10 Things You Have to Do at Annecy This Year!

It’s the silver anniversary of one of the primo events in animation, and there will be so many screenings, panels, shows and celeb sightings in the works that you need to have a really finely tuned plan of attack. Here are 10 incroyable things you won’t want to miss this year!

1. Auteur, Auteur. This is your chance to catch a very artistic foreign animated film’you know the ones without cutesy, CG-animated singing pets’that take forever to make it to your local theater or DVD stores. Among the selection up for grabs this year are Sylvain Chomet’s much-anticipated pic The Illusionist, Jo’ko Maru’ić The Rainbow and Takeshi Koike’s Redline.

2. Live 50 Years in Six Days. If you want to take a crash course in the best animated shorts of the past few decades, the Annecy organizers are offering decade-by-decade programs of greatest hits. They even have a couple of screenings titled ‘Nobody’s Perfect’ where they show the best shorts from around the world that weren’t picked for the festival.

3. Art of the Matter. No Annecy trip would be complete without a visit to the Chateau Museum, where you can get up-close and personal with some of the breath-taking storyboards, character designs and artifacts behind Nick Park’s Wallace & Gromit shorts, the Shrek movies and French gem Kirikou. Other exhibits feature the work of Peter de S’ve (Ice Age movies) and Alexey Alexeev (Log Jam).

4. Works in Progress. The festival also provides fans with opportunities to preview of some of the outstanding animated movies that are being produced around the world. This year’s ‘Coming Attractions’ program features Michel Ocelot’s Dragons and Princesses, Patrice Leconte’s Le Magasin des Suicides, Duncan MacNeillie’s Jock of the Bushveld, Piet Kroon’s Not the End of the World, Carlos Carreras’ Ana and Jean-Fran’ois Laguionie’s Le Tableau.

5. Official Selection. Just in case you are too wrapped up with the 50th Anniversary parties and special programs, we’d like to remind you that the selection committee has worked hard all year to secure a rich program for the competition this year. That means there are seven feature films, 39 shorts, 38 TV shows, seven TV specials, six educational films, 19 advertising or promo films, six music videos and 51 graduation films for you to screen’not to mention the six movies and 45 shorts that are playing out of the competition. Phew!

6. Gifts for Your Friends Back Home! Pick up the anniversary t-shirt and a special DVD featuring some of the highlights of the festival from the past five decades.

7. Size Matters. If you enjoy seeing a favorite animated movie on a huge screen under the stars, then you’ll want to make sure you make the 10:15 nightly screenings held at the town’s Le Paquier Lawn. Among the favorites picked for the giant screen treatment: Brendan and the Secret of Kells, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. And get this, on Friday, right before the screening, they are planning a flash mob to be enjoyed by all. Ah, the French ‘ is there nothing they can’t do?

8. Look for Your Idols. Because this is a special anniversary, a lot of the biggest names of the animation world have been invited to attend the festivities. So keep your eyes peeled for the likes of John Lasseter, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Nick Park, Peter Lord, Matt Groening, Bill Plympton and Sylvain Chomet. Who knows? Maybe if you’re really lucky, even Hayao Miyazaki will make a cameo!

9. Understanding the Magic. We know there are lots of panels to attend and newsmakers to meet, but you won’t want to miss the screening of Teddy Newton’s amazing Pixar short Day & Night. This is the one project that everyone’s already buzzing about.

10. Have a Drink or 14. Come on ‘ this is a French animation festival. You have to get totally intoxicated at least once. We hear the Scotch Bar is calling your name.