Aardman Animations / Sony Pictures feature The Pirates! Band of Misfits is the odds on favorite in this years European Film Awards (EFA) competition. But is is not all clear sailing for the hit claymation film. It is up against Ignacio Ferreras and his film Arrugas (Wrinkles) from Spain, and the Czech entry Alois Nebel from director Tomás Lunák.
The European Film Awards are awarded annually by the European Film Academy. The winner will be announced at the 25th European Film Awards Ceremony in Malta on Saturday, December 1. The three nominees were selected from a pool of over 2700 entries.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits is far and away the most successful of the three entries, having earned well over 120 million in it;s release. The other two features made a fraction of that, combined.
But commercial success does not insure a win. The European Film Academy– Europes equivalent of the Academy Awards– often favor films deemed more artistically worthy over audience favorites. Last year, for example, the Best European Film honor went to Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, not the global box office smash — and Oscar Best Picture winner — The King’s Speech.
Arrugas (Wrinkles) has already won Spain’s Goya for best animated film and was nominated for best feature at this year’s prestigious Arnie Awards in Los Angeles. Based on Paco Roca’s comic of the same title (2008 Spanish National Comic Prize), Arrugas (Wrinkles) is a 2D animated feature-length film for an adult audience. Arrugas portrays the friendship between Emilio and Miguel, two aged gentlemen shut away in a care home. Recent arrival Emilio, in the early stages of Alzheimer, is helped by Miguel and colleagues to avoid ending up on the feared top floor of the care home, also known as the lost causes or “assisted” floor. Their wild plan infuses their otherwise tedious day-to-day with humor and tenderness, because although for some their lives are coming to an end, for them it is just a new beginning.
Alois Nebel also has it’s share of awards, havin won three Czech Film Academy Lions: for art direction, music and sound. The film tells the tale of Alois Nebel, who works as a dispatcher at the small railway station in Bílý Potok, a remote village on the Czech-Polish border. He’s a loner, who prefers old timetables to people, and he finds the loneliness of the station tranquil– except when the fog rolls in. Then he hallucinates, sees trains from the last hundred years pass through the station. They bring ghosts and shadows from the dark past of Central Europe. Alois can’t get rid of these nightmares and eventually ends up in a sanatorium.