Gints Zilbalodis' debut feature Away wins Contrechamp Award at Annecy

Latvian filmmaker Gints Zilbalodis (Inaudible, Priorities) has won the inaugural award in the Contrechamp section at the 2019 Annecy Festival, with his debut feature Away.

A self-made 75-minute film about a young boy marooned on a strange island, Away has won the first-ever award in a category created to provide a better showcase for the most unique feature films.

Continuing the distinct style Zilbalodis developed other a series of short films, Away is most notable for the fact that filmmaker made it entirely on his own, over a three and a half year period. Revealing to Cartoon Brew he worked “pretty much seven days a week, maybe eight to 10 hours a day” on the project, Zilbalodis’ even composed the music for the film himself.


Speaking to Short of the Week, Zilbalodis admits that “awards like this are extremely helpful for indie animators like myself” and hopes that this kind of recognition will “make it much easier to make my next film”.

Away will now be traveling to festivals worldwide, with its creator eager to “find good distributors”, in the hope that he can share his first foray into feature filmmaking with a larger audience.

In other exciting news from Annecy, Jeremy Clapin (Skhizein and Palmipédarium) followed his recent Cannes success, when his debut feature J’ai perdu mon corps (I Lost My Body) won both the Cristal Award for best feature and the festival’s Audience Award. The success of the film on the festival circuit has seen it acquired by streaming giants Netflix.

In the Short Film section, Bruno Collet (previously featured on S/W with Le Petit Dragon) won the Cristal Award for best short with his stop-motion film Mémorable and Ludovic Houplain (Logorama) earned a Jury Distinction for social significance with new film My Generation.