We love a good animation festival. What could be better than bonding over your love of animation in an alpine town in southeastern France while watching some of the best animation projects from around the world? Answer: almost nothing.
And this year, gathering with fellow animators and animation enthusiasts feels extra special. Sadly, we won’t be able to attend the Annecy International Animation Film Festival this year. At least, not in person. But we’re still excited about it.
Our founder, William Gadea, had a film selected in the short film competition back in 2003. He says Annecy is unique among film festivals: “The culture of the festival is like no other. The audience is rowdy. If they don’t like a film, they hoot and hiss, and boo. Before the films begin, there’s a tradition of tossing paper airplanes around in the theatre. However, they also know animation. The audience is mostly French and European animation students, and they really know and appreciate the art … And of course, the parties are great.”
The Annecy 2021 Festival runs from June 14 to the 19th and features almost 150 works of animation art. We may not be able to attend the parties, but we will be watching as many submissions as possible online. That’s right, this year, Annecy is offering online access to many parts of the event.
The evolution of the Annecy festival
The Annecy International Animated Film Festival has been around since the 1960s. What began as a small, film-club event has evolved into an annual must-see film festival. This year, the official selection includes films in 11 categories. You’ll see features, shorts, and shorts for young audiences. But there are also some off-beat offerings including:
Off-Limits Short Films: experimental animations like Maalbeek, directed by Ismael Joffroy Chandoutis of France.
And VR Works like Paper Birds, directed by Federico Carlini and German Heller of Argentina.
Graduation films like Ciervo by Pilar Garcia-Fernandezsesma of the Rhode Island School of Design, give us a look at the new talent about to explode onto the world stage:
Like everything else in the world, Annecy had to adust to meet the challenges of pandemic times. That’s why they’re offering a hybrid virtual and physical event this year. So if you, like us, can’t fly to France, you can still catch many of the selections online. It’s not a party at the foot of the Swiss Alps, but it’s better than missing out on everything Annecy has to offer.
Annecy is a competition and a celebration
At its heart, Annecy is more than a film festival or a competition. It’s a celebration of some of the best animation in the world. Animation like the engaging short film BoxBalet by Anton Dyakov of Russia:
Or this young audiences short, Rawr by Sorcha McGlinchey of Ireland:
Commissioned works by filmmakers who have won at Annecy in the past will round out the program. The hypnotic Polymorphia by Vladislav Parovzov is just one of the 32 films commissioned for the event.
Look for films by Will and Ainslie Anderson of the United Kingdom, Vergine Keaton of France, Suresh Eriyat of India, and many others.
In short, dozens of new and established creators in the animation world will see their work on the big screen at Annecy. Will remembers his own experience fondly: “After I put about a year and a half of work into my animated short, It’s About My Brother…, I was disappointed that even some not very selective festivals were rejecting it. I was pretty close to writing the whole experience off. So imagine my surprise when the most prestigious festival of all, Annecy, accepted it for their shorts competition.”
“There were lots of learning and networking events built into the program. I got the chance to take a class with the legendary Richard Williams, and met a lot of filmmakers I admired.”
Connect and collect at Mifa
The Mifa film market is back and more connected than ever. In addition to the usual in-person networking opportunities, exhibitors area, and catalog of films and projects, Mifa is also including an online component so you can shop and network from wherever you are.
We hope you’ll pause your busy schedule to watch some of the world-class animations Annecy has to offer. If you do, drop us a line and tell us which ones were your favorite.