If you’re an animation fan, you know that the arrival of June means it’s time for the charming Alpine town of Annecy in southeastern France to host one of the most incredible, popular toon events of the year. This year, the 33rd edition of the festival (June 11-16) offers an exceptional slate of animated films, shorts, interactive projects and special panels. Not only do the festival and the MIFA market offer a wonderful immersive experience of the global animation scene, they also provide a great chance for attendees to enjoy the city’s amazing natural settings and delightful restaurants and theatrical venues. Here are just a few of the screenings and activities you simply must schedule in:
1. Geek Out Over a Famous Toon Celebrity! You never know who might show up at the festival, but chances are you will see many of your favorite indie animation artists, studio feature directors and TV show creators running around, attending panels and enjoying sneak peeks just like the rest of us. Brad Bird, Genndy Tartakovsky, Dean DeBlois, Nina Paley, Joanna Priestley, Rich Moore, Michel Ocelot and Mamoru Hosoda are some of the toon world A-listers that are expected to attend this year.
2. Selected Shorts. There are plenty of chances to enjoy some of the most original, innovative and down-right inspiring animated shorts made by professional artists and students from around the world at the festival. Among the amazing selections unspooling in 2018 are Xi Chen and Xu An’s A Fly in the Restaurant, Alison Snowden and David Fine’s Animal Behavior, Nikita Diakur’s Fest, Nara Normande’s Guaxuma, Steve Cutts’ Happiness, Elizabeth Hobbs’ I’m OK, Marta Pajek’s III, Patrick Bouchard’s The Subject and Sarah Van Den Boom’s Raymonde or the Vertical Escape.
3. Have a Real Cinematic Experience. If you’re tired of the same old battle of the superheroes at the box office, Annecy lets you enjoy some of the best animated movies of the year in the company of fellow toon fanatics. Here the 10 titles that will be screening in competition and 14 movies out of competition:
Funan. Directed by Denis Do (Cambodia, France, Luxembourg)
Cinderella the Cat. Directed by Alessandro Rak, Marino Guarnieri, Dario Sansone (Italy)
Mirai of the Future. Directed by Mamoru Hosoda (Japan)
Okko’s Inn. Directed by Kitaro Kosaka (Japan)
Seder-Masochism. Directed by Nina Paley (U.S.)
The Breadwinner. Directed by Nora Twomey (Canada, Ireland, Luxembourg)
Tito and the Birds. Directed by Gustavo Steinberg, Gabriel Bitar, André Catoto Dias (Brazil)
Virus Tropical. Directed by Santiago Caicedo (Colombia)
Wall. Directed by Cam Christiansen (Canada)
The Wolf House. Directed by Cristóbal León, Joaquín Cociña (Chile)
Out of Competition
Captain Morten and the Spider Queen. Directed by Kaspar Jancis (Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, U.K.)
Cats and Peachtopia. Directed by Gary Wang (China)
Chris the Swiss. Directed by Anja Kofmel (Switzerland, Croatia, Germany, Finland)
Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires. Directed by Mike Mort (U.K.)
Hoffmaniada. Directed by Stanislav Sokolov (Russia)
Kikoriki: Déjà Vu. Directed by Denis Chernov (Russia)
Liz and the Blue Bird. Directed by Naoko Yamada (Japan)
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms. Directed by Mari Okada (Japan)
Marnie’s World. Directed by Christoph Lauenstein, Wolfgang Lauenstein (Germany, Belgium)
North of Blue. Directed by Joanna Priestley (U.S.)
The Angel in the Clock. Directed by Miguel Ángel Uriegas (Mexico)
The Last Fiction. Directed by Ashkan Rahgozar (Iran)
The Tower. Directed by Mats Grorud (France, Norway, Sweden)
A Man Is Dead. Directed by Olivier Cossu (France)
4. Sneak Peeks and Trade Secrets. You can be the first to find out about some of the most anticipated animated movies coming to theaters in the next two years. Among the titles offering sneak peeks or “works in progress” panels this year are The Incredibles 2, Hotel Transylvania: Summer Vacation, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It-Ralph 2, Spies in Disguise, The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, Penguin Highway, Playmobil: The Movie and Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles.
5. Hear Some Words of Wisdom! The festival kicks off with a keynote from Christina Miller, president of Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, about the current state of TV animation and what we can all look forward to in the near future. (Wednesday the 13th at 6:30 p.m. at the Bonlieu Petite Salle). This year’s conference topics includes a wide range of subjects from “How to Animate Ostriches, Skeletons and Mushrooms,” to “How to Sell Independent European Animation” to “Finding New Investment Resources for Animation.” Take good notes for your friends at home!
6. Enjoy Some Art. We all know that some wonderful works are created for animated movies during the visual development and design stages. You can enjoy production art and illustrations created for animated movies at the Chateau’s Museum of Animated Films. There will also be an exhibition celebrating the work of famous French graphic artist and filmmaker Vincent Paronnaud (Persepolis; In a Dark, Mysterious Forest), as well as a special focus on Brazilian animation and digital works at the Sellerie du haras.
7. Screenings Under the Stars! There’s nothing quite like seeing a movie projected up on the big screen at the Paquier lawn of Annecy on an early summer evening. This year’s titles include Ferdinand, The Boy and the World, My Neighbor Totoro, The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, White Fang and Early Man! Make sure you pack some bug spray.
8. Fighting for Female Visibility. One of the big highlights of this year’s events is the Women in Animation World Summit, which takes place on Monday the 11th at the Imperial Palace Hotel. Women in Animation will also receive the much-deserved Mifa Animation Industry Award at the event, which is co-sponsored by French org Les Femmes S’Animent (LFA). You won’t want to miss the informative panels spotlighting women executives and filmmakers from all over the world. Topics include “Inclusion,” “NextGen World View,” “What 50/50 Means to Allies,” “A Conversation with Oscar-Celebrated Women Directors” and “Developing Diverse Talent.”
Among the animation industry movers and shakers scheduled for the Summit are Julie Ann Crommett (VP of multicultural audience engagement at Disney), Solène Azernour (Skylander Academy), Hélène Leroux (Back to the Moon), Bin-Han To (Revolting Rhymes), Fawn Veerasunthorn (Wreck It Ralph 2), Mark Osborne (The Little Prince), Eric Beckman (CEO/founder, GKIDS), Anthony Leo (The Breadwinner), Carlos Saldanha (Ferdinand), Shuzo Shiota (president/CEO, Polygon Pictures), Bonnie Arnold (How to Train Your Dragon trilogy), Vicky Jenson (Shrek), Dorota Kobiela (Loving Vincent), Nora Twomey (The Breadwinner), Vanessa Morrison (president, Fox Family), Mireille Soria (president, Paramount Animation) and Cara Speller (exec producer, Passion Animation Studios). For more info, visit www.womeninanimation.org.
For a comprehensive list of all of this year’s programs and events, visit www.annecy.org.