Organizers of the prestigious Festival de Cannes announced the 56 selections of this year’s virtual film confab via livestream on Wednesday. This includes four highly anticipated animated features, plucked from a record 2,067 feature film submissions received this year.
The animated selections include the much buzzed-about new Pixar original Soul, directed by Pete Docter, and Studio Ghibli’s debut CGI feature Aya to Majo, helmed by Goro Miyazaki and based on Diana Wynne Jones’ Earwig and the Witch, as well compelling, artistic European gems: Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated documentary that delves into one man’s complex and emotional experience as an Aghani refugee who arrived in Denmark as a child, Flee, and Josep, the debut feature from French artist Aurel (Aurélien Froment) — a beautifully crafted, deeply feeling portrait of Catalan artist, Spanish Civil War soldier, concentration camp escapee, blacklisted and underrecognized luminary Josep Bartolí.
Festival director Thierry Frémaux noted in his message regarding the 2020 selection that the selection committee saw an increase in the number of first films (15 selected this year, compared to 10 in 2019), continued expansion of the geographic range represented by films (147 countries this year, compared to 138 in 2019), and steps toward achieving 50/50 gender parity for competing directors — this year, 532 female directors submitted films (25.7%), fewer than last year, but more were included in the official selection: 16 in 2020 vs. 14 in 2019 and just six in 2015.
“This Selection is here, and it’s a beautiful one,” Frémaux wrote. “Even though movie theaters have been shut for three months — for the first time since the invention of film screening by the Lumière Brothers on December 28, 1895 — this Selection reflects that cinema is more alive than ever. It remains unique, irreplaceable. We live in a world where moving images are in constant evolution, whether we talk of the way the movies are shown or the movies themselves. Cinema makes a difference, thanks to those who make it, those who give it life and those who receive it and make it glorious. ‘Coming soon to a theater near you’: the formula has never been so compelling. We will see it soon: cinema is not dead, it’s not even sick.”
Selections in the short film competition and Cinefondation program will be announced soon. Cannes is also presenting a virtual Marché du Film this year due to the ongoing pandemic — more information at www.marchedufilm.com.
Animated Film selections:
Aya to Majo (Aya and the Witch) by Gorō Miyazaki (Japan) | Production: NHK / NHK Enterprises / Studio Ghibli | Int’l Sales: Wild Bunch International
Flee by Jonas Poher Rasmussen (Denmark) | Production: Final Cut For Real | Int’l Sales: Cinephil
Josep by Aurel (France) | Production: Les Film d’Ici | Int’l Sales: Doc & Film International
Soul by Pete Docter (U.S.) | Production: Pixar Animation Studios | Distribution: The Walt Disney Company