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UK scoops Pulcinella trio

The rebooted Clangers is narrated by Michael Palin

The rebooted Clangers is narrated by Michael Palin

Two UK-backed animation reboots and a book adaptation have won top prizes at this year’s Pulcinella Awards at Cartoons on the Bay in Venice.

Clangers, a reboot of the 1970s series,was named Best Animated Preschool Series. The show is made by Chris Tichborne and Mole Hill together with Coolabi Productions, Factory and CBeebies.

Another UK winner was Thunderbirds are Go, which was named best series in the teens aged 12-plus category. The show is a remake of 1960s series Thunderbirds. A further 26 episodes, by New Zealand’s Pukeko Pictures and ITV Studios, are now in production for the 2016/17 season, with Amazon on board as the SVoD partner.

Other awards included Best TV Series for Kids, which went to Bottersnikes and Gumbles, coproduced by Australia’s Cheeky Little Media and Mighty Nice with the UK’s Cake Entertainment.

The series is based on a classic Australian children’s book series from the 1970s and will air on CBBC (UK), Seven Network (Australia) and Netflix around the world.

Best Live Action/Hybrid TV Series went to Disney Italia’s Alex & Co, made by prodco 3zero2. The series airs on pay channel Disney XD, followed by a free-to-air window on Rai’s channel for older kids Rai Gulp, which launches season three next month.

The short film gong was scooped by Alike, produced by Spain’s Daniel Martìnez Lara and La Fiesta, while Nefertine on the Nile, an Italy and France coproduction from Graphilm, Cyber Group Studios and Rai Fiction, was crowned best pilot.

Thunderbirds Are Go

Thunderbirds Are Go

The Pulcinella Awards also include a video game category, which this year was won by Life is Strange from France’s Dontnod Entertainment. And for the first time, there was an award for best Italian production, as judged by children, which went to Regal Academy, Rainbow’s new animated series made for Rai Fiction, created and directed by CEO Iginio Straffi.

Unicef, one of the festival’s partners, gave a special award to 2D animation Traguardo di Patrizia (Patrizia’s Finish Line), which was recognised as the most meaningful film in terms of its educational and pro-social values. It was made by Italian director Rosalba Vitellaro and Graphilm, with backing by Rai Fiction.

The evening also included a special screening of animated short Malak and the Boat, a film about a seven-year-old and her family fleeing war-torn Syria. The production marks the first in a series of films by Unicef to highlight the plight of Syrians amid the ongoing refugee crisis.

wolf_creekFurther accolades included veteran animator and artist Michel Fuzellier taking the Pulcinella Career Award; Studio of the Year awards going to Italy’s Studio Gertie, headed by Franco Serra and Fulvia Serra, and Poland-based CD Projekt Red, which is behind video game franchise The Witcher; and Pulcinella Special Awards being scooped by veteran story consultant Christopher Vogler and games developer and astronaut Richard Garriott, who created the successful Ultima role-playing game franchise.

Cartoons on the Bay, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this month, is organised by Italy’s pubcaster Rai and its commercial arm Rai Com.

South Africa was the festival’s guest country this year, named best country for the range and quality of animation now produced there.

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