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J. Shane Mercer, Published March 04 2009

Animated movie “I Am So Proud of You” takes top honors at Fargo Film Festival

Don Hertzfeld’s 22-minute animated film “I Am So Proud of You” took best picture and best screenplay honors at this year’s Fargo Film Festival.

Festival organizers made the announcement at the festival’s opening news conference Tuesday.

“I Am So Proud of You” is the second installment in what is to be a trilogy featuring a stick figure named Bill.

“It’s sensitive. It’s sad. It’s amazing, and it’s animation the way animation used to be done,” says Margie Bailly, executive director of the festival.

Festival co-chairman Matt Olien sees the success of Hertzfeld’s film here in Fargo as linked to what’s going on with animation in the movie business more generally. He believes animation “has become a major player in movies” and thinks Pixar’s “WALL-E” should have been up for best picture at this year’s Oscars.

The Fargo Film Festival’s award for best director went to Jenny Abel and Jeff Hockett for “Abel Raises Cain,” a documentary focused on the life of media hoaxster Alan Abel. Jenny Abel is the daughter of Alan Abel, who will be present for a

Q & A session after the film screens at 7:45 p.m. Saturday.

Best cinematography went to Ed Talavera for his work in the documentary feature “One Water.” The film was shot in 15 different countries and features a score performed by the Russian National Orchestra.

And best actor and best actress went to Adam Budd and Maya Batten-Young, respectively, for their work in the narrative feature film “River.”

The Fargo Film Festival runs through Saturday at the Fargo Theatre. Visit www.fargofilmfestival.org for more information.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734