First off, we have an official title card now! I’m now officially part of the dysfunctional One Of Us family! Content creating bloggers unite!
To make up for my temporary hiatus fixing family matters and creative stiflings, this entire week will be filled with Animated Anarchy articles! Our week of cel-shaded shenanigans is thanks to the collaborative efforts between myself, Chris Cox, and our guest author: Maciek Kur!
Maciek is a Polish writer, who has graduated from the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts with a Master’s Education in Animation. He worked with different Polish studios as a writer and has given lectures on the history of animation and comic books with hopes to develop animated series and documentaries. Along with Warsaw Academy Graduate Piotr Bednarczyk, he has created the children’s graphic novel series “Lil and Put” which has earned an award at the 1st Janusz Christa Competition for Childrens Comics. Annecy is primarily intended for people within the animation industry, but his academic and professional work authorized him to attend the event once again.
During the 99th Episode of Digital Noise, Chris mentioned a close friend of the website was attending a film festival to observe the newest slew of animated movies from every part of the globe. Our Polish-pal Maciek is the lucky man in question who attended the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. You might be asking how our guest author was able to attend such a prestigious film festival in France, but his pedigree speaks for itself.
All of the quotes listed below are from Maciek’s experiences at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. This is the first time I have heard or known about these films, so I’ll be adding small critiques to the upcoming trailers and images. As many foreign animated movies are being dubbed or brought straight to DVD/Netflix, keep an eye out for the next gem that could be listed below!
Every year, the French countryside near the Swiss border fills with tons of big studio producers and animation students from all over the world. All attendees are hyped and geeky, gathered before every screen to participate in the tradition of throwing paper airplanes at the big screen. And every single person is connected by their love for the art of cartoons.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the event, the Annecy International Animation Film Festival is basically the Cannes for animation. Traditional, CGI, paper cut, stop motion, short, feature-length, made for TV, American, French, Japanese, Polish, Spanish – you name it. All forms are welcome and every production gets their special spotlight. For one gorgeous week, the town of Annecy is turned into an animation geek paradise, as long you have your accreditation.
Many professionals go to the festival to participate in the official market, MIFA. People who sign up for the MIFA are producers who have products (shows, movies, computer programs etc.) to sell or represent companies interested in buying other products for distribution. Entering MIFA without accreditation is super expensive. I was there two years ago because I was helping out a company where I work. The festival also took care of its comic book enthusiasts, with enough graphic novels to buy and authors doing sketches to fill your little geeky heart with warmth.
You couldn’t take a few steps without finding something new going, whether it be special previews, premiere event screenings or celebrity encounters. (I sadly missed an advanced screening of footage from Disney’s “Zootopia” – oh, well. You can’t see them all.)
I was lucky enough to get an autograph from Genndy Tartakosvky and one from Spike of “Spike & Mike’s Festival of Animation.” Tartakovsky had a gigantic line all to himself and Spike was selling a book about his festival. Some other special guests giving out autographs included people from SONY, Pixar and the creators of Shaun The Sheep, as well plenty of French comic book authors
This year was great as always. Unlike some other festivals I won’t name, the atmosphere is happy and pleasant. The people who come to the festival in droves are often extraordinarily nice. No heckling during the screenings; just good, clean fun.
Now, I have not been able to attend a proper film festival myself, but I love hearing about the small movies that get discovered or reviewed far in advanced. From SXSW, TIFF, and Austin’s Fantastic Fest, the stories I hear about the great or “so bad you can’t look away” movies that play around these circuits get me excited for future releases. This is especially true for this year within animation, as many of us are already touting Inside Out as the Best Animated Oscar winner. I love the years with strong competition, and I hope we get more foreign exposure like last year with Song of the Sea, Boxtrolls, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya.
Upon further research, Annecy is a part of a non-profit organization called the International Animated Film Association with sister-festivals in Ottawa, Hiroshima, and Zagreb. There are thirty chapters in total, including a Hollywood chapter that holds the annual Annie Awards. If you have any interest in animation, it is worth researching any nearby chapter for their upcoming events and schedules. They are existing proof that every type of animation from student to music video level is vibrant and alive. Every time you see some random show or movie in production on CartoonBrew.com, it likely started from one of these festivals.
Our film market is in need of some diversity; the big guys can’t do all the heavy lifting for cranking out quality movies. The box office certainly shows that, as Shaun The Sheep had the worst opening for an Aardman film. Hopefully the success of the limited run of Dragonball Z: Resurrection F will bring us more Japanese films (yes, I actually quite enjoyed Resurrection F). As Kung Fu Panda 3 was pushed to January 2016, The Good Dinosaur is the last animated film this year to have any kind of hype behind it. That’s why we need to hear what the non-English speaking countries are creating. Don’t expect the franchises to stop any time soon.
So I urge all of you One-ers or Us-ians to continue reading Animated Anarchy, as the Annecy Film Festival Week is just beginning! After this post and every day this week, we will be releasing advanced reviews, trailers, and write-ups for some of the best films of the festival ending with a big studio focused editorial! Thanks to Maciek’s work, we have a lot to inform you about and get excited about! So engage your Googles, as Animated Anarchy is coming back in full force with festival films you’ll want to look up!