The Last Belle wins top animation award in R.I.

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Rhode Island International Film Festival

Rhode Island International Film Festival

The Last Belle,” by Neil Boyle of the United Kingdom, won the Grand award in Animation at FLICKERS: Rhode Island International Film Festival.

In the 20-minute 2011 film, two characters journey towards a blind date: Wally, who suffers a nightmarish drunken trip through London as he races against the clock to the rendezvous; and Rosie, who waits in a bar dreaming of how wonderful her date is going to be…if he ever turns up. The film had its New England premiere at the fest.

RIIFF announced the award winners Sunday from its 16th annual awards ceremony held at The Vets in downtown Providence.

Held from August 7 to 12, the festival had another record-breaking year in attendance for ticket buyers and filmmakers.

Two films tied for First in the Animation category: Nuru (dir. Micheal Palmaers; Belgium, 2011) and Zing (dir. Kyra Buschor; Germany, 2012).

The 14-minute Nuru is set in an abandoned zoo. The zoo itself is inspired by the Antwerp Zoo in the 19th century and is covered in a mysterious environment reminding of the Rene Magritte painting The Empire of Light. Under a radiating sunny sky, the landscape is covered in darkness. The opportunistic director of the abandoned zoo instructs a doctor to do some medical experiments on a gorilla, one of the few animals left in the zoo. If the experiment turns out well, the zoo could again become the great attraction it once was.

In Zing, day in, day out, Mr. Grimm is busy with his job as the Reaper, harvesting people’s lives. One day, his monotonous existence is interrupted by the doorbell. It’s a little girl. She wants her cat back. Little does she know that she’s the next life on Mr. Grimm’s list.

Fraction (dir. Alain Delannoy; Canada, 2012) won the Grand award in the Best Experimental category. Without spoken language, this nine-minute animated film follows the story of an elderly artist who, caught in a battle of time, struggles to complete his body of work. Thousands of handcrafted drawings were created to compose and ultimately complete this independent short film, which was produced over a span of four years.

The RIIFF Youth Jury Award for Best Animated went to Rising Hope (dir. Milen Vitanov; Germany, 2012). All know the way, but few actually walk it — Rising Hope, once the fastest horse in the world, dares to be one of the few.

Two hundred feature length, documentary and short films — from 51 countries, and 32 states in the United States — were screened over a six-day period at locations throughout Rhode Island. Films were selected from a record entry base of 4,717 submissions. The festival presented 28 world premieres and 26 North American/United States premieres.

“It’s simply been an incredible year for us,” said George T. Marshall, RIIFF’s executive director. “Thanks to the amazing partnership we forged with Steven Feinberg and the Rhode Island Film & Television Office and sponsorships with the Providence Journal, Cox Communications and the City of Providence, filmmakers from across the globe were able to experience true Rhode Island hospitality. We had a spectacular lineup of provocative and engaging new films and a banner year for the Flickers’ Forums.

“This year, the festival registered more than 150 filmmakers from across the globe, including Greenland, Italy, Canada, France, Belgium, Denmark and Norway. All in all, we achieved everything we set out to accomplish with this year’s festival and more.”

RIIFF is one of only 75 film festivals worldwide that is accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. William Joyce’s The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore premiered at RIIFF in 2011, and went on to win an Academy Award for best animated short.

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