Ice Merchants, the Portuguese Oscar nominee, won at the Annie | animation movie

Ice Merchants, by João Gonzalez, won the award for best short film at Annie, in Los Angeles. It is the second time that a Portuguese short film wins the most important North American animation film awards, awarded by the International Society of Animation Cinema. The victory takes place in the antechamber of the Oscars, scheduled for two weeks from now, for which a film by Portuguese authorship is nominated for the first time. The big winner in Los Angeles was Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro, who won five awards — including Best Animated Film.

The 50th edition of annie awards took place at Royce Hall in the campus of the University of California (UCLA), during the early hours of Sunday (mainland Portugal time). In the Annie Awards, awarded every year by the International Society of Animation Cinema, the Portuguese film competed with amokby the Hungarian Balázs Turai; black slideby the Israeli Uri Lotan; Love, Dad, by Czech Diana Cam Van Nguyen; It is The Flying Sailor, by Canadians Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby. Only the latter is also on the list of five candidates for the statuette for Best Animated Short Film at the Oscars.

If it’s true that the Oscars carry media attention and impact, they don’t have the special place of Annie in an animator’s career, commented João Gonzalez, before knowing that Ice Merchants was nominated for both awards.

In 2020, it was the turn of Uncle Tomás, the Accounting of Days, by Portuguese director Regina Pessoa, receive the Annie for best short film, a historic moment for Portugal with the first victory in the relevant awards. Regina Pessoa, meanwhile also a member of the Hollywood Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which votes for the Oscars, now sees João Gonzalez and the highly awarded short film Ice Merchants succeed it as a kind of proof of the vitality of Portuguese animation cinema.

“Few people around here know, but Portugal has some of the strongest authorial animations in the world”, said João Gonzalez, in an interview with PÚBLICO.

Ice Merchantsthe final project of the Master’s in Animation at London’s Royal College of Arts, which Gonzalez continued to develop during the pandemic, is the first Portuguese film nominated for the Oscars, whose winners will be announced on March 12.

The 14-minute short premiered at the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week and was the first Portuguese animated film to win the Leitz Cine Discovery, at the most prestigious film festival in the world.

Ice Merchants made an important journey in the last year on the festival circuit, accumulating distinctions and culminating in the first nomination of a mostly Portuguese production and national authorship for the Oscars. This story of a father and son lasts 14 minutes, during which time this family parachutes from their icy mountain to sell the ice they produced overnight in the village at the foothills. “The beautiful film by João Gonzalez does not exist in a vacuum, but rather forms part of a small national “school” of animation cinema that has been making waves over the last few years with acclaimed names such as Regina Pessoa, Laura Gonçalves, David Doutel and Vasco Sá”, recalled Jorge Mourinha a few days ago in his review in PÚBLICO, regarding the commercial debut of the film.

After traveling the circuit of the main film festivals, a Ice Merchants opened in Portuguese cinemas on February 16th. In the first week, 3277 spectators bought a ticket to see the short, in 353 sessions, show data from the Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual.

The Portuguese Government supports, with an amount yet to be revealed, the Ice representation and promotion campaign Merchants for the Oscars, announced the tutelage of Cultura on the 9th. The short was produced by the Portuguese cooperative Cola Animation, in co-production with France and the United Kingdom, being distributed by Agência da Curta-Metragem, which in the USA will have a partnership with the renowned magazine New Yorker.

Del Toro was then the big winner of the Annie’s night, and the film Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, which competes with Pinocchio for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, received the second most important Annie — Best Independent Animated Film. The complete list of winners can be found here. With Joana Amaral Cardoso

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