The 2011 Annecy festival is a one-stop shop for the international animation industry.
Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which runs June 6-11 on the shores of Lake Annecy at the foot of the French Alps, prides itself on being a one-stop shop for all members of the animation community, from avid fans to budding animators, auteur film-makers and studio executives.
“The unique thing about Annecy is that everyone in the animation chain is present… the creative population in town for the festival and the business side here for the market are constantly mixing,” says Mickael Marin, head of Annecy’s market MIFA, which takes place alongside the festival.
In addition to the physical market (June 8-10), attended last year by some 2,300 animation professionals including 450 exhibitors and 200 buyers, the festival works hard to provide networking opportunities.
Its recruitment sessions, organised under the auspices of Annecy’s Creative Focus, remain one of the most popular industry events. US studios Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney and Sony Pictures Animation are regular attendees alongside European players such as Mac Guff and UK SFX outfits such as Double Negative and MPC.
Creative Focus also oversees the ‘Calls for Projects’ sessions which look to develop projects in four categories: shorts, feature-length, television series and, for the first time this year, cross-media.
Feature projects this year include Jean-Jacques Kahn and Franck van Leeuwen’s A Poings Fermés, an adult-oriented true-life tale about a Tunisian Jewish boxing champion who died on the death march from Auschwitz in 1945.
Elsewhere ‘Work in Progress’, which gives both the festival public and professionals a sneak preview of feature-length animation in production, is also extremely popular.
This year’s selection includes the Sony Pictures Digital (SPD) and Aardman collaboration Arthur Christmas. SPD president Bob Osher and Aardman’s Peter Lord and David Sproxton will attend.
Paris-based Les Armateurs , whose credits include Belleville Rendez-Vous and the Kirikou franchise, will screen footage from Ernest And Celestine, a $12.8m (€9m) production due for delivery in 2013. EuropaCorp’s A Monster In Paris will also be presented.
Highlights of the festival programme include a tribute to US animation entitled ‘Coast to Coast, a Tour of American Animation’.
“It’s astonishing that in its 50-year history, Annecy has never paid homage to US animation, especially given how close the festival is to the US industry — its majors as well as its independent producers. We’re making up for lost time,” says festival director Patrick Eveno.
The tribute includes ‘The First Steps of the Giants’, showing student films from directors such as John Lasseter, Carlos Saldanha and Tom McGrath. The US programme will also screen Disney’s first six films, documentary Industrial Light & Magic: Creating The Impossible from Oscar nominee Leslie Iwerks and Adventures In Plymptoons!, about animator Bill Plympton. Both Iwerks and Plympton will be in attendance.
Other festival attendees include Saldanha, who will speak about the making of Rio, visual-effects animator Hal Hickel, who will talk about his work on the Johnny Depp-voiced Rango and Japanese animator Leiji Matsumoto, creator of anime classic Captain Harlock.
Competition titles include Cuban jazz tribute Chico & Rita, Japanese director Keiichi Hara’s Colorful and The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux. Antoine Charreyron’s 3D animation The Prodigies is among seven films screening out of competition.