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Japanese animation film, ‘Lu Over the Wall,’ wins top award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, after 22 years.

Director Masaaki Yuasa’s new movie, ‘Lu Over the Wall,’ has won the ‘Cristal Award’ for the full-length feature film category as a Grand Prix, at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which was held in France between Monday, June 12th through to Saturday, June 17th, where winners for each of the categories were announced.

This is a historical achievement since 22 years ago, when the Japanese animation film ‘Pom Poko’ directed by Isao Takahata won the Grand Prix in 1995, after it was released in 1994.
This year, the Annecy Film Festival received 2,850 entries from over 95 countries, and
the film was included in the final 229 selections for the award categories.

The full-length feature animation film is directed by Masaaki Yuasa, who has so far attracted the attention of fans worldwide, with his undoubtedly unique masterpieces. The animation film ‘Yoru wa Mijikashi Aruke yo Otome’ (Night is Short, Walk On Girl) 2017, received a huge reception, as the main voice actor was played by Gen Hoshino. The television animation series such as ‘Yojo-Han Shinwa Taikei’ (The Tatami Galaxy) 2010 and ‘Ping Pong-THE ANIMATION,’ 2014 are just some of his great works. This is Masaaki Yuasa’s third entry for the film festival, his first nomination and win, in a full-length feature film category.

‘Lu Over the Wall,’ is an inspiring youth story, about an introverted junior high school student Kai, who lives in a deserted fishing port called ‘Hinashi Town.’ He meets and begins a friendship with a young mermaid girl ‘Lu,’ and gradually learns the importance of opening up to his true feelings.

■The following is a statement from Director Masaaki Yuasa:

‘I would like to congratulate all the staff and cast members involved!! And also to everyone who has supported us for the movie! It feels really great!’

■The ‘Annecy International Animated Film Festival’ is one of the world’s four major animation film festivals, which also includes Zagreb, Ottawa and Hiroshima. It is known as the world’s oldest Animation Film Festival, after it became independent as an animation category, from the Cannes Film Festival in 1960.

The festival is also regarded as a great opportunity, since ‘The International Animation Film Market’ (MIFA), is held alongside the main event, where many interested parties come from various overseas areas seeking new business opportunities.

Up until now, many Japanese animation films have been nominated. They include,
Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Porco Rosso’ (1993) and Isao Takahata’s ‘Pom Poko’ (1995) were both awarded the coveted Gran Prix. In 2007, Mamoru Hosoda’s ‘Toki o kakeru shojo’ (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time) was awarded with a ‘Special Prize.’ In 2011,’ director Hara Keiichi was awarded with the ‘Special Prize’ and also the ‘Audience Award,' for his feature film ‘Colorful.’ And in 2015, Hara Keiichi’s ‘Sarusuberi: Miss Hokusai,’ won the ‘Jury Award.’

From Left: Producer EunYoung Choi and Director Masaaki Yuasa

‘Lu’ the mermaid.