France’s prestigious animation event, Annecy Festival, announced today the first batch of official competition selections for 2021. More than 2,700 submissions were registered in the Short Film, Graduation Film and TV/Commissioned Film categories, sent in from more than 100 countries.
“There’s no surprise to find that the 2021 selection of short films is marked by themes and questions linked to the pandemic,” noted Marcel Jean, Annecy’s Artistic Director. “Festival regulars will be pleased to find several familiar names competing: Franck Dion, Joanna Quinn, Jalal Maghout, Joan Gratz and Georges Schwizgebel… Some may also be surprised to see the Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, winner of the Caméra d’or at Cannes in 2001 for Atanarjuat, among the directors in the selection at Annecy. Here he directs his first animation short film, Angakuksajaujuq (The Shaman’s Apprentice).
“Ultimately, it’s a diverse selection that confirms the growing presence of a new generation of female French directors (Marine Blin, Kajika Aki Ferrazzini, Jeanne Apergis, Claire Sichez) and where formal exploration opens the doors to experimentation (works by Paul Wenninger and Erick Oh), as well as off-the-wall humor (films by Luis Nieto and Daniel Moshel).”
Short Films in competition, section breakdown:
- 44 Official selections
- Eight in Off-Limits
- 22 in Perspectives
- 12 in Young Audiences
- 43% of films directed by women
- 47 in Official competition
- 60% directed by female students
- TV & Commissioned Films:
- 26 TV projects (27% directed by women)
- 32 commissioned films (38% directed by women)
Jean points out a trend in this year’s student film crop of reflecting on modern times, exploring concerns about new technologies, artificial intelligence and humanity’s place in the world — tackled with an appropriately cutting-edge array of techniques, including digital 3D and video game engines. He adds that the commissioned film selection highlights the high creative bar of recent music videos, where familiar names in animated filmmaking like Nina Paley, Mirai Mizue and Martina Scarpelli appear.
“Lastly, the 2021 selection gives pride of place to African animation with works from South Africa, Ghana, Egypt and Kenya, and it once again testifies to the immense diversity from this continent. While, on all the sections so far, we have selected films from 53 countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Macedonia and Pakistan,” he concluded.
The Short Film Competition notably includes a four-title contingent from the National Film Board of Canada, including Andrea Dorfman and poet Tany Davis’s slice-of-pandemic-life piece How to Be at Home and Mike Maryniuk’s June Night (both part of NFB’s ‘The Curve’ collection), Joanna Quinn and Les Mills’ latest Beryl saga Affairs of the Art and Bad Seeds, the latest from repeat Annecy selectee Claude Cloutier (Carface, The Trenches).
The Annecy 2021 Official Selection committee is headed by Jean, the Films & Program Planning team Laurent Million, Yves Nougarède and Sébastien Sperer, as well as:
- Cécile Giraud (Short Films): Project Manager for Nouvelle-Aquitaine Independent Cinemas, where she supports animation films, documentaries and films for young audiences. She is currently writing her first animation series.
- Marie-Pauline Mollaret (Graduation Films): Journalist and film critic. She writes for various specialist film magazines, including L’Avant-scène Cinéma and Bref, as well as for the website EcranNoir.fr, where she is Chief Editor. Since 2016, she is also a member of the short films’ selection committee for Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival.
- Clémence Bragard (TV & Commissioned Films): Specialised in film animation project development, she is currently programmer of the National Animation Film Festival for the AFCA and presenter for the Annecy Festival.
See the official selection in announced categories here. Feature Films and VR Works selections will be revealed at a later date.