The movie Marona's Fantastic Journey, by Anca Damian, was nominated for the 2021 Lumieres Awards for Best Animation Motion Picture and Best Soundtrack
The movie Marona's Fantastic Journey, by Anca Damian, was nominated for the 2021 Lumieres Awards for Best Animation Motion Picture and Best Soundtrack. The awards are granted by the Academie des Lumieres, whose members are the members of the foreign press in Paris, the equivalent of the Golden Globes for the French film industry. The ceremony will be on January 21, and will be broadcast on the French television channel CANAL+. Marona's Fantastic Journey, a Romanian-French-Belgian production, the third feature length animation by Anca Damian. It is a modern fairy tale about unconditional love and sacrifice. The script is by Anghel Damian, based on an idea by Anca Damian. The Belgian ilustrator Brecht Evens is the creator of the characters. The movie tells the tale of a puppy with a heart-shaped nose that has many adventures in a magical world. Actress Olimpia Melinte voices Marona. Marona's Fantastic Journey was selected for over 30 major festivals, being nominated for the European feature length animation category of the European Film Academy Awards. The movie won the special jury prize at the Los Angeles Animation Film Festival for its 'visual artistry and emotional impact', and the grand prize and audience prize at the 21st edition of the International Animation Film Festival (BIAF) in Korea. Marona's Fantastic Journey ran for the Oscars in 2019, one of 32 entries. Here is Anca Damian:
“The movie premiered at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June 2019. I can say that many were amazed, because they didn't expect a movie about a family of dogs to have such visual freedom, to convey such emotion, and have such a profound message. I think that there was a sort of delay in receiving the profound message of the movie, because it is disguised as a family movie with a puppy as the main character. It is true that it is a special movie, even if we think of the language specific to animation movies. I hope that this movie will have a long life, especially since it was acquired by an international distributor for 20 years. As for the favorable reception of the film, I can say that was a huge surprise for me. I had a fear, since this is an atypical movie, with a special language, related to the was in which it would be received, because the audience has to have more availability for movies that are not mainstream. One of the most difficult lessons for me is that step that has to be taken during the distribution stage, meaning the things that you have to do for the message of the movie to reach the audience, so that everyone wants to see it.”
Marona's Fantastic Journey is, in director Anca Damian's vision, a 'philosophical story of happiness, love, and life.” It is a story that is based on a real event. Here is Anca Damian:
“It happened one day when I was walking my dog. Marona the puppy started following us, and I couldn't leave her out in the street, I found a family to adopt her. We have to admit that we, as a society, are not interested in animal rescue, we don't have the necessary education to realize that they need our help. Getting back to Marona's story, I couldn't leave her in the street, I would have felt very guilty if I hadn't rescued her. I only offered hera shelter, I helped materially a bit, but she gave me a priceless gift, she game me a lot of love, a love that gave birth to this movie. In general, when I start working on a movie, I always get inspiration from real life. However, the vision generated at the real moment includes a much wider arch about the meaning of life, because I myself am on my own journey, and I believe one's entire life is an inititation. And in making this film, Marona's Fantastic Journey, I realized that the only thing we have to learn is to pay attention to the present moment and to love. It is the only way to be happy. As for the reception, I am impressed that people from far away places, such as South America, Japan, or Canada, write me messages on Facebook. It is clearly an emotional reaction that makes them want to share, when coming out of the theater, the delight to have watched the movie, and that means a great deal to me, for the movie to reach the audience. Because that is the reason I make movies in the first place, for the audience.”
Anca Damian, one of the most innovative contemporary Romanian directors, with dozens of international awards under her belt, initially was a director of photography. In 2008, she made her first author movie, the fiction feature length film Cross Meetings. That was followed by the 2011 docudrama Crulic – The Way to Beyond, winner of the Le Cristal d'Annecy prize. They were followed by A Very Unstable Summer (2013), The Magic Mountain (2015), Perfectly Healthy (2016), Moon Kabul Hotel, which got the Best Director Award at the Warsaw International Film Festival, and the short movies Carre (2016), and Telephone (2018). They all enjoyed critical acclaim, and competed in major international film festivals, among them those in Pusan, Chicago, Goteborg, Cottbus, Locarno, London, Annecy, Toronto, Goa, Rome, Warsaw, and Copenhagen.