors at the Annecy Animation Festival on Saturday, scooping up the festival’s top prize, the Cristal Award for best feature, as well as the Gan Foundation award for distribution.

A bittersweet childhood tale that finds screwball humor in mourning and melancholy, the French-language film premiered to some acclaim out of Cannes’ ACID sidebar last month, and was picked up for North American distribution by Gkids while competing in Annecy.

“We wanted something both funny and affecting,” said co-director Chiara Malta. “The two elements were never in conflict, because we made the film for children, putting ourselves in their perspectives while adopting their language.”

“We wanted a [joyful mess],” added co-director Sébastien Laudenbach. “The film is sad and funny. It’s full of energy and emotion, and as a result, the graphic style is dynamic as well.”

Hungary’s Áron Gauder won the Jury Award for “Four Souls of Coyote,” which makes use of 2D and 3D animation to reframe a Native America creation myth as an epic adventure with an ecological conscience. The Hungarian filmmaker had previously won an Annecy Cristal for his 2005 comedy “The District!.”

Rounding out the main competition, director Tomohisa Taguchi claimed the Paul Grimault Award for  “The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes,” a magical realistic manga adaptation about a pair of teens who discover a fantastical tunnel that grants any wish, but at tremendous personal cost.

Top honors for Annecy’s parallel Contrechamp competition went to “Robot Dreams,” from Spain’s Pablo Berger. Here was another Cannes breakout and another bittersweet 2D tale of friendship, only this time between a robot and a dog in 1980s New York.

Adapted from a graphic novel by Sara Varon, the Spanish film swaps any-and-all spoken dialogue for some toe-tapping needle drops and silent comedy gags. Neon will release the film stateside later this year.

Filip Pošivač’s “Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light ” won the Contrechamp Jury Award, and Benoît Chieux’s festival opener “Sirocco and the Kingdom of Air Streams” snagged the Audience Award.

Marjolaine Perreten won Annecy’s Cristal for a TV production for “Pebble Hill,” a 29-minute short that follows a family of shrews as they move to higher ground in the wake of a flood, tracking them with quiet comedic style inspired by Jacques Tati.


Cristal for a Feature Film

“Chicken for Linda!” (Chiara Malta, Sebastien Laudenbach, France, Italy)

Jury Award

“Four Souls of Coyote” (Aron Gauder, Hungary)

Paul Grimault Award           

“The Tunnel to Summer, the Exit of Goodbyes” (Tomohisa Taguchi, Japan)

Gan Foundation Award for Distribution

“Chicken for Linda!” (Chiara Malta, Sebastien Laudenbach, France, Italy)

Contrechamp Grand Prix      

“Robot Dreams” (Pablo Berger, Spain, France)

Contrechamp Jury Award

“Tony, Shelly and the Magic Light” (Filip Pošivač, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia)

Audience Award

“Sirocco and the Kingdom of Air Streams” (Benoit Chieux, Belgium, France)


Cristal for a Short Film

“27” (Flóra Anna Buda, France, Hungary)

Jury Award

“Drijf” (Levi Stoops, Belgium)

Alexeïeff – Parker Award  [ex mention du jury]

“Eeva” (Morten Tšinakov, Lucija Mrzljak  Estonia, Croatia)

Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a First Film

“Our Uniform” (Yegane Moghaddam, Iran)

Off-Limits Award

“Is Heaven Blue? #2” (Menno De Nooijer Paul De Nooijer Norway, Netherlands)

Audience Award

“Nun or Never!” (Heta Jäälinoja, Finland)


Cristal for a TV Production

Pebble Hill (Marjolaine Perreten, Belgium, France, Switzerland)

First Jury Award for a TV Series

Shape Island “Square’s Big Prank”

(Drew Hodges, USA)

Second Jury Award for a TV Series

Scavengers Reign “The Wall”

(Vincent Tsui, USA)


Cristal for a Commissioned Film

November Ultra “Come Into My Arms” (Tamerlan Bekmurzayev, France)

Jury Award for a Commissioned Film

The Beatles “I’m Only Sleeping” (Em Cooper, UK)


Cristal for a Graduation Film

“La notte” (Martina Generali, Simone Pratola, Francesca Rosso, Italy)

Jury Award

“Harbourmaster” (Mia L. Henriksen, Konrad Hjemli, Norway)

Lotte Reiniger Award

“Mano” (Toke Madsen, Denmark)


Cristal for the Best VR Work

“Red Tail” (Fish Wang, Taiwan)


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