My Sunny Maad, a Czech-Slovak-French co-production directed by Czech filmmaker Michaela Pavlátová, has won a César Award, France’s equivalent to the Academy Awards, in the category of Best Animated Feature Film.
This year’s César Awards were handed out during a gala ceremony in Paris on Friday evening, with Dominik Moll’s crime thriller The Night of the 12th winning for Best Feature Film. Brad Pitt made a surprise appearance at the awards show to honor his 1999 film Fight Club.
Competing alongside My Sunny Maad for the Best Animated Feature César was directors Amandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre’s Little Nicholas – Happy as Can Be? (Le Petit Nicolas: Qu’est-ce qu’on attend pour etre heureux?) inspired by the popular children’s book from author Rene Goscinny and illustrator Jean-Jacques Sempe.
My Sunny Maad tells the story of a Czech woman who falls in love with an Afghan man and moves to post-Taliban Kabul with her new husband. There, she struggles to adjust to her new life in the foreign country along with a young boy named Maad. The film was based on a novel by Czech journalist Petra Prochazková.
The César is the latest award for My Sunny Maad, which was named Best Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival at its premiere in 2021. It has since been honored at film festivals around the world, and even earned a nomination for Best Animated Feature at last year’s Golden Globes, ultimately losing out to Encanto.
Director Pavlátová has long drawn acclaim for her animated shorts, and even earned an Oscar nomination for her 1991 short Words, Words, Words… (Řeči, řeči, řeči …). My Sunny Maad is her first animated feature, though she previously directed a pair of live-action films.
My Sunny Maad took the director eight years to complete. It had its Czech premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in 2021 and was released in Czech cinemas in October of that year. It would earn four Czech Lion award nominations last year.
Pavlátová currently heads the animation department at Prague’s prestigious FAMU film academy.