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Mary and the Witch's Flower, Lu over the Wall Compete in 'Animation is Film' Festival

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Inaugural festival takes place in Hollywood in October

The inaugural "Animation is Film" festival announced its initial competition film lineup on Friday. The films screening in competition include Masaaki Yuasa and Science SARU's Lu over the wall anime film and Studio Ponoc and Hiromasa Yonebayashi's Mary and The Witch's Flower anime film. The screening will mark the North American premiere of Mary and The Witch's Flower.

The festival also stated that the screening would be the North American premiere of Lu over the wall, but the film has already screened at Dallas' AnimeFest convention and at Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival, and will also compete at Ottawa International Animation Festival later this month.

The Animation is Film festival will announce the full lineup on September 20. Tickets will also go on sale on the same day.

The inaugural festival will run from October 20-22 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood. The event will host 20 programs, including feature films in competition, special presentations, retrospectives, and short film programs. The festival will feature both juried and audience awards.

Animation distribution company GKIDS, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, and entertainment trade magazine Variety announced the creation of the new film festival in June.

The three companies aim to "fill a gap in the US market by establishing a world class animation festival on par with the major events in Europe and Asia." The festival plans to "champion and support" women filmmakers, filmmakers from "a wide range of cultural, economic, and national backgrounds," and filmmakers who "use animation to pursue unique cinematic visions and who are unconstrained by conventional notions of what animation is capable of."

Lu over the wall opened in Japan on May 19, and won the top "Cristal for a Feature Film" award at the Annecy International Film Festival in June. The film also won the Silver Prize for the "Best Animated Feature Film" audience award at Montreal's Fantasia International Film Festival in August.

Mary and The Witch's Flower opened in Japan on July 8, and the film has earned more than 3 billion yen (about US$27.8 million).

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