The 20-day-long Fantasia International Film Festival just wrapped up in Montreal, Canada, and it had a number of exciting moments for anime. A Special Mention for the “Axis: The Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation” went to Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko (Gyokō no Nikuko-chan in the Japanese). Meanwhile, the Bronze Audience Award for Best Animated Film went to The Deer King. Turning to documentaries, the Bronze Audience Award for Best Documentary went to French film Satoshi Kon, l’illusionniste, which is about the late anime director.
The festival put out a statement saying it will have an “enhanced focus on Japanese cinema … In celebration of the key role that Japan’s culture has played across Fantasia’s history.”
The Deer King had also received a nomination for Feature Film Category, and Fire Craft received a nomination for Short Film Category. Both of these categories are part of the Satoshi Kon Award for Achievement in Animation section.
Poupelle of Chimney Town, Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko and Pompo: The Cinéphile received their North American debuts when they were screened at the festival. The documentary Satoshi Kon, l’illusionniste (Satoshi Kon, The Illusionist in English) also received its first North American screening. Satoshi Kon, l’illusionniste had been titled Satoshi Kon: La Machine À Rêves before, and it had already debuted at the Cannes Film Festival. It is directed by Pascal-Alex Vincent.
Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko is still set to compete at the Ottawa International Animation Festival, which begins next month and lasts until early October.
The Deer King will premiere in Japan this September, after being delayed from last year during the COVID pandemic. GKIDS has licensed it and will release it in North American theaters next year, offering both subbed and dubbed versions.
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Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, and its sequel, Manga Art for Intermediates, with professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.