Annecy Animation Film Festival, a dynamic annual gathering in the heart of the French Alps, welcomes global audiences, industry professionals and animation enthusiasts from around the world.
The rich program of this popular festival offers an impressive array of over 50 events, including panel discussions, master classes, meetings, autograph sessions, outdoor performances and previews.
Over the course of a week, approximately 500 films of various formats, techniques and genres are screened, engaging audiences with exciting competitions for feature films and graduation films.
A platform for animation giants and future stars
Marcel Jean, artistic director of the festival, underscores its goal of being the world capital of animated film. He says, “We’re talking about the biggest stars with the biggest budgets in animation, the big studios, Pixar, Disney, Warner, Paramount, the big platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, they’re all out there. The stars of tomorrow.”
The festival is not just an entertainment center. It is also a melting pot for those in the field and a launching pad for future stars. Many creative minds and producers find common ground here, which leads to the launch of many projects.
One of the feature films in competition, Robot Dreams, had a special screening at the recent Cannes Film Festival. The film tells the harrowing story of the endless friendship between a robot and a dog in New York City in the 1980s.
Spanish director Pablo Berger describes the importance of animation in storytelling. “I feel like a director for the first time,” says Berger, “Robot Dreams is my fourth movie, but it’s my first animated movie. I’m at the biggest animation festival in the world. I wanted to use animation to express emotions, as great directors like Takahata and Miyazaki do. Animation should not be limited to comedy and action.”
A mixture of art and industry
The festival recognizes animation as an art and industry. The Marché International du Film event takes place at the Imperial Hotel on the lakeside. Certified MIFA, this immersive part of the festival makes Annecy the world’s largest event dedicated to animation in all its aspects.
Véronique Encrenaz, President of MIFA, shares: “Annecy is a unique event in the world in the sense that it welcomes a whole range of animators, all genres, all styles. Animation schools are welcome, and this year we have 3,600 students out of more than 15,000 certified participants. We have new technologies because of course we need tools in animation. And then we have producers, distributors, channels and even movie broadcasters.
Every year, the festival highlights a country. This year, Mexico, whose animation production is currently booming, is well chosen.
The Festival of Magic and Inspiration runs until June 17.