Jan Bultheel’s animated feature Cafard has won the Grand Prize for Best Animation Feature at the 19th edition of the Holland Animation Film Festival in Utrecht (HAFF, 16-20 March).

CafardCafard is an atypical animation feature in many ways”, says director Jan Bultheel, “so winning the Grand Prize at the Holland Animation Film Festival is a real victory. Now, we want to convince the rest of the world of the film’s potential.”

Last year, Cafard had its world premiere as the closing film of the Ostend Film Festival, followed by an international premiere at the International Film Festival of Busan in South Korea. Since then, the film has screened at a variety of festivals including Montreal, Gijón and Arras. It also recently opened the Tokyo Anime Award Festival (18 – 21 March). Earlier this year, Bultheel received a nomination at the Cartoon Movie Tributes in Lyon.

The story of Cafard starts in 1914. While Jean Mordant is away winning the title of Wrestling Champion of the World in Buenos Aires, his daughter Mimi is raped by German soldiers in Ostend. Determined to avenge this crime, Jean enrols in the elite ACM (Armoured Car Division) and embarks on a dramatic journey that will ultimately take him right round the world.

Bultheel wrote, designed and directed Cafard, whose actors played a key role in the production process: their movements and facial expressions were incorporated into animated characters by means of motion capture and facial tracking. The director plans to use the same techniques for his next animation feature, Canaan.

During the Holland Animation Festival Ticking Away by Michael Sewnarain, a short film co-produced with Flanders, was also nominated for the MovieZone HAFF Award. The prize is an initiative between the Festival and the EYE Film Museum and is awarded by a youth jury choosing one winner out of three nominated films.

Cafard is an international co-production, with Arielle Sleutel of Flemish production company Tondo Films as the main producer. Both Cafard and Ticking Away received support from the Flanders Audiovisual Fund/Film Fund of Flemish Cultural Affairs Minister Sven Gatz. Cafard was also backed by the Screen Flanders economic fund, under the aegis of Flemish Economic Affairs Minister Philippe Muyters and Cultural Affairs Minister Gatz.

Published on Tuesday 22 March 2016

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