A Letter to Momo” wins at NY children’s festival

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Momo E No Tegami (A Letter To Momo)

Momo E No Tegami (A Let­ter To Momo)

The ani­mated “A Let­ter to Momo,” a beau­ti­fully hand-drawn tale com­binin­ing bursts of whimsy, kinetic humor and deep-felt emo­tion (and gob­lins!), won the Grand Prize Fea­ture award at Sunday’s con­clu­sion of the New York Inter­na­tional Children’s Film Festival.

Directed by Hiroyuki Okiura, A Let­ter to Momo had its United States pre­miere at the fest. Mit­suhisa Ishikawa, exec­u­tive pro­ducer and CEO of Japan’s Pro­duc­tion I.G. stu­dio, accepted the award.

Direc­tor Nan­dita Jain attended to accept both the Spe­cial Jury Award for Best Ani­mated Short and the Par­ents Award for her film The Sto­ry­teller, an Indian-British co-production. The film already won Best Ani­ma­tion at the LA Shorts Fes­ti­val and Best School Ani­ma­tion at Cór­doba Inter­na­tional Ani­ma­tion Fes­ti­val (ANIMA) in Argentina.

Based on a myth from South­ern India, the short tells the poignant story of a grand­fa­ther who strug­gles to remem­ber Nir­mala, his granddaughter’s, favorite story. How­ever, she takes up the sto­ry­teller role in the hope of rid­ding it of the demons within her grandfather’s version.

The Audi­ence Award (Ages 3–6) went to The Gruffalo’s Child, directed by Uwe Hei­d­schöt­ter and Johannes Wei­land of the United Kingdom.

Com­bin­ing com­puter ani­ma­tion with live footage with com­puter ani­ma­tion, Extinc­tion of the Saber­tooth House Cat, by Damon Wong of the United States, won the Audi­ence Award (Ages 5–10). A par­ody of earth-plunging aster­oid doc­u­men­taries typ­i­cally seen on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel, this short film reveals the last remain­ing minute of the pre­his­toric Saber­tooth House-Cat exis­tence in evo­lu­tion­ary history.

Jury mem­bers included Oscar-winning ani­ma­tor John Cane­maker (The Moon and the Son) and award-winning writer-director-animator Michel Ocelot (Kirikou and the Sor­cer­ess, Tales of the Night).

Estab­lished in 1997, NYICFF is an Oscar-qualifying event and North America’s largest film fes­ti­val for chil­dren and teens. This year’s edi­tion attracted a sold-out-in-advance audi­ence of 25,000.

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