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Animation shape-shifts to take online form in Annecy


- The famous Annecy International Animation Film Festival and its accompanying market MIFA are ready to make the leap into the virtual world, with a solid programme unspooling 15–30 June

Animation shape-shifts to take online form in Annecy
Le Sommet des dieux by Patrick Imbert (© Julianne Films/Folivari/Mélusine Productions/France 3 Cinéma/AuRA Cinéma)

They’ve shown strength in adversity and are getting ready to lift the veil and make the move towards a previously unknown virtual world, once again providing an opportunity for a shared celebration of the global animation industry, the family-friendly dimension of which needs no introduction. From 15 to 30 June, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and its unmissable market MIFA will go ahead as usual, though this year’s editions will take an exceptional online form so as to free themselves from the physical limitations imposed by the health crisis. Either way, the programme devised by festival director Mickaël Marin (read our interview) and artistic director Marcel Jean isn’t short on attractions, not least for the multiple competitions unfolding within the two feature film sections The Official and Contrechamp (news).

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Similarly eye-catching on the agenda are the nine titles in the Work in Progress Fiction line-up, which notably includes French director Patrick Imbert’s long awaited The Summit of the Gods (produced by Julianne Films and Folivari alongside Luxemburg outfit Mélusine – French distribution: Diaphana), The Island by Romania’s Anca Damian (article), My Love Affair with Marriage by Latvian filmmaker Signe Baumane (who made an impression with her first feature Rocks in My Pockets [+see also:
film review
interview: Signe Baumane
film profile
), the French-Swiss-Belgian-Italian co-production No Dogs or Italians Allowed by French director Alain Ughetto (bringing together Les Films du Tambour de Soie, Vivement Lundi, Foliascope, Nadasdy Film, GraffitiDoc and Lux Fugit Film – set to be distributed in France by Gebeka Films) and Sirocco and the Kingdom of the Winds by his compatriot Benoît Chieux (article), international sales of which have just been entrusted to Charades (line-up news).

Likewise worth a mention is a Work in Progress Series session on the Irish co-production The Cuphead Show! by Dave Wasson and Cosmo Sergurson (which will be broadcast by Netflix), and an XR WIP session on the French-Canadian co-production The Hangman at Home by Michelle and Uri Kranot.

A brand new section intitled Preview will further enhance the festival programme, offering exclusive images from three titles in the advanced stages of production: Even Mice Belong in Heaven by Denisa Grimmová and Jan Bubeniček, Vanille by French director Guillaume Lorin (produced by Folimage in league with Nadasdy Film) and the XR work Dislokacije by Veljko and Milivoj Popovic (steered by Croatian group Bonobostudio alongside French firm Bagan Films).

Also jostling in the showcase are a selection of Making Of sessions (Finnish group Gutsy Animations explain the world of the Moomins, while American directors Tony Brancroft and Scott Christian Sava will recount the adventure of Animal Crackers) and Film Lessons (delivered by the Canadian author-director Dean DeBlois, his famous American colleagues Ron Clements and John Musker, their compatriot Henry Selick and his French composer Bruno Coulais, as well as the Blies brothers who will be discussing the subject of sexual violence), as well as a masterclass on the art of storyboarding (led by artists from Cartoon Network Studios).

This year’s exceptional Annecy Online event will also have much to offer on the market front, such as the 38 titles gracing the MIFA Pitches (news), the Comic Book MIFA Pitches, the Territory Focus Pitches, and MIFA Campus with its 15 events open to students and young talent (allowing them to discover leading artists, cutting edge technology, training, support schemes, etc.), not to mention the various conferences equally on the cards (France Télévisions, M6, Digital Lab Africa).

Lastly of note is the introduction of an Annecy Festival Residency dedicated to feature films, whose first class of graduates will be composed of the first three authors selected to take part in the initiative, unfolding between 5 April and 27 June 2021 with the support of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the department of Haute-Savoie, the CNC and France Télévisions.

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(Translated from French)

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