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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